Four Things I Learned This Week (March 23)

Here are another four things I learned this week in Portland food.

Columbia River Brewing Co. is making their barbecue more of a hook. Several months ago (truthfully, it might be more) Columbia River Brewing Co. in the Hollywood District (1728 NE 40th Avenue) started putting out a sandwich board in front of their entrance listing a wide variety of barbecued meat options. I asked them about it early on and they said they got a smoker and were taking advantage of it. This past weekend I noticed they had a new sign up on the northeast corner of Sandy and 40th Avenue with the words “Craft Beer & BBQ.”

You can get a great latte at Blend Coffee Lounge. On Sunday I was wandering around the Overlook neighborhood (with the aim of seeing the western end of N Kilingsworth Street; spoiler: it overlooks—get it?—the railroad tracks and what looks like the ports) and stopped in to Blend Coffee Lounge (2710 N Killingsworth Street) They made a gorgeous latte that tasted smooth and rich, with plenty of depth. The lounge part is super cute and stylish. What a gem in NoPo!

Gawd, she’s talking about those vegan cheeses again. This time it’s about what I wasn’t able to find—I was in New Seasons on 33rd Street in Concordia and looked for the two brands of vegan cheeses I’ve enjoyed—Miyoko’s and Treeline—and neither were to be found! For me, they are at the highest level of taste. There was plenty of Daiya and Chao but these spreadable cheeses I mention above are many levels of deliciousness above them. For now, I’ll do my supermarket vegan cheese shopping at WholeFoods until New Seasons ups their game. Also, where the heck do you buy a nut milk bag in this town?

Toum is magic sauce. This week, on the advice of a friend, I had dinner at Nicholas Restaurant (3223 NE Broadway) and ordered some kebabs, which were served with toum. Toum is a garlic sauce from the Middle East made with garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. I’d had it once before in Queens but it was quite spicy and harsh in a way I don’t like, but the toum I had this week was smooth, garlicky, savory and fairly addictive. I was sad to when I got to the end of it. Looking forward to eating it again (and trying it at other spots around town).