A Huge Roundup of News You May Have Missed…

WAFU Portland Ramen

WAFU Ramen

You may have missed the following stories, because I never had a chance to report them.

According to Willamette Week, Roe, a “back room” of  Trent Pierce’s Wafu, will be opening sooner than expected. In an article for Portland Monthly, Michael C. Zusman says “The game plan will include a chef’s counter, tasting menus, and plenty of bounty from weekly trips to the Oregon coast where Pierce intends to fish, forage and dig. The restaurant, aiming to open in September, will be open only three days a week and seats will be by reservation only”.

Fish Sauce, which I mentioned back in May, has finally opened.

I don’t have any information about a new restaurant going into the old Saint Cupcake place on er… NW 17th(?). It is going to be called Fish Sauce, though the sign also says nước mắm, which is the Vietnamese version of the same thing.

The Portland Mercury has an opening report,

A simple but balanced food menu boasts a handful of tasty starters, a few salads, and a selection of entrees ranging from your standard pho to a delightful curry with veggie options and less standard creations in between. I’m beyond thrilled to have them in the neighborhood with their incredibly reasonable prices, fresh flavors, and a cocktail program by Portland-proven Tommy Klus (of established downtown bar Kask)

Sounds like that clip was written by a PR firm. The Fish Sauce website has a drawing of three people enjoying a good time at a bar, one, who inexplicably looks to be Romanian. Anyone been?

The Urban Works blog has been a fount of information in the last month. First, it lists a new restaurant called Radar, which will be located at 3951 North Mississippi Ave.

Located at 3951 N. Mississippi Ave, Radar will be a full-service restaurant and bar offering New American small-plate-style dishes. The restaurant will be modeled after the lively atmosphere of a Spanish tapas bar, but the menu will be American inspired. For Portland’s soccer enthusiasts, Radar will also be showing soccer games from all of the various international leagues. From the looks of things, construction is moving swiftly and Radar plans to open their doors this fall.

There is a floor plan on their Facebook page


Next, Urban Works posted about a new venture by Little Big Burger team Micah Camden and Katie Poppe called Blue Star Donuts. It will be at SW 13th and Washington, on the opposite corner of the same building where the late Corazon was located.

Blue Star’s model calls for mouth-watering “scratch-made doughnuts made fresh throughout the day with organic flour, real butter, and natural flavors.”  Blue Star plans to open their doors this fall.

According to Portland Monthly,

[Camden] plans to fry raised and old-fashioned-style options in rice bran oil, touted for its relative healthfulness while costing “twice the price of standard frying oil.” It’s a small trade-off, he figures. Production will be in full view of passers-by through floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the space.

Camden says Blue Star will be under the watch of a “top-level California pastry chef” recruited from internet ads placed in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Camden will identify the chef once notice has been served to their current employer. Camden is also in talks to integrate an established coffee vendor into the space.

Why would a “Top-level pastry chef” want to become a donut maker? Weird. Not that I have anything against donuts; I just don’t allow myself to eat them. Anyway, this definitely seems to be the year of the doughnut in Portland.

Urban Works also says that another new restaurant, Oro Di Napoli Italian cuisine. According to the blog, it will anchor the ground floor of The Albert at 3600 N. Williams Avenue, which is on the block before Tasty N Sons. The restaurant will feature wood-fired pizzas and, you guessed it, small plates. I’d quote directly from their site, but the word “Eaterie” is used, and it is on the list of words that food reporters should never use. Anyway, this town really needs another “wood-fired” pizza place, so I’m sure everyone is excited. Cough. The apartments above look nice. Small/trendy and probably expensive. With all the good restaurants nearby, if I lived there, they’d have to add extra wide doorways to allow for my expanding girth.

Lucky Peach Magazine

Probably the classiest food publication around, the most recent quarterly issue of Lucky Peach has an interesting article on “Microbial Terroir in Fermented Foods“. Writer Ben Wolfe included a cross-section of American salami, including our own Olympic Provisions.

Brenda Crow over at OP says “We talk a lot about the process and flavor of our salami, but we’ve never broken it down to this level – it’s fascinating! Ours fits firmly into the cam of funky, wild and beautiful. That makes us proud.”

Olympic Provisions is wild, with as many as five different bacterial species, a yeast, and two molds. the diversity of microbes leads to the funkiness of flavors in this salami.

That quote is followed by some photos of various molds at a microscopic magnification. You’ll either want to rush down to put together a plate of charcuterie, or throw everything you have away.

The article is terrific as is the magazine, but, unfortunately, it’s not available online. “Lucky Peach is a quarterly journal of food and writing. Each issue focuses on a single theme, and explores that theme through essays, art, photography, and recipes.”

I’ve seen Lucky Peach at Powell’s Books, but brace yourself, it’s expensive – $12 (but worth it).


But wait, there’s more! I’m sweeping every last bit of news off of my hard drive. Portland now has a “community-supported bread business” called Bakester.

Business owner Laura Birshan says she makes and delivers artisan breads by bicycle to neighborhoods throughout Portland every week. People sign up for a share (1 month, 2 month, etc), and each week they get to try a different bread. She makes sustainable, naturally leavened specialty bread loaves, with organic flours and other local, organic ingredients. “The style of bread I bake requires a natural, slow fermentation process, and is best made in small batches made with lots of love by me.”

Hmm. I’d try it.

Hang in there, you’re almost at the end of the news. Next is Chow Swap. One of the great things about the internet is how easy it is to take a simple idea, and quickly bring it to fruition. Case in point, a new Portland-based site for people who grow or make their own food. It’s a way you can trade, say, your excess backyard chicken eggs for someone’s raspberry jam, or zucchini, or home-brew. From their website at Chowswap.org, you can search for food, or list your own.

Currently the site has listings for green beans, turnips, lettuce, cabbage, eggs, apples, raspberries, blueberry jam, home-brew beef for fruit, currant jelly and strawberry yogurt. Cool idea!


One last item. A group of students from Northside College Prep, a public school in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, are “on a mission to eat every kind of food we can get our hands on.” To document their passion, they started The Northside Buffet.

One need only look at the faces adorning the boxes of most items in the frozen food aisle to realize that, on this planet, no type of chef is revered more highly than the Grandma. For some reason, we humans have never been able to create food better at sating our primordial hunger than that crafted by the hand of an elderly woman. When we eat this kind of food, some very ancient part of us, perhaps some remaining DNA strand from the beasts we have evolved from, is quietly and promptly satisfied. Perhaps the flavors that bring about this deep satisfaction come from years of dealing with the injustices of mankind (especially the man portion) melting away into a hot pot, or maybe they come from the wisdom of old age being transferred into an edible form, or perhaps a woman’s senior years somehow bestow wisdom that prompts them to add an extra stick of butter and a cup of cream to anything. Whatever the reason, food made by old ladies usually hits the almighty spot. These wizened cooks make food that, in the words of the great Spongebob Squarepants, “is good for your soul”. It is for this reason that in this issue, our debut into the dog-eat-dog world of high-school restaurant journalism, we will be profiling two amazing restaurants which are helmed by women who are well into their golden years; Two women who have rocked our world.

On behalf of people who love to eat food old ladies make, I say, “Let the Feast Begin!”

Hard to believe, but that’s probably more profound than anything I’ve written. Go read the site – it’s a bit confusing, but you can do it. As the Chicago Reader put it,

…[Northside Buffet] boasts Lucky Peach-style graphics and sharp writing on subjects as diverse as an instant ramen survey, a tutorial on procuring and eating moose, and a set of surrealist pastel sketches of “dream fruit” such as the Oprahcot, the water balloon apple and the Illuminati mind control kiwi. Above all, it has a refreshing lack of the sort pretension and territoriality that plagues the work of us jaded, bitter old wonks.

These kids have put a ton of work into Northside buffet and deserve some visitors. Here is a direct link to a recent issue.

[Apologies for the errors, extra comments etc. in this post. For me, heat + MS = slow mind. Actually, I dropped a box of comments, and they went everywhere]

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Jimster says

    It gets frustrating to hear of all these new restaurant openings when my neighborhood has 3 options which are in walking distance and they are Caro Amico and the odd Japanese and noodle place in the SW Waterfront. I guess I could walk all the way to The Old Spaghetti Warehouse, too…oh, right.

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