Light Showers in a Drought of News

imbibe.jpgImbibe Magazine was recognized with an Eddie Award for Best Epicurean Magazine on September 23 at Folio Magazine’s annual awards gala in New York City. Imbibe also received an Ozzie Award for Best Use of Photography in its July/August 2006 issue, and last May, the magazine received a 2007 Maggie Award for Best Special Interest Magazine.

NW Hayden Enterprises is changing their name to “Cutting Edge Restaurant Group“. Um, Ok. Speaking of which, as we reported before, Blackstone American Grill – formerly Bacchus in Vancouver will open October 18th. I’ve had conflicting reports that it is not owned by CERG, that they are only consulting, but I’m thinking they own it. As they get towards their opening, they are busily trying to “poach employees” from other area restaurants. After that, they will open Wildfire Grill at the old Harvey Wallbangers in early November, followed closely by Tondero in the Fox Tower, scheduled to open November 15th. Finally, Brasserie Montmartre is not projected to open until late winter/early spring, as the entire building is being renovated.


fatburger.JPGFor those of you who haven’t heard, the two Sungari’s downtown are owned by different people. Sungari Pearl is opening a branch next to Roots in East Vancouver. Then there is Fatburger, also opening next to Roots. Ah, Fatburger; this reminds me of a story. Many years ago, they were pretty darn good; at one time they were about as close as one could get to In-N-Out in the Northwest. I used to eat at one on La Cienega in Los Angeles on a weekly basis. It was a 24 hour dive, at the conflux of West Hollywood, Crenshaw, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. Talk about a diverse crowd! Movie stars, drunks… I used to know half the drag queens and prostitutes in that area, because we’d get into conversations while waiting for burgers at 3:00am. Anyway, a few years ago in the middle of a big rainstorm, I got a wild urge to try one of those new donut places: Krispy Creme. I drove all the way to Bellview and stood in the pouring rain for a so so donut, when like a beacon in the night, a Fatburger sign called to me from across the parking lot. So, on top of my six glazed donuts, I went in an took a stroll down memory lane. The burgers weren’t so great, just average, and the store was full of screaming kids. Still, it was an adventure, and I will probably make the trek up to Vancouver (do I need my passport to cross the Columbia?), and try one again.


As we reported a month ago, the old Assaggio is still on track to reopen with Scott Shampine, formally of er, Gracies, formally of Olea, formally of… from what I hear a chef with lots of baggage. Let’s hope he gets it together. The Oregonian reported last week that the new place will be called Acema. One of the owners is a psychiatrist. Hmm… from my experience with some chefs, that could be useful. Geeze, I’m terrible!


Speaking of Olea, Aaron Barnett is the latest chef to walk through their revolving door. He put in some time at Lumiere, and “studied under esteemed Chef Gary Danko before working as a sous chef at San Francisco’s Myth Restaurant. He then moved on to an executive chef position at Desert Sage Restaurant in La Quinta, CA., Where he cemented his stellar reputation when the restaurant earned the best new restaurant award from Palm Springs Life Magazine”. Wow. Palm Springs Life. Cough. Olea has a great space, and I hope he makes something of the restaurant.


papirusa.jpgWine news for the Beaumont area. From a reader:


“A wine shop (wine bar?) called Blackbird is opening at 3519 NE 44th, that’s right behind the Umpqua Bank on the corner of 44th & Fremont.

Greg, son of the owner of McPeet’s Bar, is opening a wine bar behind Parisi’s at 46th and Fremont. I don’t know Greg’s last name and a database search on McPeet’s didn’t turn up anything.

Vinideus is close to opening at 48th and Fremont, looks like a wine shop but maybe that is a bar they are building in there.

Speaking of tastings, did you know the liquor store on Hawthorne has tastings on Fridays? Not always, but they were tasting some local gin a couple of weeks ago.”

Liquor store tastings? I suddenly feel like I’m on a cruise ship! Where do I sign up?

Occasionally I get letters from angry readers that are so good I have to pass them around. Here’s a paragraph from a recent one that had me on the floor:


You know, as I was reading your review of Acadia just now, I recalled an episode of the old Star Trek series with William Shatner, where the transporter device fails and Captain Kirk ends up in an alternative universe where all the Enterprise crew are identical to those in his own universe, except that they are all evil. Since what you say about Acadia is so out of touch with the reality I’m familiar with, I wondered if I had not been suddenly transported into just such a dysfunctional universe, where the restaurant critics are all paranoid delusional psychotics running around pretending to know about food.

I came close to posting the entire letter, and then a response, but Nancy R wouldn’t let me. Probably just as well. He’s probably my neighbor; I think someone is watching me.

By the time you read this, Naomi Pomeroy’s newest venture, Beast will have opened. The menu is prix fixe. It’s BYOB BTW. The first menu sounds ambitious, and in the interest of being totally cool, uses no capital letters! This alone makes me want to go. From their website, “BEAST is loud and we have the infamous chairs from clarklewis- we think the food makes up for it, but you will decide that for yourself.”


duo of soups: french heirloom squash and sweet corn, truffled pork cracklings

smooth chicken and duck liver mousse, pork rillettes stuffed poached pear


whipped herb custard, trout roe, squid ink cracker


oxtail galette, cauliflower and sorrel gratin


butter lettuce and radicchio salad, creamy
tarragon vinaigrette


french goat cheese, cauille blanc apple paste


chocolate and plum soufflé, noyaux ice cream,
dark caramel sauce

In an homage to Michael Hebb, anyone asking for substitutions will be physically thrown out of the restaurant, spat upon, and banned forever. Ok, I made up the last line.

Powell’s Books have started doing author dinners in collaboration with local restaurants and businesses. I got press releases for two different ones today: Alice Medrich – Pure Desserts: True Flavors, Inspiring Ingredients, and Simple Recipes at Foster & Dobbs Authentic Foods, and Meet the Two Meatballs, Pino Luongo and Mark Strausman at Serratto. I think this is a great idea.



A bit of link love:


Thanks for linking to me! I actually read all of your sites.

Now a non-food related note. I’ve been glued to OPB over the past four nights watching the new Ken Burns series “The War“. For the most part, I’m impressed with the series, and have certainly learned a lot. I have a few friends that survived concentration camps, one who survived Normandy, and have a detailed diary of my grandfathers complete with tons of graphic photos of his service, which I will pull out and begin re-reading tomorrow. I never really understood what they all went through, how horrible a sacrifice our relatives made, how close the world came to the tipping point. Now I have a glimmer of an idea. I know there are a few vets that read this site. I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll put it simply.
Thank you.


Until next time, your paranoid delusional psychotic,
Food Dude


Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    Re Beast:

    They’ve still got the first day’s menu up when you click “Today’s menu”; will it really be changing every day?

    And, of course, “substitutions politely declined.”

  2. portlad says

    Wow, thanks for the warning about Beast. Similar thing with Simpatica dining, but at least they call themselves a “supper club”. As my parter is a vegitarian with a serious food allergy, we’re happier visiting establishments that are less magisterial about their vision.

  3. says

    Hmm. By this thinking, I should be able to order a steak in a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, and if the management politely tells me, they do not serve meat, I should get in a snit and declare I am taking my business elsewhere. Because Beast is polite about it. More, of the seven courses we ate last night, three were vegetarian, as were at least half the components in the other four courses. How is this being magisterial?

  4. portlad says

    I won’t get into the text or the history I was reacting to, for reasons below, and I’m not seeking to order scallops at a kosher restaurant (just to keep the cilantro off my latkes). I’ll grant that the magisterial adjective was poorly choosen and overstates my thought.

    I just discovered portlandfoodanddrink and it is a wonder! As I looked around, though, I saw a couple negative threads from a few grumpy people sometimes getting into long discussions of their grumpyness, others telling them they shouldn’t be that way, and so on. I don’t want to be one of those people (though I just was), or start one of those discussions (though maybe I did).

    There are many, more pleasant, tales to read or tell here. A few warnings to share, but lets hold them lightly. I have to thank Food Dude for all the effort that goes into the timely news and informative reviews of the Portland food scene, and of folks finding the art, science, and delight therein.

    Thanks for sharing your experience — and was the food good?

  5. pam says

    I’m frequently impressed by the quality of discourse on this site, and you, portlad, have just raised it up another notch. Truly an elegant apology!