According to KGW News, River Maiden Artisan Coffee in Vancouver Washington, has premiered a $15 cup of coffee. Yes, I said $15. For drip. They justify it by saying there is only 8 cups to a 1/2 pound bag, and that it is considered to be the best coffee in the world. The Panama Esmerelda Especial Reserva coffee, a rare bean that some call the best in the world, is roasted by Stumptown, the only roaster in the nation that bid on the beans. Apparently, if you order one, you are automatically enrolled in the $15 a cup club. They put your picture on the wall if you order a cup. Should the sign above say “suckers?”
I have mixed feelings about this, having spent much more than that on a glass of wine in the past. I suppose if I was making a good income, I might try it just to see what it is like, but they’d have to make a promise to keep my picture off the sucker’s wall.
Moving on, we still have Initi, the Peruvian restaurant to open this summer at NE 23rd and Alberta. I have great hopes for that one, as the chef has good experience at Andina during its prime.
Por Que No‘s second, larger, location is about to open on er.. Hawthorne and 46th, it will be called Port Que No Otra Vez. That would put it up near the new Albina Press, which is odd because the current location is near the old Albina Press. Conspiracy? I think so!
Rumor on the street says Hot Lips Pizza is going into the bottom floor of The Civic, that big glass condo tower on West Burnside. Great location I’d say. Speaking of which, That’s the same place a big sports bar called The Agency is opening. Some of the condo owners in The Civic are up in arms – what could be a noisy bar is going to have the front doors opening onto the courtyard of their building. I guess I’d be worried too. You’d think they could at least put the front door on the street side of the space.
More Lucier News
As you know I don’t attend press events myself, but I’ve been getting lots of emails about the much-anticipated, then suddenly delayed a week, media lunch at Lucier last Week. Apparently it was quite the dog and pony show, with eight courses (including two dessert courses) and a wine pairing for each course. It was also a four-hour lunch, something that was not expected; many writers had to leave halfway through.
How was the food? A few food writers I know raved about it, but several left scratching their heads, feeling overwhelmed, with over the top presentations and jumbled pairings. As one writer emailed me, “it was like a greatest hits parade of trendy dining circa 2005 – sous vide, foams, emulsions, fizzes, pork belly, savory ice creams – sometimes going on all at once on the same plate. It was too much.” It will be interesting to see what the Portland media has to say once their reviews start coming out. At this point, I don’t know anyone that loves it, but I still say it is way too early to review. As the readers of this site voted last year, I’ll reserve judgment for a few more months. Really. Probably. Maybe.
re: belly timber and belly. dont you mean the former is run by the equinox folks? they are behind belly timber correct, not the terroir-replacement belly ?
Food Dude says
Oops. Fixed. Thanks!
A couple of notes:
Rose’s has four or five locations already — besides the current NW 23rd Ave. shop, there are two in the western suburbs (one in the Streets of Tanasbourne, one in Sherwood). I believe there’s also one in Vancouver and one down in the Clackamas Town Center area. A Lloyd District/Broadway location would make sense, so that doesn’t surprise me. [As someone else noted recently in the forums, the baked goods are not what they once were, but I still like the Reubens.]
As to Hot Lips, I have also heard — third-hand or so — that there have been at least informal discussions about a return to the Raleigh Hills area (specifically, into a recently vacated space a couple of doors down from Pepper Tree Thai in the Raleighwest shopping center (essentially, straight across Beaverton-Hillsdale from the Taco Bell). So far as I know, however, any developments in that direction are very preliminary at best.
Amendment: Vancouver yes, Clackamas no (at least per Rose’s Web site, currently listed as “under construction”). The enterprise has expanded and contracted over the years; at one time there were full-service restaurants in Beaverton and outer NE Portland (124th & Glisan), but both those have closed, as have lunch counters at Washington Square and in the Wells Fargo tower downtown. There was also a Rose’s retail bakery for a long time up by the Stadium Fred Meyer, but I believe that’s evaporated as well.
I hope that’s true about the Hot Lips. We are living in a pizza wasteland out here.
BTW, add to your list that the second location of Voodoo Doughnuts is already open for business.
Marshall Manning says
Jill, New York New York has pretty darn good pizza. Not Ken’s/Apizza good, but better than the couple of times I tried the old Hot Lips near Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer.
Ya know, you’re right. Their dinner entrees and other stuff I have tried there were not good (and I am being kind here), but their pizza isn’t bad at all. I should get over there for a slice again one of these days.
Nancy Rommelmann says
I have to disagree with the Dude here, in that I think the Diner section looks really good this year.
Food Dude says
I never said the section didn’t look good this year, I haven’t seen it. What I said was it is full of restaurants that I don’t feel belong in a list of top Portland restaurants.
I too, feel compelled to mention that the Diner includes some excellent restaurants besides Le Pigeon–Andina, Fife, Laura; just to name a few. Come on Dude! It’s not that bad a publication!
I mean Lauro. It’s a bite early in the morning for my editing capabilities to kick in!
Maybe it’s the keyboard. “a bit early” I meant to type.
i am not surprised three lions is closing, i am surprised they are still open! a few years ago they were notorious for posting several ads a week on craigslist advertising bakery positions. they would then ‘hire’ employees for ‘working interviews’ where they’d put people behind the counter for a few hours and then tell them things weren’t going to work out. nice way to get free labor, right? what a bunch of jerks.
as far as the esmerelda goes, i have tasted that coffee (at stumptown, for 5 dollars a cup.) and it is truly a unique and stunning coffee. well worth the money, in my opinion. some people are perfectly okay with paying nearly 15 dollars for a cocktail, why not for a cup of coffee? also, i don’t think they are brewing drip (what a lousy way to brew such a delicate bean!), that cafe owns a clover. yes, the *gasp* 11,000 DOLLAR BREWER.
i can sort of understand the hubbub when stuff like this hits the news, because the average coffee drinker is never going to throw down 15 bucks for a cup of coffee, but people who are serious about coffee (and as we know, there are plenty in the nw) are perfectly happy to do so every once in awhile.
shock value aside, people tend to forget that if stumptown pays farmers record prices for their beans. if i recall correctly, they paid that farm over 20 dollars a pound for the esmerelda beans- that is groundbreaking! industry standards are far lower, and ‘fair trade’ is less than 2 dollars a pound. people can complain about stumptown’s high prices all they want, but they ensure that the farmers are taken care of at a standard well above the general industry, and i’m happy to pay for it.
(btw, i’m not a stumptown employee, but i do work at one of their wholesale accounts.)
BtW, it’s INTI, not INITI.
Food Dude says
Thanks! Going from memory there.
RE: The organic milk thing: I am one of those who prefers organic all the way, but I am far more likely to lean local over organic. When I go to the grocery store, I purchase locally produced milk rather than organic from the midwest. If I’m purchasing coffee anywhere (which is rather rare these days), I’ll gladly pay more for “special” milk, whether it’s local or organic.
I’ve found little taste difference between organic and non-organic milk. What makes the biggest difference to me is whether the cow is fed a corn-based diet or a grass/hay-type diet. Since most milk on the market is from corn-fed cows (contributing to a lower cost), there’s no visceral difference between the two. Then there’s the whole marketing issue – most of the news concerning organic products is focused on fruits and veg, not necessarily on meat or milk, thus it’s pushed to the wayside.
Local Alpenrose dairy is now selling organic milk through, among others, QFC outlets.
Food Dude says
One problem with organic milk in Portland as most I’ve seen has been ultra pasteurized.
The organic milk from Alpenrose isn’t ultrapasteurized, and the homogenization process they use is even gentler than most other dairies. And like all their other milk, it’s hormone free. I buy it at the NW Zupan’s, and it’s almost as tasty as the stuff I used to buy, which was from Straus Family Creamery. The Straus products are amazingly good, but they’re shipped from Marshall, CA, near Point Reyes. And the Alpenrose organic milk is much less expensive, and much closer to home. I think the Alpenrose dairy is like 5 miles from downtown, plus they have a velodrome!
Food Dude says
Good to know. I love anyone with a velodrome – used to live for bike racing.
Dude, You seem surprised that Portland’s food scene continues to thrive, as evidenced by all the new openings, “in a slow economy”. Who says the economy is slow? The Oregonian?
As one who derives a decent living monitoring and analyzing the economy, and I mean real economic data, not the opinion pages, I respectfully disagree with your premise. Yes, gas is outrageous, and yes real estate is slow, but by your own observations new joints open every day, money is spent on promotion, and a lot of places are still full every night. Examine your premises.
You openly state your skepticism at the O’s ability to compile a decent restaurant guide, yet every other page is gospel? What’s next? Guest reviews by Gerry Frank?
Food Dude says
I say the restaurant industry is slow, because every single chef I know is telling me that. I say it because on a saturday night it is now pretty easy to walk into any restaurant and get a table. I say it because just about every bit of economic data coming from our own government shows it has slowed. We’ve also had quite a few restaurant closings.
I don’t understand your last paragraph at all. I never have said anything the Oregonian writes is gospel.
For those coffee geeks interested the link above will help you figure out how a particular coffee can get up to $15 per cup. For clarity Stumptown was not the only bidder in the nation just the last bidder for the top 5 lots of 6 bags each. Interesting to note the chest pounding in the final stages of the bid. Who was bidder 959??? Hummmm??!!?? Its a fantastic coffee. Like you noted Dude we pay that much for other fine spirits beverages why not a great limited coffee? I’d recommend a clover if River Maiden still has it or a press of the coffee rather than a drip.
In the past, Stumptown has offered cups of the Esmerelda Especial at the Belmont Annex location for a lot less than $15… Don’t know about this lot, but it’d be worth checking.
My experience with the coffee in the past is that it’s excellent. But—unless you’re a *serious* coffee connoisseur—it’s not fives times better than some of the other excellent single origin coffees available from Portland roasters.
BTW, if River Maiden is using the standard 7 grams per 4 ounces of water ratio (that’s for the coffee-intensive French press method — less coffee would probably be used for Clover or drip), they’d be able to get 10 cups (12 ounces each) out of a 1/2-pound bag, not 8. I’m curious what the mark-up is, too… anyone know what a 1/2 pound is going for from Stumptown?
Mostly Running. says
I think a half pound bag is going to be around $100, roasted to order. The auction results were linked to above. Stumptown won the top lots, paying over $100 green pre-shipment. I imagine, as in past years, there is going to be a reserva and normal Esmaralda offering from Stumptown. The $15 cup is obviously from the reserva selection. Last year when the top lot went for $130 it was selling for as much as $25 a cup through clovers.
The Peterson’s (Esmeralda owners) did not participate in the Best of Panama this year, opting to host their own auction of different Geisha lots from the farm. The benefits were twofold: other Panamanian producers were able to get deserved attention at the BOP and the Peterson’s were able to allocate the farm’s production more equitably.
Food Dude says
From Stumptown: we wanted to let you know about a special coffee we are making available on our website…..
Price and Daniel Peterson have produced one of the most, if not the single most, exclusive lot of coffee we can remember on their Esmeralda Especial farm in Boquete de Chiriqui, Panama. The first purveyors of the fabled geisha varietal are invested in producing the most exquisite geisha coffee possible and this is it!
Stumptown has only 50 lbs of this lot and paid $130/lb green to get our hands on it. We are featuring Esmeralda Especial in 1/2 lb bags at a cost of $100/bag. We’ll be roasting this coffee on Mondays only and, of course, only as long as it lasts. Don’t expect it to be around too long.
Food Dude says
by the way, this press release is here: http://www.pdxfoodpress.com/?p=2168
While snooping through the planning department files, I found a public notice for a sign variance for Roses. It looks like it’ll be in the former Marsee Baking spot (10th or 11th and B’way.)
Alpenrose has a local and organic milk. I haven’t tried it because it’s not carried where I normally shop, but I’d like to.
Food Dude says
That makes sense. Someone told me the exact address, but I promptly managed to forget what they said.
Actually, the sign for Roses is on the bldg at 12th and Broadway where Bank of America and Newport Seafood is located.
I’ve never been to Roses. I hope it is good…
on the organic dairy poll, i think the results are a result of the way the question was asked. i definitely prefer organic milk to nonorganic, but i don’t want to see menus that say – Latte $3.00, Latte with Organic Milk $3.50. i’d rather the coffeeshop take on organic products across the board, raise their prices if needed and we just pay one price. since there was no way of answering that way in your poll, i just chose ‘no, i wouldn’t pay extra’. make sense?
Mary Sue says
Voodoo Doughnut Too opened a couple of weeks ago. There was a parade.
Food Dude says
Thanks Mary Sue!
Re: Three Lions… The SW 4th & Taylor location closed for good last week, according to a hand-written sign in the window. Their website still lists that and the SW 11th & Morrison location.
The RR Ruler says
Let’s get a grip on reality here. Although I am always loathe to defend the Boregonian in any respect, how can a dining guide be out of touch with reality when it recommends restaurants like Toro Bravo, Castagna, Paley’s Place, Pok Pok, 23 Hoyt, Higgins, Park Kitchen, Lauro, Sel Gris, Giorgios, Cafe Mingo, Andina, Lovely Hula Hands (your choice for restaurant of the year,) and Ken’s Artisan Pizza? What kind of lowest common denominator eats at these restaurants?
I actually admired your choice of Lovely Hula Hands for restaurant of the year, are you just displaying sour grapes because the Oregonian has a different choice? Or is this just a play for publicity? It seems to defy logic for sure.
Food Dude says
Huh? What is going on today! I said “out of touch with the dining community”, which is different from out of touch with reality. Of course they have a lot of good choices, but many of them seem to be there to please the advertisers, not because they are any good.
As for the ROY thing, “sour grapes?” That makes no sense to me. I could pick anyone I want. How would this get me more publicity? That they pick a restaurant that is different from mine makes no difference to me, I just think Beast is over-rated.
Obviously the guide is somewhat flawed (as these things always are) but I thought it was basically not too bad The bulk of the restaurants of the restaurants that are actually singled out for special attention (Toro Bravo, 10-01, Biwa, Clyde Common, etc.) are all solid choices. Can’t think of too many notable omissions either. I was a little surprised about Beast though.
Not sure if this was mentioned, but Rose’s already has a spot in the streets of tanasbourne that has been there for a year or so.
Catherine Cole says
Take that recession Portland! I’ve also heard of a new spot going in on NE Alberta, but have absolutely zero details… love to see and read the word “new” whenever I can.
Travis Smith says
Dude, I too need to join those who don’t quite understand your comments about the Diner section today. I’m not sure who in the “Dining Community” would disagree with the restaurants in the guide, they were well chosen and pretty spot on. I certainly don’t know who is in the guide ‘to please the advertisers, not because they are any good.’ Which restaurants, in your opinion, have no business being in the guide and how are they protecting advertisers? I would also like to see a list of restaurants, in your opinion, that the ‘O’ left out of this years guide, restaurants that the ‘dining community’ goes to.
wow, $15 a cup. That’s like one gallon of gasoline.
Roses is two separate ventures now (one owner is left with the Roses in the Wells Fargo Tower). The other owner has plans to try and develop Roses into a concept that can be franchised and taken anywhere nationally. They are going in to the space under construction currently in the Bank of America/Newport Grill complex.
Three Lions Bakery is kaput. Didn’t pay rent at 5th Ave and was locked out (not before he stripped as much stuff out of there as he could). Utilities turned off at the 12th Street location and employees showed up on a Friday to find ruined product, an empty safe and no owner in sight. 6th Ave & 4th Ave have also closed. Know several employees and have heard horror stories for last 2 years(bounced checks, not paying overtime, not paying taxes). I hope karma catches up to him along the line.
My concern about the proliferation of new places opening is that it creates an even bigger pool of competition for the diner’s dollar. I don’t buy into ALL the gloom and doom you hear on the news but I do believe and have seen 1st hand that diners are going out less and are becoming more discerning. Mediocre service and a so-so meal that a restaurant might have gotten away with previously isn’t going to fly anymore–at least not with most people. There will always be those people who have so much money they don’t care and those that don’t really know any better. But I am excited about some of the new prospects on the horizon (Beaker & Flask, Tommy Habetz’s new venture,Lincoln, D.O.C, Davis Street Tavern)
And Monday morning’s Oregonian business page reports a lease signed for a Rose’s in West Linn; this one looks as if it may in fact be a franchise.
I looked at the Lucier website…I wish them well, and there are some folks there with some serious chops who will probably be turning out some fine food, but it seems to be the wrong concept in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That area is still desolate at night, though I suppose a secretive destination restaurant could get people going there just because of its remoteness. But those kind of draws tend to be the Le Pigeon sort, the kind of place where people say “It’s way out in the middle of nothing, but they have the most incredible such-and-such…”
The food — fish prepared sous vide WITH pork belly AND savory fondue AND an emulsion? In one dish? It’s not just the dated trends, it’s the cavalcade of dated trends on one plate. Again, it might be delicious, but it ignores some basic dining psychology, and it does so at a dear price at a time when people seem to be cutting back on spendy dining; even those who can still afford high-end restaurants seem to be sticking to their old favorites.
I guess they’re aiming at some of the national dining press that the city has reaped in the last year or so, but nothing there speaks of the town in a way that an outsider would say “This is Portland on a plate; this is something of a time and a place that I can’t get anywhere else.”
I hope Lucier does well, and I’m certainly pleased to see the emphasis on decent service (though why explain “brigade service” to your presumably high-end customers as if they’re a bunch of rubes? Isn’t that condescending?), but the whole enterprise seems to have the budget of a blockbuster movie and the audience of an arthouse feature.
I think the Oregonian (KarenB in particular) has been and remains completely enamored with the Ripe empire and its successors… hence the promotion of Beast as Restaurant of the Year. I haven’t eaten there, so am not qualified to comment, but somehow I’m not at all surprised to see it win those honors. I think the Oregonian’s credibility was badly damaged with their ridiculous nomination of clarklewis a few years back, and this simply fits right into the same pattern. BTW, no issue whatsoever with Le Pigeon… it’s more than worthy of whatever praise it gets.
I also sort of take issue a bit with Dude’s position on Diner. In spite of the issue with their top choice, I think the right restaurants got mentioned inside and I like the format this year a lot better than in past years.
As far as Three Lion’s closing…there will be a tiny little bakery/food cart opening up July first called The sugar Cube. Located SW 9th and Alder next to the other awesome food carts.
Food Dude says
Yup! We covered that in the forums and here: https://portlandfoodanddrink.com/?p=1257
Davis Street Tavern will be opening in the former Three Lion’s space at NW 5th and Davis. Should be opening in September.