Under the category of “we are all too stupid to know better, so will you please legislate anything we might do to harm ourselves out of existence”, KGW.news is reporting the City of Portland is looking at banning trans fat.
According to City Commissioner Randy Leonard, Portland is looking very seriously at banning trans fats this year.
“We have considered of exploring the possibility of doing something similar to what New York did,” said Leonard.
David McKay, owner of Halibut’s, is not happy:
“I think what you’re banning is the choice to have a choice,” said David McKay, owner of Halibut’s in NE Portland. The restaurant is known for its fish and chips, which are fried in trans fat oil.
“This is the finest fish and chips in Portland. Why would I want to mess that up?” said McKay. “So until I can find a zero trans fat that will make it taste like the best fish and chips in Portland, then I don’t see myself switching it.”
I’m all for getting rid of trans-fats, but do we really need another law? I say, Darwin’s law! If people are too stupid to realize that consuming large amounts of trans fats may shorten their lifespan, LET THEM EAT FAT! Besides, that way they can sue 20 years from now, saying they never knew fat might be bad for them. You can read the full story here (note: link no longer valid)
A SE Portland resident tells me that the chef at Assaggio has changed, and the whole menu has been revamped. Apparently, all the signature dishes are gone. Under the original owners, this Sellwood restaurant was one of my favorite places to while away a summer evening. These days I’m hearing two dynamically opposed opinions on the food: really good/really awful. Anyone care to throw in an opinion? Should PFD pay a visit?
We have noticed that food stories in print edition of the Portland Mercury have been conspicuously absent for the past couple of weeks. This, coupled with the small amount of food related news in the Willamette Week made us wonder if both of those publications have just thrown in the towel when it comes to food. However, in today’s issue of the Mercury, reporter provocateur Matt “Silencing the Lamb” Davis, is culminating his obsession with large cuts of meat, by printing a detailed and graphic step-by step account of his experience slaughtering a whole lamb. Sure to piss off lots of people, especially animal lovers, we are at least hopeful that he saved us a lamb chop or two. Meanwhile, don’t get drunk and pass out while in Matt’s company. He seems to be following a disturbing path. First a pig’s head, then a lamb… The Demon Barber of Fleet Street? Demons are prowling everywhere… now a days.
Dallas Food.org just finished a 10 part piece on Noka, a company that claims to sell the world’s best chocolate. In the end, they make a compelling case that all Noka sells is chocolate from a high-end French supplier, melted down and marked up by 2,500% to 7,000%. Good reading.
The Women’s Philanthropy Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (whew) is hosting a speaking engagement called “Ask A… Food Critic – an Evening with Karen Brooks”.
From the PR:
Restaurant critic, award-winning journalist and cookbook author Karen Brooks is the Dining Out editor for The Oregonian.
Discuss restaurants, food trends and reviewing tactics with one of the most knowledgeable food lovers in the Rose City.
Wednesday, January 17, 7:00 – 9:00PM
The Janice Griffin Gallery
1301 NW 12th Avenue
Hors d’oeurves and wine will be served
$18 per person
Spouses, friends and adults over 18 are invited
Please RSVP to Rachel Halupowski by January 15
What? Of course we’ll be there! I want to find out what this food critic stuff is all about. It sounds like an easy way to make a buck. Speaking of which…
David Paris says
Assaggio has long been one of my favorite restaurants in town. I did not know that they had changed chefs, but I had noticed that the menu has totally changed, and all my favorite dishes are gone. Major bummer… also noticed that overall the quality does in fact seem to have gone down. Lately, the last three people who have gone there on my recommendation have been disappointed. Not making me look good! :-) Last time I was there was a month ago, and the food was definitely good, but not as those years ago…
I thought the Democrats in Portland were all about pro-choice?
Apparently not when it comes to cooking oils, huh?
Do they have any clue how stupid that makes them look?
Food Dude says
-s: I know the feeling. That happened to me once when I recommended a restaurant. ;)
After having gone through five hosts, I’ve decided that none of the cheap ones are worth a damn. Dreamhost is pushing the envelope with their problems though. I’m not gonna complain; I can’t afford anything better.
Everytime something happens with Dreamhost I feel bad for recommending them. I’m amazed you still talk to me sometimes.
Maybe I can make another not well thought out comment on trans fat legislation and get sum(sic) copy in the WW or another publication. I do think that is the epitome of stupid (the trans fat BS, not my spelling and grammar issues)…
Anybody try out Hiroshi yet? I noticed it is open now across from Graze in the Pearl. I was a fan of Hiro Sushi, and am interested in trying his new place.
BTW Jeff, I’m a Democrat in Portland and I am all about Pro-choice in transfats and whatnot. Don’t paint us all with one brush, you right wing whack-job… ;)
Maybe Randy Leonard ought to look into banning excess body fat–like his own. Democrats? Try demogogues.
B/w Randy and Sam “I Am” Adams, will the grandstanding ever end?
It seems to me that the ideal compromise on the trans-fat issue is education. If someone wants to legislate a solution, how about simply mandating that a small warning (e.g. “This item contains trans-fat”) appear alongside any items that contain more than a certain (low) level of trans-fat. Thus the consumer is educated as to which items on a menu may contain trans-fats and can make their own educated decision.
I think this may also solve the real “problem” of all the fast food restaurants where everything on the menu is fried in trans-fats and people eat there every day. While I would still happily splurge occasionally for some fine trans-fat fried fish at Halibuts, I can see myself (and others) being discouraged from getting fries with my lunch every single day if I was reminded what’s in them. I think it would also put some public pressure on places to at least consider alternatives to trans-fats in some situations where they may not be entirely necessary.
This article has a good list of the top 10 places we get trans fats from-
Most of the offenders come from grocery store bought prepared items rather than restaurants. On the FDA’s list, french fries don’t even show up until #8.
I don’t think banning trans fats in restaurants is going to do a damn thing to help the obesity problem. It’s like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound. Why not ban all fried food? Deep frying in general is never going to be good for us, trans fat free or not(and no, I don’t want this to happen either. I think at my age I know exactly what a delicious doughnut does to my rear). Why aren’t we banning trans fats from all public school cafeterias? Children could really use that protection.
I’d recommend reading “An Omnivore’s Dilemma” to everyone. I consider myself educated food-wise and it was still quite an eye opener and better explains why Americans are fat than blaming trans fats.
On a side note, Cooking Light named Portland #2 in it’s list of Best Cities.
I don’t use Dreamhost for any sort of advanced email stuff, so I’ve never gotten the chance to run into those problems.
There are a couple of problems with trans fat “education”:
1) Nobody seems to know what they are talking about. There are naturally occurring trans fats in some meat and dairy products. I’m guessing that these aren’t what people are talking about, but they are trans fats nonetheless. Maybe partially hydrogenated oils is too much to say? Does Portland want to ban cows’ milk?
2) I have yet to see a study that says that a world without “trans fats” will result in decreases in heart disease rates, etc. Sure there are linkages, but many of the problems that are “caused” by trans fat consumption are also a result of aging, heredity, and other diet issues. How much of an improvement in community health is a simple switch from a “trans fat” oil to uh…lard?
What is interesting to me though is that, very quietly, changes are already occurring. For instance, Wal-Mart stopped selling their generic butter spread stuff for a couple of weeks. Out of stock maybe? Hmm maybe not. When it came back, the trans fat number was remarkably zero (we knew because we had both versions.) I wonder how many other changes are being made just to avoid future problems.
What other info do you have on the Alberta Pambiche opening. I’ve heard rumors about this for quite awhile now but it never seemed to happen. Having Cuban food so close to home won’t be good for the pocketbook or waistline. But I’ll be loving life.
Its good to see that our civic leaders are tackling the really tough issues.
well seasoned says
Re: Assaggio, if y’all had been paying attention to the press releases, you’d have seen “Assaggio Announces New Menu” posted Tuesday, November 28th, 2006. Being a fan from the old days, I read it carefully enough to see not only that almost all the dishes had changed but also that Teodoro KuMay had been replaced as chef by Jake Nelson. Teo had been at Assaggio from the beginning, working his way up to Exec. under the wing of founding chef/owner Darryl Joannides; Jake, I found out from Googling him, was at Genoa. (Or “is” at Genoa – another of the press releases says he’s going to be doing a Genoa gig at Whole Foods Bridgeport on Jan. 8th. Weird! Are there 2 Jake Nelsons??). Anyway, Darryl sold Assaggio a while ago to a couple of folks who’ve never owned a restaurant before. My guess is that they want to turn Assaggio, which has always been an unpretentious place with unique recipes, into an upscale competitor against places like Fratelli and Giorgio’s. Big mistake, I think. Even if the new upscale Italian food is fabulous, they’ll lose all the old regulars who’ve kept the place going for years by coming back week after week for their favorite pasta dishes. But I do plan to check it out. FD, you probably should, too. And while you’re at it, find out what’s going on with The Two Jakes.
Food Dude says
Kikki… just that the new Pambiche will open late this summer, and that it will be on Alberta st.
We had been big fans of Assagio since it started up.
We took friends from out of town there over Thanksgiving weekend and were terribly disappointed. True, none of the old standby dishes were available. But aside from that, the servings were paltry and the food lackluster, in addition to increased prices. The only thing that was worth eating was the bread. I also noticed that the waitstaff were all new.
So sadly, we will not be going back.
We are however delighted to know that the original owners of Assagio have opened CORK wine shop on Alberta and this has become a new favorite destination.
I think alerting people that trans-fat exists in a product is a smarter way to go than trying to “ban” it all together. Look at how many packages on the shelves have stickers proclaiming they don’t contain trans fat. Any city with a ban is going to have a hard time enforcing it.
I’m not saying I am pro trans fat, merely in agreement with girl_cook that educating the public (or making them aware) of what they are eating is what we should be doing.
Case in point: At some point it was determined that smoking cigarettes were bad for you (this coming from a country that was partially founded on tobacco farming), so now there are stickers on packs proclaiming how smoking can kill you.
Hmmm… smoking or an occassional plate of fish & chips? Pass the tartar sauce please! Oh, I need some malt vinegar for my fries while you’re at it…
Re: Pambiche…The word I had head was that chef/owner John Connell-Maribona wanted to open a place similar to Cañita – bring back the grilled dishes and have a full bar.
Re: Coffee People…The owner of the Coffee People brand, Diedrich Coffee, decided a few months ago to eliminate their retail operations and go wholesale. They put the leases on their property up for bidding and Starbucks snatched them up. By the end of January all of the Coffee People stores will be shut down. The deal with the leases was that Starbucks had to take them all, so it remains to be seen which ones they will actually reopen as Starbucks stores. Part of the deal with Starbucks, in order to avoid any backlash, was to not allow any franchising of the Coffee People brand for 3 years. So it is quite possible that we may see Coffee People stores again in 3 years time, they just wouldn’t be operated by Diedrich.
PDX would not allow Starbucks to take over the Coffee People leases, so a local company called Stephanie Inc. bought the leases and will be franchising them beginning February 1st.
I’m a little confused. Will old Coffee People stores now be Starbucks, or is Stephanie Inc going to open something else? I just want to know that I can still get my drive-up latte, and hopefully wifi, if the kids fall asleep in the car.
Starbucks have the leases on all Coffee People locations, but there’s no word how many they intend to re-open as Starbucks or a timeline for anything. I haven’t heard anything about Starbucks retaining existing Coffee People employees, so it does not seem that there will be a Coffee People today, Starbucks tomorrow-type switch, but I don’t have a lot of info about that.
I should have clarified that Stephanie Inc. will *only* be taking over the Coffee People kiosks in the Portland Airport. Stephanie Inc. was able to get this part of the business because the Airport has essentially veto power on who sets up shop in the terminals and did not want Starbucks to take over those leases.
RE: Coffee People
I know for sure that two of the downtown ‘Peeps will become Starbucks at the end of January (the one at the foot of the Park blocks and the one at the top (near PSU)).
Isn’t Three Lions Bakery taking over some of the locations?