On Our Radar



     
 
Mostlandian Panwiches
Business/Location: Junior Ambassador's
Address: 4734 N Albina Ave
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97217
Phone: 503-880-0851
Website: www.juniorambassadors.com/

Posted by:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
Photo:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
   Junior Ambassador's
Entering into the domain of Junior Ambassadors actually takes you over the border into the nation of Mostlandia, a place best described by its ambassadors: "It is nowhere, and now here." Mostlandian propaganda is your first inkling that things are a little different here and your next clue is the ice cream menu which includes flavors like Smoked Salmon (my personal favorite, don't knock it til you tried it), Asparagus and Maple Strip Tease, a tried and true maple-bacon combo. Most people come for the ice cream, but don't forget the panwiches, sandwiches with yummy fillings between two pancakes.


Breakfast of Champions
Business/Location: Tasty n Sons
Address: 3808 N Williams Ave
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97212
Phone: 503-621-1400
Website: www.tastynsons.com

Posted by:  Angie Jabine
Photo:  Angie Jabine
   Tasty n Sons
Some might say opening a breakfast/brunch restaurant is the mark of a lazy chef. The hours are less brutal, the basic ingredients are cheap, and the menu stays pretty much constant throughout the year. But chef John Gorham, founder of the fantastically popular Toro Bravo, is anything but lazy. Borrowing liberally from the spice palate that makes Toro Bravo's tapas menu so delectable, Gorham's new Tasty n Sons re-sets the standard for breakfast in a town that overflows with breakfast options. Who cares about bacon-eggs-hashbrowns when you can tuck into a frittata with nettles, asparagus, olives, caramelized onions and fromage blanc (a soft white cheese) served in a sizzling cast iron skillet? Or roasted harissa chicken hash, which gets its smoky magic from Gorham's version of harissa, a traditional North African condiment made with piri piri chile peppers, red peppers, coriander, and other spices. I may skip the chocolate potato doughnut on my next visit (even with crème anglaise it was underwhelming) but I'll be trying the Burmese red pork stew, or maybe the glazed yams with cumin-maple. And, what the heck, I'll start with a "Tasty Mary" with house pickles and a celery salt rim. Can't wait.


Cinema Paradiso
Business/Location: Movie Madness
Address: 4320 SE Belmont St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97215
Phone: 503-234-436
Website: www.moviemadnessvideo.com/

Posted by:  Angie Jabine
Photo:  Angie Jabine
   Movie Madness
When the big-box movie rental chains finally bite the dust, Portland will still have Movie Madness, a Belmont storefront that caters to film fanatics of every stripe. You want Oscar-winners, new releases, anime, musicals, martial arts, horror, documentaries, skinflicks, spaghetti Westerns? With 70,000 titles, chances are you’ll find it at Movie Madness--eventually. Sometimes the floor plan can make finding the title you want a real guessing game. (Is "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" under Paul Newman? Nope. Drama? Nope. Oh, here it is, under Merchant Ivory productions.) But the quirky classification system is great when you're not exactly sure what you want to watch, and it's also a reminder that real film buffs run this place. Another reminder is the store's ever-expanding display of movie memorabilia, such as a dusty Faye Dunaway frock from "Bonnie and Clyde" or Julie Andrews's sweat-stained dirndl from "The Sound of Music." (Who knew she was so stacked?) As for film props, here's the knife from the shower scene in "Psycho," and there's the baby carriage that teetered down the train station steps during the climactic shootout in "The Untouchables." Finds like this make Movie Madness a genuine Portland treasure.


Resale Therapy
Business/Location: Bonnie's (closed)
Address: 4730 NE Fremont St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97213
Phone: 503-546-7990

Posted by:  Angie Jabine
Photo:  Angie Jabine
   Bonnie's
(closed)
Even when the wolf's at the proverbial door--sometimes especially when the wolf's at the proverbial door--a gal needs a bit of retail therapy. She needs a friendly little boutique with a sweet selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories to fluff up her battered morale without flattening her dwindling bank account. Bonnie's resale clothing on NE Fremont is just the place. Former customers mourned when Bonnie Jensen closed her old shop a few blocks east, and they're rejoicing to have her back. She travels far and wide to find barely-worn, well-made designer attire (Hawaii is one surprising treasure trove) and passes on the savings to her Portland clientele. A recent flip through the racks netted me a couple of great finds: a classic grey Ideology skirt and a bell-sleeved Beyond Threads sweater jacket with a mother of pearl button closure. Except for a few vintage treasures, all styles are up to date--she's nothing if not selective. Be warned, Bonnie's hours are currently limited: noon to 5:30 pm Thursdays and Fridays, and noon to 5 pm on Saturday


Politics and Pie
Business/Location: Bipartisan Cafe
Address: 7901 SE Stark St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97215
Phone: 503-253-1051
Website: www.bipartisancafe.com

Posted by:  Angie Jabine
Photo:  Cathey Flickinger
   Bipartisan Cafe
It's almost a zoning requirement that Portland cafés must offer perfectly brewed Stumptown coffee, Wi-Fi, and a few comfy couches interspersed among the cafe tables. So how can a neighborhood coffee joint set itself apart? In the case of the Bipartisan Café in Montavilla--a Brigadoon-like neighborhood bounded on one side by Mount Tabor and on the other by 82nd Avenue--the joint adopts a theme, namely politics. And it specializes in pie. I don't know if the Bipartisan is truly bipartisan, but its walls are full of political memorabilia, including an old voting booth, giving you something to gaze upon while you wait for your slice of pie, which you should definitely order. The fruit pies rotate with the seasons, or you can go with the refrigerated cream pies (Banana! Coconut! Be still my heart!). There are generally whole pies available to go, too ($15, plus a two-dollar tin deposit). Friends swear by the bagel sandwiches, if you like that sort of thing. Friday evenings often feature live music, too. The formula seems to work--this place is always bustling.


Analog Sanity
Business/Location: Blue Moon Camera and Machine
Address: 8417 N Lombard St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97203
Phone: 503-978-0333
Website: www.bluemooncamera.com

Posted by:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
Photo:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
   Blue Moon Camera and Machine
In a digital world, Blue Moon is a bastion of analog sanity. Specializing in film cameras and manual typewriters, they proudly fly the flag for those who love all things mechanical, dependable and tangible. Remember the satisfying feel of a camera advancing film negative? Do you recall the comforting sound of a click-clacking typewriter? Visit here and you can bring home your very own lovingly restored examples of each. The staff are all knowledgeable artists and photographers themselves so you can trust them with your questions--and your beloved film negatives which they can print in their on-site dark room. Gazing at the gorgeous photographic prints and the rows of beautiful typewriters makes you wonder why we all settle for crappy cell phone cameras and smudgy laser printers.


Sunday Morning Savior
Business/Location: Triple Nickel
Address: 3646 SE Belmont St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97214
Phone: 503-234-7215

Posted by:  Steve Mattos
Photo:  Todd Mecklem
   Triple Nickel
The Triple Nickel is a spacious, smokey bar just up the street from some of the nicer Belmont art bars and hipster joints like Aalto Lounge etc. It's a dive and it knows as much. The Triple Nickel has excellent drink specials, late night bar food (the fish and chips are actually pretty decent), pool tables, and a friendly staff. Best thing about the Triple Nickel? Sunday mornings during football season, they serve a $5 all-u-can eat breakfast buffet and show every game on TVs scattered throughout the bar until about 1 pm. Bloody Mary's are a house specialty and accompany the football breakfast very well. Now that's a nice way to spend a Sunday.


Soupy Perfection
Business/Location: HA & VL
Address: 2738 SE 82nd Ave
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97266

Posted by:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
Photo:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
   HA & VL
How to develop a cult following in three easy steps: 1. Give your business an inscrutable name (in this case, the two owners' initials). 2. Have a mysterious menu that changes daily and frequently sells out by lunchtime. 3. Make kick-ass soup, the likes of which have never before been seen in this town. That's the winning formula employed by HA & VL, a Vietnamese deli in a funky strip mall on 82nd. The menu rotates through a selection of obscure (in Portland, anyway) regional noodle soups of Vietnam. No average bowl of pho here; instead you choose from Peppery Pork Balls or Shredded Egg Noodles or the now-legendary Crabflake Noodle soup--provided you arrive on the right day and before the noodle-mad mobs have beaten you to your rightful bowlful. Of course, if you do show up late and the soup of the day is sold out, you can always console yourself with a very fine banh mi sandwich and boba tea. Sitting back and watching Vietnamese soap operas with treats in hand, you might almost forget that soupy perfection was nearly within your grasp.


Heart of Coffee Beans
Business/Location: Heart Roasters
Address: 2211 E Burnside St
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97214
Phone: 503-206-6602
Website: www.heartroasters.com

Posted by:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
Photo:  Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
   Heart Roasters
I can hear what you're thinking: Does Portland really need another artisanal, small-batch, gourmet coffee roaster? Well, to you I say: does the world really need another symphony, another painting, another poem? Maybe not, but what a sad and hollow world it would be without everyone striving to contribute their best to whatever medium inspires them. Now, it's true, Portland has a disproportionate number of people who are inspired by the humble coffee bean, but as a lover of java in all its many forms, I say the more artists, the better. Personally, I welcome the proliferation of micro-roasters--it's sort of like being in Vienna in the 18th century--and Heart Coffee is particularly fine example of the trend with their carefully curated selection of beans, on-site roaster and tastefully chic coffeehouse space. But what really sets them apart: a revolving selection of toast and toppings to accompany your brew. That's why I heart Heart.


Alpine for You...
Business/Location: Grüner
Address: 527 SW 12th Ave
City: Portland
State: OR
Zip Code: 97205
Phone: 503-241-7163
Website: www.grunerpdx.com

Posted by:  Angie Jabine
Photo:  Angie Jabine
   Grüner
From Zefiro to Bluehour, Chef Chris Israel's local restaurant lineage is unimpeachable, so his new Grüner Restaurant has inspired a lot of curiosity. Israel's notion of "Alpine" cuisine (as broad-based as Mediterranean, but more northerly) scores some real hits, including tarte flambée, an Alsatian thin-crust pizza with caramelized onions, smoked bacon, and crème fraîche. A deal at $9, it's ample enough for a light dinner for two, paired with a "Grüner salad" of lettuce, fennel, celery, and Chioggia beets. Entrées, though well made, lack the same zing. Cases in point: Grilled Golden Trout with horseradish cream, broccoli, toasted pine nuts, and Yukon gold potatoes, and the bland Kavalierspitz of Viennese braised beef in a broth with baby carrots and turnips. (The accompanying creamed spinach was a hot mess: only the color green indicated "spinach"). Like the monochrome décor, both dishes failed to inspire. But kudos to attentive, efficient waiters who actually know the wines they're serving. My glass of Lagrein Schreckbichl Colterenzio Alto Adige, from the part of Italy closest to Austria, was as food-friendly as any Pinot Noir. I’ll be back to try Grüner’s bar food, especially the "hambürger" with gruyere and bacon.