● otv search
● restaurant guide

Wednesday
Aug052009

Acadia: A Slice of New Orleans in Portland, Oregon

By: Laura Sabo  Journey east through the Fremont neighborhood in NE Portland, slow down when you get to the corner of 13th and Fremont, and you’ll find Acadia, a gem of a restaurant serving the epitome of New Orleans cuisine. Lunch is served only on Wednesdays and has legions of fans, so get there early or make reservations in advance. Acadia is small in size but big in the flavor factor. Walk through the door and the aromatic scents of spices will take you right down Bourbon Street, sans the beads.

Staycation is the current buzz word of the moment, so if you are sticking around town, save yourself a trip to the Big Easy if you are a fan of Cajun or Creole fare. Even if you aren’t a Southern fare groupie, you’ll soon become one. Reminiscent of Cajun chef Justin Wilson’s tagline “I guarantee it”, and possibly borrowed from Men’s Warehouse founder George Zimmer - “We guarantee it.”

There is a plethora of offerings on the menu including these delicious appetizers: the $2 Gulf oyster shooter with Bloody Mary mix and jalapeno vodka and the high-end Cajun fruits de mer for $22 (translation: “fruits of the sea”, referring to a combination of seafood). Soup and salad items are smoked oyster, rabbit and andouille gumbo with popcorn rice ($9) or a blue crab and arugula salad with almonds, asparagus and radishes tossed with green goddess-horseradish dressing ($10).

Don’t have a case of your “eyes being bigger than your stomach”…absolutely save room for the main course. While the blackened catfish with pickled corn relish ($13) or the Louisiana barbeque shrimp with Worcestershire sauce, butter, black pepper and lemon on white rice ($15) are TDF (to die for), the real star of this show is the bona fide Po’ Boy sandwiches, dolled up with red beans. There are chicken, catfish and shrimp Po’ Boys, but do yourself a favor and attempt the soft shell crab Po’ Boy, a rarity in these parts. All Po’ Boys range in price from $9-$11.

Acadia’s chefs search the South for native ingredients like Gulf oysters and shrimp, blue crab and Louisiana crawfish, and have them shipped via air cargo twice weekly for freshness.  Cajun popcorn rice from Gueydan, Louisiana and andouille sausage from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana are also brought in.

When you get home, kick off your shoes, put on your beads (well, maybe not) and enjoy the remainder of your staycation.  Your hammock should be looking real good ‘bout now.

Acadia
1303 NE Fremont Street - Portland, OR
(503) 249-5001 
Friday
Jul172009

Ping – The Latest from the Owner of Pok Pok

By: Laura Sabo  Heading to our usual favorite Portland China Town haunt, Good Taste, my husband and I saw the sign for Ping. Being the adventurous sort, we looked at each other and said, let’s try it. Opened last February, Ping is the latest creation from the owner of Portland’s beloved Pok Pok.
 
Since we had tasted the delicacies that Pok Pok has to offer, how could this be bad?  
 
From the outside, no one would ever suspect what lurks inside. Housed in the former China Town favorite, Hung Far Low, I’d describe Ping as a hiply-decorated skewer city. Ping’s décor gives off a vibe of sitting in a cool Taiwanese restaurant. Laminated black and white tablecloths are reminiscent of Asian newspaper, recycled wood dons the walls, while vintage radios found in an abandoned store down the street grace another wall. The corner tables have tiny wood shelves holding matching antique-like lamps and sheets of rice paper drape like billowing clouds above the open kitchen.

While there are salads, noodle dishes and snacks such as deep-fried tiny fish and shrimp chips, skewers are king here. A minimum order of two per menu item is posted. With prices ranging from $2.00 for muu ping — pork shoulder skewer marinated in garlic, fish sauce, coconut milk and sugar — to $3.50, the baby octopus skewer infused with lime, chilies, garlic, fish sauce and cilantro, you can order and share many. A welcoming touch is the condiment bowls holding a black pepper, sea salt and lime substance and lip-smacking hot pepper sauce to pour over the morsels. Vessels, not glasses, of water arrive at each table in case of tongue flare-ups.

After eating our way through numerous skewers, the Kuaytiaw Khua Kai kept calling to us. The dish was easily shared by two and is a spicy array of wide rice noodles with chicken, green onion and scrambled egg stir fried in garlic oil and dusted with chile powder. All this for a mind blowing $6.00. This is the stuff of dreams. No wonder Ping was named Rising Star of 2009 in the Oregonian’s Diner Guide.

Ping
102 NW 4th Avenue, Portland
(503) 229-7464
Hours weekdays 11:00-10:00, Saturday 4:00-10:00
Happy Hour weekdays 2:00-5:30; 4:00-5:30 Saturdays
Closed Sunday
Monday
Jul132009

Portland’s Barbur World Foods

By: Laura Sabo - Walk into Barbur World Foods in SW Portland and you’ll feel like you found the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s culinary global wonderland.

Barbur World Foods was built in 1936 to serve as a small Piggly Wiggly store in Portland. John Attar is the third owner buying the store in 2004. He also owns Ya Hala Restaurant in Portland, as well as International Food Supply grocery store next to Ya Hala. Attar wanted his store to be one of a kind and key to his concept was offering affordable foods from around the world. read more 

Sunday
May242009

The Portland Saturday Market (and Sunday too)

By: Laura Sabo  Not to be confused with the plethora of Portland Farmers Markets that bless our metropolitan area, the Portland Saturday Market is a marketplace unlike any other.  Founded in 1974, the Portland Saturday Market is the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts marketplace in the United States featuring over 250 artists from across the Northwest.  Centered in Portland’s historic Old Town District, the market has expanded and spilled across the street onto the waterfront of the Willamette River.
 
You won’t find a head of lettuce or flowers here, but what you can find are artisans selling their handmade works of art; everything from candles to musical instruments to garden art to glass pieces to wood and metal works.  My personal favorite is Spoonman Creations where metal master, Mike Kelly, will make anything out of recycled flatware and other kitchen utensils.  Mike is one of the few original vendors still at the Portland Saturday Market.  Perfect for that hard-to-buy person is the fork or knife headwear.  I’d say this stuff is priceless but it’s really reasonable.  Both of the fork or knife headwear will set you back $7.00.  Now that’s recession proof.
 
Thirty unique food vendors set up shop every weekend, each trying to lure us in with sweet scent of whatever’s cooking on their grills and stoves  wafting through the air.  Among them are Chowder Heads who make homemade clam chowder, hand breaded fish with fresh sliced chips or Angelina’s Greek Cuisine who craft gyros made of beef and lamb traditionally grilled on a spit.  Cloud Cap Coffee Works custom blends espresso drinks and coffee made from locally roasted coffee beans from sustainable sources.

Don’t even think about leaving without the ubiquitous elephant ears.  Sugar rush anyone?
 
Portland Saturday Market
108 W. Burnside, Portland
(503) 222-6072
 
Saturday 10:00-5:00 pm, Sunday 11:00-4:30 pm (February 28th-December 24th)