Departures Peking Duck
Departure's Peking Duck JOHN VALLS/ DEPARTURE

Generally, December’s a slow food news month, but the first week of this December has brought with it some uncharacteristically sunny news (as well as some gloomy news). Here’s how the last month of 2017 is shaping up.

The Good
This week, we listed what we feel are the six best options to get your Peking Duck on during this holiday season. They are Departure ($106), Duck House ($55.95), Powell’s Seafood ($38), Golden Horse ($36), Wong’s King ($35), and Pure Spice ($25.95).

PoMo reports of two highly anticipated openings this week: Melissa McMillan’s Portland-by-way-of-Ashland sandwich shop, Sammich, which has opened at 2137 E Burnside, and Adam McGovern and Arik Miller’s new cafe. Sterling Coffee Roasters is now grinding beans and foaming milk at 518 NW 21st just a couple blocks away from their old shared digs.

Courtesy of Eater PDX, we’ve learned that the Little Griddle is now serving breakfast and brunch at 3520 NE 42nd; that in February of next year, the Widewaters Hotels-owned and Hilton-managed Porter Hotel will open four restaurants to be helmed by former Original chef AJ Voytko, including Terrane Italian Kitchen + Bar, Xport Bar & Lounge, the Chiosco pizza window, and a cafe and deli called Portland Exchange Grocer & Goods; that Lightning Bar Collective is bringing vegan barbecue to its newest—and eighth—bar, Thunderbird, located at 5339 SE Foster; and that the bro-ishly named Pink Taco, which makes Mexican food in LA and Las Vegas, will post up in the old Trader Vic’s space in the Pearl District. You’re welcome, ladies.

The eagle-eyed New School beer advocates have learned that the Ohio-based Fat Head’s Brewery won’t resign its lease next year for its 131 NW 13th Pearl District location. However, its Portland-based franchisee, Tom Cook, plans on opening his own new brewery and pub, Von Ebert Brewing, next year with an assist of Fat Head’s current brewer and a former Commons brewer.

With the holidays right around the corner, 23Hoyt is once again gearing up for its annual drag brunches. This year, there will be two shows on Sunday, December 10, followed by one long show on Sunday, December 17. And Santa will be dropping in on the latter one.

Ron Acierto, the owner of the shuttered Muselet wine bar and restaurant, is taking over the Function space (919 NW 23rd) this December with a month of wine tastings and a five-course wine-paired Filipino tasting menu on New Year’s Eve.

The Willamette Week notes that the shuttered barbecue joint, Clay’s Smokehouse, has been resurrected at 2865 SE Division—just a block from its old digs. And Eater PDX says that’s not all: Plans are in place for a second Clay’s at 6305 SE King.

The Bad and/or Ugly
The Willamette Week was also reporting on less cheery news this week: First up, they write that Gordon Sondland, the hotelier, Trump supporter, and possible ambassador to a TBD country, may be stiffing the contractors who worked on the redesign of The Dossier (née, Westin) Hotel. According to the story, one contractor had to close up shop because he couldn’t pay his employees because his company wasn’t getting paid. And the paper also reports that it appears that the work visa for Manuel Lopez, the former Bluehour sous chef and the now-former chef of the beloved Mexican taqueria Angel Food and Fun has been denied, meaning Lopez is headed back to his home country.