In the zombie story that won’t go away because it weekly comes for your brain, local #MeNeither spox and Ristretto Roasters-adjacent person, Nancy Rommelmann, is in the news again, but I no longer have the energy to keep continue pushing this clumsy boulder up this very stupid hill. However, If your cannibalized brain has the stomach for it, the Merc and the O offer a pair of spot-on dueling piano treatments of the whole sorry affair.
Alright, here’s the week that was!
This week, the Mercury’s food critic wrote about her visits to Doug Adams’ Bullard which anchors downtown’s Woodlark Hotel. “Saying that Bullard is the best hotel restaurant in Portland could be seen as damning it with faint praise—but it’s not meant to be,” she starts, ultimately concluding that the beef rib, dry-aged steak, and Sunday fried chicken makes Bullard “high-end dining, with quality meats and a well-appointed dining room.” She even argues that the menu, already known for its high prices, are actually pretty on-point compared to other restaurants. IOW: Share those massive dishes because you’re supposed to. Our drinks writer traveled to the Pearl’s Pink Rabbit, the new cocktail bar that is “designed within an inch of its flashy, gorgeous life,” and that it “seems custom-built to further the plot in some postmodern novel.” The drinks are the stars here, but the “glorious mess” of an oxtail burger is not to be slept on. Finally, we did report some bad news earlier in the week when we found out that chef Anh Luu’s Tapalaya restaurant was robbed last weekend. The crooks made off with $400 in booze, $800 in cash, and two computer tablets. Boo. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but Portland’s favorite past time is stealing other people’s shit.
The O rattled off Portland’s nominees for the this year’s James Beard Awards—or “the Oscars of food”—with Gabriel Rucker (Canard, Le Pigeon), Kim Boyce (Bakeshop), Akkapong (Earl) Ninsom (Langbaan, Hat Yai), and Expatriate and Davenport making this year’s cut. It also broke the news that Rick Gencarelli is opening a Grassa pasta shop in the SE at Hawthorne and 15th very, very soon.
Portland Monthly visited the new Portland outpost of the Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung and says we should, indeed, believe the hype, especially when it comes to the chocolate soup dumplings. It determined that the grandma-inspired Vietnamese “soul food” cart, Matta, with its “gravel-pitted, electrical cord-strewn, NPR-soundtracked parking lot” is the kind of place that if “Furiosa and Mad Max ever blow through town, jonesing for a postapocalyptic Portland food cart experience, this pod is the place.”
Inspired by Killer Mike’s Trigger Warning, the new Netflix series which features an episode in which he struggles to support Black-owned business in Atlanta, Willamette Week’s Cervante Pope set out to see if she could make a similar quest in white AF Portland over the course of one single day. Her takeaway: “At the end of my day, it was clear that, for the here and now, we still need to make sure we do what we can to keep Portland's black businesses open and operating. Back home in Oakland, there wasn't a need to even say that, because we were already everywhere. It was natural to walk into just about any business and see a predominantly black staff. In Portland, you have to actively seek it out.”
Finally, Eater reported plenty, including: Dallas transplant Kyle Rensmeyer is opening a new barbecue cart called Holy Trinity Barbecue sometime this spring (and he’s bringing with it some serious Texan street cred); SF-based Lovejoy’s Tea Room will start offering classic British tea service out on NW Killingsworth next week; Downtown’s Original diner has turned its second floor mezzanine into a full-on old school video arcade; and speaking of games, Mox Boarding House, the Seattle-based board game-restaurant/bar mash-up, will plant its nerd flag in the old Dollar Tree store on W Burnside.