Bread & Brew: Change of seasons ushers in changes in wine, food scene
You have a nose for wine. But, do you have an ear for it?
On a recent airing of "The Four Top," a Portland podcast about food and beverages that airs once a month on Mondays, wine writer Katherine Cole gathers a few legendary rock industry guests to explore the wine-music connection.
Cole asks those assembled why artists and musicians often end up in the wine business. Mulling over the question from inside The Old Portland Wine Bar was its proprietor, Courtney Taylor-Taylor of The Dandy Warhols, I.R.S. Records founders Jay Boberg and Domaine Nicolas-Jay, and Sheri Hood of Portland's Pressing Plant wine label. Hood named her chardonnay, Bryter Layter, for the Nick Drake song.
When the guests sampled a bit of Willamette Valley pinot called Red Vinyl from Boberg's Dundee winery, Taylor-Taylor anointed it the best Oregon pinot he's ever had. Check out his other favorites — mostly of the French type — at The Old Portland Wine Bar, 1433 N.W. Quimby St., a shrine to wine and Portland's divey, legendary musical past (including Satyricon).
• Smell the smoke from Matt's BBQ Tacos? The taco cart is on fire, having just made Bon Appétit magazine's best restaurants in America top-10 list.
It's a decidedly homespun pick for the bougee food magazine, but the Austin-style BBQ truck serves up a mean chopped brisket taco so good you'll agree with the pick.
Matt slings the magic from a bright blue trailer in a food pod located at Southeast 32nd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard. Breakfast tacos are served from 8 a.m.-11 a.m., followed by lunch and dinner until close. Matt's full-scale restaurant, Matt's BBQ, is located at 4233 N. Mississippi Ave.
• The classic, venerable RingSide Steakhouse has unveiled its end of summer remodel, a nondrastic nip and a tuck that includes a subtle expansion of its famous sunken bar. Expect a bit more elbow room at happy hour, more warm and glowy lighting, and less risk of accidentally sitting in Jim Fischer Jr.'s lap.
The Volvo tycoon is a regular, and the nearby iconic family business still lights up West Burnside with its blue neon sign. All food on RingSide's bar menu is half-off during the first hour of service, and again during late night happy hour from 9:30 p.m. to close. In addition, the RingSide's private dining room is now fully enclosed.
The RingSide's talented new executive sous chef, Amanda Sullivan, brings new flair to the menu with Seared Albacore Tuna and Vietnamese Steak Tartare, while staying true to the old-school vibe longtime Portlanders hold dear in a churning city.
Yes, we remember when our parents occasionally brought home onion rings for a treat and the year that Thomas Lauderdale passed them out at his Christmas party. Raise a glass to the RingSide's 75th birthday with a Glass Palace cocktail and the onion rings that James Beard called the best on the planet.
• Slabtown, once a bunch of Conway parking lots on the hip of Northwest Portland, has shed its industrial skin, giving way to shiny apartments and Google-watch wearing urbanites. Mama Bird, the wood-fired chicken place owned by chef Gabriel Pascuzzi of Stacked Sandwiches, opened recently. The wood fire imparts deeply subtle flavors to the chicken, and the sides of sweet potatoes and salads go down easy.
Only a few storefronts to the east, also on Northwest Raleigh Street, is G. Love, a vegetable-centric steak house obliquely named for the 1990s band, G Love and the Special Sauce. And a second outpost of the Rio de Janeiro-inspired Carioca Bowls just opened on Northwest 21st Avenue, where the superfood acai berry is featured in many of the healthy dishes. Toasts, bowls, chai and coffee are served inside a warm, happy space.
Soon to open on Northwest Raleigh directly across from New Seasons Slabtown is XLB (Xiao Long Bao) Dumplings. This will be the second location for the Williams Avenue Chinese comfort food restaurant, where soup noodles and dumplings will be served at long counters.
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