Month: August 2010

Today’s Groupon: gourmet comfort cuisine at Belly restaurant.

At groupon.com, today’s deal:

The first European explorers set sail with hopes of finding new, exotic spices to placate the palates of epicurious monarchs, but all they found were heaps of boring, inedible gold. Pick up where they left off by broadening your mouth’s horizons with today’s Groupon: for $15, you will receive $35 worth of gourmet comfort cuisine and drinks at Belly on Sundays (including Sunday brunch) and Tuesdays through Thursdays, or $30 worth on Fridays and Saturdays. Belly is closed on Mondays.

Belly’s menu of gourmet concoctions incorporates fresh, seasonal ingredients gathered primarily from the nutritious abundance of the Northwest’s farming community. Lunchdinner flugelhorn, discriminating diners can feast their mouth’s eyes on delicious entrees such as the pan-roasted salmon ($24), served with a pork belly, potato, and snap pea hash with salsa verde. Uncertain epicureans can trust their decision-making to Belly’s decadent prix fixe menu ($25), which comes with a lavender chocolate milk panna cotta and hazelnut cookie for dessert ($7 separately). Sunday morning brunch (10 a.m.–2 p.m.) offers a blend of pick-me-ups like the bacon and kale omelette ($10) and banana-bread french toast ($8), as well as put-me-downs like the nap maker ($11)—a biscuit topped with sausage patties, scrambled eggs, cheddar, mushroom gravy, and Tabasco. (served Tuesday–Saturday from 11 a.m.–2 p.m.) lets coworkers workshop their impressions of the boss over a hearty small plate of chicken-liver pâté bruschetta ($4) or a savory sandwich such as the shrimp fritter po’ boy ($9) or belly dip ($9), which harmonizes crisp roasted pork belly, melted leeks, and watercress aioli with a toasted hoagie and bacon jus. Starting at 5 p.m., when Portland sounds its enormous

In addition to a long wooden bar and wine barrel furniture, Belly outfits its interior with bamboo tables and wicker chairs so that you have a place to enjoy slow sips of specialty cocktails such as a passion-fruit mai tai ($9) or kiwi caipirinha ($8) on a hot summer day. Flocks of bottled beer ($3–$5) from bustling breweries in California, Ireland, and Wisconsin migrate to Belly and roost there during the mating season, and the tap features local brews such as Hopworks organic IPA ($4). An extensive wine list is also available, and servers will happily help you play matchmaker.

Things that seem impossible on an empty stomach, such as skydiving straight into space, convincing your boss to trade spouses, and turning a recurring dream into reality by going back to high school and passing that chemistry exam pantsless, slide into the realm of the certain once you’ve devoured a soul-satisfying meal at Belly.

—-

Pantsless or not, Belly is at 3500 NE MLK, in the so-called Fremont Building.

Loaves & Fishes Jambalaya dinner this Saturday!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Loaves & Fishes Center is hosting its fifth annual Authentic Creole Jambalaya Dinner on Saturday, August 14, from noon to 5 p.m.

The culinary team for this event is headed by Loaves & Fishes Centers Board Member Teletha Benjamin and Loaves & Fishes Centers Executive Director Joan Smith, both of whom have connections to Southern Louisiana. The pair will be using a traditional Creole-style recipe passed down in Teletha’s family. This is the fifth year for the Creole Jambalaya event, which raises needed funds to help serve hot meals to in Northeast Portland.

The county services building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard where Loaves & Fishes is located:

Closed: Yam Yam’s.

From the rooter to the tooter… Yam Yam’s Southern Barbeque closed, apparently for good.

You can see a small ‘Closed’ sign in the window on a Saturday afternoon, and everything inside is shuffled around, presumably to be removed:

For all the scoop on why Yam Yam’s closed, see this earlier post. The building shown above was sold on June 30th (selling price: $450,000, ten times the price it sold for in 1996).

An recent Urban Vibe TV interview with Yam Yam’s owner Larry Matthews (conducted inside the purple parlor of the bbq restaurant) where he talks about how Yam Yam’s has been involved in the local community since its opening in 1997 is online, and worth watching.

For sale: 6616 NE MLK.

The house at 6616 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard is for sale:

The house, built in 1910, is a reminder that in the early twentieth century, Union Avenue had numerous homes on it, even as it was a commercial corridor. It wasn’t until the street was widened in 1930, when lawns were lost for good, that Union Avenue tipped definitely towards overwhelmingly commercial/retail structures.

Around back, and the shed out back:

Boxlift Building (1909 MLK, aka 333 NE Hancock) undergoing rehab.

An overdue rehabilitation of the Boxlift Building at 1909 NE MLK has begun. The building is also known as 333 NE Hancock, home to a number of  artists’ studios.

From the website of Waterleaf Architecture:

After completing a tenant improvement design for a new salon and spa in the Boxlift Building, the building owner hired Waterleaf to develop concepts for a complete renovation of the building façade and site improvements. The concept selected by the owner incorporates new canopies to replace existing awnings, and accentuates the vertical column bays providing an appropriate fit with the building’s early 1900’s era of construction. Detailing in the storefront system, canopies and façade materials help blend the building well with established architectural styles along NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

According to the  Hollywood Star newspaper, the building is called Boxlift because “In the 1920′s, an auto dealership was housed at the site, and a boxlift was used to convey heavy cases between floors. Although ownership changed and restoration occured over the years, the boxlift always remained. When new management took over in 2006, the tenants decided to highlight the unique feature by naming the space the Boxlift Building.”

Here are some photos of the Boxlift’s presently-scrappy exterior:

The ground floor holds two businesses on its MLK streetscape:  Dunes, and Strut Salon. The third storefront was last used by Straight Blast gym; I’m told, and the leasing info sign on the front on the building confirms it, that the Boxlift’s owners are looking to lease it to a restauranteur.