Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.



For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.







Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!






E-mail us here.

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 6, 2004 2:56 AM. The previous post in this blog was Today's question. The next post in this blog is Forty years ago this weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Archives

Links

Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
TaxVox
Tax.com
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Conglomerate
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
myCorporateResource.com
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Utterly Boring.com
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
HinesSight
Onfocus
Jalpuna
Beerdrinker.org
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
Sansego
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
Mireio
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
{AE}
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Althouse
GirlHacker
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Frytopia
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
StumptownBlogger
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and Drink.com
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion
LoveSalem

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Misterblue
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
Twisty
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
Pinktalk
Mellow-Drama
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Rosenblog
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Blort
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Maukie
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
KGW-TV
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
KOIN
Willamette Week
KATU
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB
Topix.net - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
KPTV
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

Music-Related
The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Seal
Sting
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, February 6, 2004

You are where you eat

It's time to come up for air from the technical tax stuff I've been slaving over and write about something much more important: restaurants in Portland.

It came as quite a surprise when the owners abruptly pulled the plug on the groovy Cafe Azul down in the Pearl District a couple of weeks ago. This was a hap'nin' place that served up fine "Mexican" food that reflected a lot more than the usual burrito/taco sensibility. At one point Gourmet magazine had it in its top 50 restaurants in the country.

I ate there a couple of times, on business. I was impressed.

So why shut the doors? The owners were pretty vague. But the sorry state of the economy around here couldn't have been helping business much. The same Oregonian story that told of Azul's demise also pointed out that Cafe des Amis, Couvron and Tapeo -- three other high-end eateries, two in Northwest Portland and one in Goose Hollow -- have bitten the dust recently as well.

I had a couple of nice meals at Cafe des Amis, again on business. And the Mrs. and I actually treated ourselves to dinner at Couvron on our own dime one time. It was very good, but ouch! The bill!

It's ironic to me that while the restaurant scene reflects the relative lack of big bankrolls in our community, we keep subsidizing the construction of high-rise "luxury ghettoes." Who's living in these things? They look half-empty to me. And who's going to live in the new ones now being built? Not only are these beasts ugly, but they don't appear to be very timely. More of the wretched civic failure of Stumptown?

Meanwhile, over here on the Idaho side of the river, a new burrito joint has risen from the ashes of the old Skipper's restaurant at NE Weidler and Seventh. The demolition of the Skipper's building was sad for me, because I always enjoyed driving by it and noting that it was the scariest-looking place of public accommodation still left standing in town.

But the new place is o.k. It's called Chipotle, and it's the first Pacific Northwest entry for a glitzy chain. They've got a disarmingly stark, basic burrito menu, and the first one I had, yesterday, was pretty good. The tortilla was slightly rubbery, just as I like it, and the fajita chicken and rice stuffed inside was pretty nice. The medium salsa had plenty of zip.

On the downside, the price was high -- $6.25 for a burrito and a small Sprite -- and the geography of the place is odd. You order on one side of the building, and eat on the other, completely out of the view of the restaurant crew. That seems like a recipe for trouble, particularly when their beer/wine license comes through, but it's what they decided to do with a very skinny building on a small lot.

The other drawback is the noise. The decor is wood, metal and glass -- reminiscent of an old Macheesmo Mouse or Pollo Rey outlet -- and the salsa music on the stereo is just a notch too loud. Even at a slow time in late afternoon, the workers (bright and friendly enough) were shouting at each other over the din, and it was hard to hear yourself think.

It ain't Cafe Azul, but it will do for a workday.

Finally on the culinary scene, the hippies down in southeast Portland are marching around with protest signs in front of the Starbucks that's being built at SE 21st and Division. I think they're being a little silly. I agree with them that big corporate chains are essentially evil, and that it would have been nice to have a locally owned, organic enterprise move into that space. But here in America, money talks, and in all the years that corner has stood as a bombed-out, abandoned meat packing facility, no viable local business appears to have knocked on the landlord's door. So a Starbucks it is going to be.

It could be a lot worse. The neighbors could have awoken one morning (as we did several years ago in our old southeast neighborhood) to discover that a locally owned private company had very, very quietly moved in a methadone clinic over the holidays, and that there were now 300-plus "recovering" (most of them were) heroin addicts showing up between 5 and 11 a.m. six mornings a week to chug the synthetic opiate that theoretically kept them off smack. Some of the "patients" would come staggering out of that place, jump into their cars, and weave off into the rush hour traffic. A few others would stroll right over to the convenience store for a 40-ounce malt liquor to wash the joy juice down with. One guy even started camping out on neighbors' front steps after he got his dose -- 'til it kicked in, I guess. All of this was installed two blocks from our house, with absolutely no notice or process for the neighbors. We all felt bad for the patients, but we never got over our anger at the local owners.

A group of us picketed for around six months, but then I moved away from there. I'll never forget the mornings we stood outside the place with our protest signs, in the dark and the rain. More than once we said to each other: "Why couldn't Bill Bitar (the landlord) have leased this space out to a Starbucks?"

Many people villified us for protesting. We were even named "Rogue of the Week" in Willamette Week. I was quoted there as the head rogue. The reporter talked to me for 45 minutes, then printed one sentence from me out of context to make me look bad. I hope there's a special level of the inferno for people like her.

In contrast, the people parading around in front of the Starbucks site now will probably pass for heroes in some of our local press.

Ah, well. That's Portland.

Comments (9)

I'm with you whole-heartedly on this one Bojack. I see these people protesting the entry of Starbucks as trying to enforce their own conformity of "get your coffee from Red & Black and from no where else." The Ugly Mug located just two blocks away from the Starbucks on 13th and Tacoma is a perfect example of the coexistence of cafes.

I'm sure that some of these same folks were the ones that actually protested the coming of locally-owned, wonderfully-run New Seasons into the same area. When the local grocery store Red Apple went under, the block stood empty and vacant and New Seasons saw the opportunity.

Did you notice that the italian restaurant that moved into Rustica's old spot only lasted a few short weeks? That was quick...

And I almost stopped by Chipotle yesterday out of curiosity, but balked at the line out the door. Cha Cha Cha up the street (26th and Broadway) sounds like a much better alternative, and for less money too.

I'll leave the zoning talk to those who know something about it. But on the food thing...

First of all, McDonalds owns 90% of Chipotle:

http://www.hoovers.com/chipotle/--ID__106335--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml

...so keep that in mind when you're choosing who is serving up your beans and rice. The website might be cute and "flashy", but remember who is pulling the strings on the puppet. Although they can't offer up beer and margaritas the taquerias on NE Alberta Street likely put (Mc)Chipotle to shame.

Second, all eateries walk a very thin line between making money and closing their doors. Most of those owners would likely say that they are in the business first because they love it and second because they can break even…making any money is a pleasant surprise. No one except maybe Wolfgang Puck gets rich cooking food. So maybe the owners of those places got tired of pinching every last penny.

It's a shame that unique places like Cafe Azul have to shut their doors. But there is an overpopulation problem with mid-to-upper range eateries in this town. Someone has to fall by the way side. I just hope that it isn’t at the hands of wolves like McDonalds.

To be fair, part of the consternation down at 7 Corners is over the repeated assurances from the property owner than a Starbucks are not being considered. It I had gotten screwed over by someone who obviously didn't care what he heard from or what he told to me and my neighbors, I'd be in for a little payback myself.

That said, I find it far more important that we are in the presence of an actual and authentic WW Rogue of the Week. I had no idea. You should put up a big sticker on your site somewhere.

That's right, son. Long before there was blogging, I was branded an a*shole for my public stances on local issues. 8c)

Keep being an a*shole. You're a smart a*shole, a good a*shole, an a*shole for our side.

And not too many a*sholes realize Einstein was right about relativitity, even about Starbucks locations.

Jill Blevins' comment made me think of this song by comedian Dennis Leary:
http://lyricsheaven.topcities.com/survey_d_k_bestanden/Dennis_Leary.htm

I can almost picture you singing this Bojack :)

Although you didn't mention the "luxury streetcar toy" in this article, you did attack the "condo ghetto" it serves. I wonder if you will be commenting on today's riposte regarding the Streetcar found in the Oregonian's comment section?


Sponsors


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
GascĂłn, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


Clicky Web Analytics