The Dining Report – Mextiza

What do you mean, NORTH Killingsworth?


A long time ago (practically when people rode dinosaurs to college) when I was getting my degree at the University of Portland, I drove to school each day down Killingsworth to Willamette, basically from beginning to end, as I think it begins somewhere around 82nd, and ends close to “the bluff.”IMG_2623 Back then, before the double-edged sword of inner NE gentifrication was even thought about, Killingsworth was not a particularly nice street, and sometimes there were rather scary looking things along the way, especially in the approximate area of the PCC Cascade campus. Mainly my plan was just to get to good old Willamette Blvd., and not really make any stops or look around a ton, and back then, there weren’t too many blossoming businesses to see, anyway. In more modern times, the only reason I had to go back and check out Killingsworth was when Roux opened, that nice New Orleans style restaurant that the owner lost interest in, and closed a few years back, finally reappearing with Violette, in the park across from Fox Tower (I’m never sure what that place is called, is it Director’s Park?) I liked Roux a lot, but the only thing I remember about its environs on Killingsworth was how quiet the street seemed there, very residential (And yes Michael, I think you are right, that Roux was a long way west, maybe around Jessup.)

Of course over the last few years, Killingsworth has exploded like all those other formerly “gritty” inner NE streets, Mississippi, Alberta, Williams. Now you’ve got New Seasons, Hot Lips, Cocotte, Beast, Yakuza, Autentica, and Podnah’s, all within a 20 block range. All of these businesses are on or around NE Killingsworth, which it turns out is not anywhere near N. Killingsworth, as I unfortunately learned at our last dinner, as did three of my co-diners. It turns out Mextiza is on N. Killingsworth (yes, just as the address actually said.) Of course I know the difference between NW and NE Portland, there’s that big river thingee in the middle to help me out. But it turns out I don’t know the difference between inner NE Portland and North Portland (by the way, there’s also SE and SW Portland, but is there a corresponding S. Portland? I think not.) Burnside, East and West, now there’s a street that makes it easy to figure out if you are North or South, but what exactly divides NE and N. Portland? Is it the freeway? Is it Interstate? (If so, wouldn’t Interstreet be more appropriate?)