June 2013


I Must Have Missed That One 

On some outing in NW Portland a few years ago (maybe I was going to Le Happy for crepes?) I had occasion to park outside the former location of Oddball Shoes on NW Marshall (they are now at 18th and NW Thurman, most likely a spot with more visibility).IMG_3605 Although I have big honkin’ feet for a woman, I don’t tend to shop at shoe stores which specialize in shoes for big footed men (although you know what they say about those fellers. Maybe I should hang around those places more often). Anyway, although the shop looked as adorable as possible (really) what totally intrigued me was this beautiful little brick building hidden away in the industrial wasteland known as almost below the Fremont Bridge ramps (and/or Slabtown).

I guess I’m not the only person who loved the look of this building, because I read an interview with The Bent Brick’s owner, Scott Dolich, who mentioned that each day he would drive by the Oddball Shoes building on his way to his original Portland restaurant, Park Kitchen, and think how he would like to own this building. Eventually he talked to the Oddball Shoes folks, and as soon as they decided to move, he snatched up this lovely ivy covered address.

Originally the plan at The Bent Brick was to be bar with fancy little noshes, and quite ambitiously to feature only domestic alcohol (I forgot all about this until Glenda tried to order a Scotch. IMG_3607Luckily summer is here, so she easily switched to a locally grown Aviation Gin and Tonic). Because of this, The Bent Brick has no bottles of wine to order, but if you bring in your own empty, or pay $1 for their empty bottle, they will fill up a bottle with a locally produced wine for you to take home or if you want to drink it on the premises  it comes in a carafe thingee. I’m sure this policy of no non-regional  liquor irritates many people who think they are coming into a normal bar, but we have so many great wineries, brewers, and distilleries now, it seems like a really noble concept to me, although probably much work for The Bent Brick liquor purveyor. (more…)


Thai Treats From The Concrete Bunker

IMG_3560When I first heard of a new Thai Restaurant called PaaDee, I assumed it was one of those tacky play on English words that often form the name of local Thai restaurants (the worst I ever saw was Thai Beer. This was a strip mall restaurant in someplace like Salem. I guess they wanted to combine two items that are really popular here. So what if it makes no sense). Yes, I can imagine it now, PaaDee all night long! Thankfully, it turns out PaaDee has an actual Thai meaning, which is “to bring good things”. That makes me feel a bit better, although each time I mention PaaDee people always say “what, where?” because they are thinking I am mumbling PARTY!!!!!!

PaaDee is situated in that “love it/hate it” modern building at the corner of 28th and E. Burnside, where the Hungry i Tiger restaurant existed for many, many years. IMG_3559Normally I get totally tweaked and bent out of shape when they plow-down those older buildings for these new concrete condo things, but to be honest, all of the buildings on this corner were pretty skanky, and it didn’t seem the tragedy it usually does. Do I like the replacement building? Hardly. Things like this hulking behemoth do not belong in beautiful Laurelhurst, and now they have put another one up across the street about two blocks down on Burnside. Why does our city keep allowing this? That being said, many of the ground floor restaurants that are going into these urban eyesores are good places that fit in these modern concrete settings, and PaaDee is a good example of that. The inside of PaaDee can certainly be described as somewhat bunker-like, but it’s still got a good vibe, with big windows, banners, wooden birdcage lighting, and terrariums throughout. Also, owner Earl Ninsom seems to have good taste in music, so when you hear bands like Radiohead coming through the speakers, a group who is constantly changing into something even more modern sounding it’s barely music, your first thought is, hey, that really fits with the setting. (more…)