Four Fine Weekend To-Dos

While weekends all too often degenerate into frantic pinballing between sports games, birthday parties, and trips to Ikea, they’re also prime time for new food finds. This weekend Portland has plenty to offer in the way of edible entertainment–Italian wine dinners, Chowder-Offs, new Montavilla sweet spots, and a romantic night at the theater topped off with a nightcap of Hennessy and handcuffs.
the39steps1. Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps debuted this week at Portland Center Stage, an energetic theatrical rendition of this classic cloak and dagger tale of mistaken identity and a handsome hero on the run. As a nod to the predicament the leading man Richard Hannay finds himself in when he’s handcuffed to a dangerous vixen, patrons are being offered the Handcuffed for Half Price promotion. Show up handcuffed to your date and get your show tickets half off. Since dinner & drinks and the theater go together like vanilla ice cream and brandy, which is rumored to have been Alfred Hitchcock’s breakfast of choice, here’s a link to Under The Table With Jen’s Pre-Theater dinner and Nightcap suggestions. Nearby Pearl District swank-spots Ten 01 and Fenouil have new chefs, so curious foodies might want to pop in before or after the show.

podere2. Maybe you missed our  Table For Twelve supper club gathering this week, but fear not, for not only is there a sucker born every minute, there’s pretty much a supper club opportunity born every minute in Portland too. This Saturday night join fellow oenophiles and Italophiles at Olympic Provisions for their Podere Ruggeri Corsini wine dinner. The small family-owned Italian winery is known for their Barbera d’Alba, Barolo, and Nebbiolo, which is exactly what you’ll be served along with a menu of bagna cauda and cured meats, radicchio and blue cheese salad with roasted grape vinaigrette, cannelloni with chicken liver ragu, and bollito misto. The dinner is $65 per person, starts at 7 pm, and is filling up fast, what with OP being written up right and left in everything from MIX magazine to Forbes. Call 503.954.3663 to reserve your spot. On Sunday, check out Nostrana’s “Sundays in Italy” supper, a collaboration with neighboring Garrison’s Fine Wines.

metrovinochowder23. There’s a distinct possibility that I would sell my soul for a truly divine bowl of clam chowder. I love chowder. With a passionate passion. So it’s excellent news that Lompoc Brewing is expanding their annual Chowder Challenge into a two-day event and dubbing it SEAFOODPALOOZA. Kicking off at 5th Quadrant on North Williams on Friday at 6pm, with a rollicking Cajun band and all-you-can-eat shrimp boil ($12), the fishy good times continue Saturday at noon when a dozen local brewpubs and restaurants battle it out at the 4th Annual Chowder Challenge for the chance at winning the CHOWDER CUP. (Please tell me you almost peed your pants with excitement reading that, and I’ll know we’re kindred spirits.) Admission is free and anybody can be a judge–for $10 you get a tray of samples from all contenders, and a chance to be the Simon Cowell of chowder-judging, except perhaps without the accent and bile.

faircake4. Been to Montavilla lately?  This fun, feisty little Southeast neighborhood is shaping up to be quite the culinary destination, and you could easily spend an entire day eating your way down SE Stark. Start with Whiskey Custard Challah French Toast at comfort food fortress Country Cat‘s belly-busting brunch, shop for exotic rice and Turkish delight at International Food Supply, sip Sazeracs and Sans Nickers at Vintage Cocktail Lounge, hoop it up with $3 well drinks and ginger sake mussels at The Observatory‘s Happy Hour (3-6pm daily), and this weekend check out the two newcomers on the block–nibble fairycake and lemon tarts at newly opened Pastrygirl Bakery, and on Saturday, slip into the soft opening of Immortal Pie and Larder from 11am-7pm and sample their sweet and savory pies and international specialty goods.