The Quarterly Report

fricepastrycoconuttartEveryone is always talking about their quarterly reports, so I figured that Under The Table should have one too, except less boring and more delicious.

Thusly, as March nears its finish, I’ve compiled a roundup of 14 tasty new Portland face-stuffing destinations that have opened in the last fiscal quarter, give or take. Run some calculations on how much lunch hour you have today, check the figures in your salad/tamale/cake/martini fund, and go out and make some edible expenditures with your revenue. Or something like that.

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angelfacecollageAngel Face

14 NE 28th Ave. * 503.239.3804 * Sun-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-1am

A sultry French mistress for neighboring Navarre restaurant, John Taboada’s beautiful bar is a sexy spot for late night lingering when making the 28th Avenue Restaurant Row rounds. The wine list is short and sweet, the spirits list long and serious, and don’t bother asking for a cocktail menu, in the interest of maintaining Portland quirk credentials, there isn’t one, you just tell ace bartenders Kelley Swenson or Tim Davey your drinking whim and they’ll concoct something on the spot. Bites are simple and elegant–start with raw oysters, nibble a flawless salad Niçoise, and savor the egg meurette, a poached egg swimming in the richest of red wine sauces.

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americanlocalcocktailThe American Local

3003 SE Division St. • 503.954.2687 • Tue-Sat 5:30-10pm, Sun 5:30-9pm

Chef Chris Whaley and front of the house gal Jenny Nickolaus’s izakaya-inspired Division Street dining hall dishes an eclectic menu in a fun, energetic, comfortably casual atmosphere where you just may find yourself sharing your honey-drizzled bacon beignets with your new friends at the communal table (we did). Lots of shared small plates is the way to go here, and there are so many tempting choices, like barbecued Netarts Bay oysters, crispy grit cakes heaped with salmon tartare, a spunky watermelon radish salad with black garlic, and skewers of octopus blanketed in harissa. Sip everything from local pale ale and organic sake to craft cocktails, and please don’t leave without downing the banana pudding parfait.

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cheeseandcracktraysquareCheese & Crack

22 SE 28th Ave. * 503.206.7315 * Wed-Sun 8am-8pm

If you’re seeking a serious relationship with some deep-thinking cheese, you spend a few hours in Cheese Bar or Cyril’s, but if you just want a quick fun fling with a flirty Brie or fromage blanc, stop by Cheese & Crack’s new SE 28th Avenue snack shop, the brick and mortar stand-in for what was possibly the cutest food cart in Portland. You can’t help but be attracted to the creatively-assembled cheese trays dotted with a duet of cheeses, or cheese and salami, or cheese and sardine pâté, flanked by a few slices of fresh baguette, a stack of homemade butter crackers and savory oatmeal cookies, and measuring spoons repurposed as Castelvetrano olive, cornichon, Dijon, honey, marionberry jam, apple butter and chocolate ganache holders. The kitchen also rustles up a handful of interesting snacks like the potato chip and pickled lentil nachos, mac ‘n mornay, and Cheese & Crack sundae with cinnamon butter cracker crumble, plus coffee, breakfast bites, and a thoughtful selection of beer and wine to round out your rendezvous.

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fricepastryinteriorFrice Pastry + Phillipe’s Bread

4082 N. Williams Ave. * 503.841.5373 * Daily 7am-7pm

If post-New Seasons opening, your final gripe about the culinary state of affairs on N. Williams was that it was missing a great bakery, behold this divinely doughy new superduo—Frice Pastry, helmed by St. Jack pastry chef Alissa Frice, and Philippe’s Bread, helmed by French-born baker Philippe Garcia, which together equal Jen’s Dream. Sharing the building with new Lardo III, the light-filled space houses a shiny glass case protecting colorful rows of Frice’s caneles, sables, matcha yuzu chiboust, and caramelized apple bavarians from soon-to-be sticky fingers, and a full lineup of Garcia’s sublime breads—try the olive thyme loaf.

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gardenbarsaladbarGarden Bar Salad Company

25 NW 11th Ave. • 971.888.5263 • Daily 11am-7pm

Greens reign supreme at this tiny new tenant of the former Morso space just across from Powell’s Pearl District mothership, so if you had a little run-in last night with a double order of cronut bacon burgers or a bowl of deep-fried butter balls, you can eat your Hail Marys here in the guise of a Chicken Kale Caesar, Garden Chopped, quinoa and hemp seed stuffed Northwest Bowl, or a choose your own roughage medley, and wash it all down with a Portland Juice Press green juice, Brew Dr. kombucha or coconut water.

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mauricecollageMaurice

921 SW Oak St. • 503.224.9921 • Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Sat 10am-10pm

Posh restaurant pastry chef turned pastry luncheonette proprietress, Kristen Murray, has stepped in to save us all from a existence bereft of mango tarte tatin and cocoa puff palmiers by opening this sweet spot in downtown’s happening West End neighborhood. Armed with a pastry background and aesthetic so impressive that entire shelves of sugar bags bow and curtsy in unison as she glides down the grocery store dry goods aisle, Kristen conjures up stunning sweet somethings like currant and rosemary créme scones, lemon soufflé pudding cake, Lapsang Souchong chocolate pops, and her signature black pepper cheesecake, served alongside simple cocktails and fine wines on the heels of Maurice’s daytime “luncheonette” menu.

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nonnamenuNonna

5515 NE 30th Ave. • 503.894.9840 • Tue-Thu 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm

Just when you thought the intersection of NE Killingsworth & 30th couldn’t get any tastier, enter restaurateur Dayna McErlean’s lovely new Nonna, neighboring DOC’s casual counterpart, a chic but homey trattoria focusing on Italian-inspired small plates and good wine. Even if you swear you don’t like them, try the excellent Brussels sprouts with chile flake and lemon cream, then continue feasting on chef Jobie Bailey’s mussels, manicotti, and good old spaghetti with meatballs, then get a second bottle of Barbera d’Alba with your brown butter hazelnut cake, just like your Nonna would.

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pepelemokosparklyPépé le Moko

407 SW 10th Ave. • 503.546.8537 • Daily 4pm-2am

Nate Tilden’s seductive little bunker bar hidden deep in the Ace Hotel building’s catacombs is just the place for a cocktail and a bite to eat with your favorite night owl who isn’t claustrophobic. Choose from a half dozen of bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s top notch cocktails like the Hotel Nacional Special, Espresso Martini, and Grasshopper–essentially a Fernet milkshake with fresh mint, then explore the succinct menu of oysters, drinking snacks, and $5 bocadillos. Stuffed with everything from Olympic Provisions’ Chorizo Rioja and Mahón cheese, to sardines and pickled fennel, to Nutella and Jacobsen sea salt, they arrive warm, crispy, and wrapped in butcher paper, so you won’t drip on your best date night pants…although thanks to the sexytime lighting, nobody will notice if you do.

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tamaleboycollageTamale Boy

1764 NE Dekum St. * 503.206.8022 * Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 9am-3pm

Tamale caterer turned tamale cart turned tamale cantina, this super cute new Woodlawn resident charms with bright muraled walls, cold beer, mezcal-spiked hibiscus flower iced tea, melon mint margaritas, and mucho, mucho masa—the menu is divided into Oaxacan-style tamales, Norteño-style tamales, and dessert tamales dulce-fied with sweet peanut butter crunch masa and jam or strawberries and chocolate chips, all of which are handmade by owner Jaime Soltero’s very own tias. Note to $2 bill hoarders: if you need somewhere to offload them, this is it—mini versions of all tamales are $2, sweet tamales are $2, sides of frijoles puercos and esquites are $2, and the aguas frescas are $2, also making this the frugal grazer’s utopia.

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taquerianuevetacosTaqueria Nueve

727 SE Washington St. • 503.954.1987 • Tue-Sun 5-10pm

Those waiting years for much-loved Taqueria Nueve to play phoenix got their wish when Billy Schumaker and Brent Richford finally opened the doors to T9’s new incarnation in the former Beaker & Flask space. Pop in any night but Monday for ceviche, octopus coctel, crispy wild boar tacos, and duck confit tamales paired with plenty of $7 house margaritas.

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And last, but certainly not least, let us not forget that St. Jack‘s bigger, shinier digs in NW Portland debuted last month on V-Day, Bollywood Theater has opened a gorgeous second location on SE Division, PaaDee’s little sister spot Langbaan is now taking reservations for twice-nightly weekend tasting menus (email langbaanpdx@gmail.com or call 971.344.2564),  and for those reluctant to brave the Division construction quagmire to get their guisados fix, there’s now a Mi Mero Mole outpost right in Chinatown.

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That wraps up this edition of the Under The Table With Jen Quarterly Report. Hopefully it didn’t put you to sleep or cause you to dump any stock. If you’d like a downloadable version with very fun check-off bubbles, map and menu links, and a map so you can print it and paste in in all major life locations—refrigerator, car, office, wine cellar, chocolate closet—it’s available in the Wordcake store.