ONE TO WATCH
God bless Portland. Where else can you migrate from the East Coast with no name recognition, launch a Vietnamese pop-up in a pizza shop with dorky art, and still have a 45-minute wait on opening night? That’s Dôi Dua, now cooking, first come, first served, Tuesday and Wednesday nights inside Hogan’s Goat Pizza. In April, the party expands to Langbaan on Mondays. It’s the brainstorm of Anna Vocaturo, fresh from the cooking line at Washington, DC’s Americana hot spot Rose’s Luxury, and partner Sarah Bui, who riffs on regional Vietnamese snacks and family recipes to “redefine Vietnamese cooking” with composed plates and fresh, light flavors.
So far, the dream is alive but a bit blurry. The first hit is bahn hoi, a mountain of leafy lettuce to bundle around chewy vermicelli “mats,” garlic chunks, delicate strips of pork belly, mint, and cilantro. Other dishes are missing a spare part or two: instead of redefinition, classic crab and tomato bun rieu soup tastes like a Vietnamese can of Campbell’s. Dôi Dua needs a little more time, confidence, and cowbell. We’ll be back, if just for the spunky spirit of it all, not to mention chocolate cake that tastes like heavenly coffee candy.
“Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude.” And sometimes there’s a drink that simply, supremely is. And that’s the Nihilist, Fireside bartender Chauncey Roach’s extraordinary homage to The Big Lebowski. Would the lord of the White Russian dig this hedonistic shake of house-made pecan milk, pecan-infused Wild Turkey, and candied, booze-soaked pecan? Says Roach of his movie hero: “Totally!”
801 NW 23rd Ave