ONE TO WATCH
Steve Jones lives to share his latest cheese finds—the American farmhouse beauty, the insider artisan wheel, an oddball delight from a local or global up-and-comer. Now, the owner of Southeast Portland’s top-notch Cheese Bar has masterminded Chizu, a sushi-counter experience that makes cheese, not fish, the object of worship. Sit at the counter, where Jones’s changing collection of chizu (Japanese for “cheese”) gleams from glass boxes, 30 options daily ($3–6 each), served by the slice and accessorized with toasted bread and little surprises like fresh-made wasabi hazelnuts. Grab a beer or a sake, and add charcuterie if you like. To get in the spirit, name your price and order the omakase, or “chef’s choice,” then watch a true fromage poet create a dream cheese plate to match. As Jones so aptly puts it: “I love when people say, ‘Here’s $40, let’s rock ’n’ roll.’” Indeed.
1126 SW Alder St, chizubar.com
Chocolate explorer David Briggs has combined the DNA of a chocolate truffle, a Reese’s cup, and a coastal salt flat into a thin, pocket-size square of elegant cacao. His Peanut Butter bar is the show-stopper in Xocolatl de David’s new line of Truffle Bars—decadent bites that arrive in a rush of cream and then melt on impact. Like all of Briggs’s creations, they jump with pure, concentrated flavors: Coconut Lemongrass is a direct flight to a Vietnamese beach, while the nuanced, hibiscus-perfumed Rose Hips & Berries tastes like a bright, chocolate-covered U-pick patch.