Food Lover's Guide to Portland

The Food Lover's Guide to Destination Markets

For these food impresarios, grocery shopping isn’t just business. It’s personal.

By Karen Brooks With Benjamin Tepler August 23, 2012 Published in the September 2012 issue of Portland Monthly


Small-village Italy comes to Portland at John Taboada’s neighborhood market/restaurant, Luce.

Image: Michael Novak

Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine

10610 SE Main St, Milwaukie

The jocular, apple-cheeked face is familiar, and so are the smells of beef stock. But everything else has changed for veteran chef Pascal Sauton, formerly of Carafe. Earlier this year, Portland’s dean of French country cuisine reinvented himself amid 2,500 feet of gleaming deli cases and industrial shelves, with two cushy couches and one elegantly candled communal table in the foodie desert of Main Street Milwaukie. In this mix of Northwest and free-style, shoppers can snack on pleasures gleaned from the Milwaukie Farmers Market, riffle through small but choice European imports, land a bull’s-eye French burgundy, or hone their own kitchen skills in a cooking class. Sauton even greets customers at the shelves in his white chef’s jacket. That’s customer service. 

The Woodsman Market (Now Closed)

4529 SE Division St

On fast-growing SE Division Street, across from a tiny house hosting a food cart in the driveway, an ingeniously stocked micro-market epitomizes Portland’s emerging food wave—a general store curated as art exhibit. Step inside to champagne crates, old-school coolers, and street-side windowsills framing a food world personally selected by owner Duane Sorenson, whose Stumptown Coffee Roasters empire was born next door in 1999. You’ll find things you need, but more often, things you want: sensuous gin-grapefruit marmalade or bags of McClure’s thick, wavy chips soaked in pickle juice. The freewheeling inventory embraces fine sausages and hams, well-chosen cheeses, hard-to-find nuts, a bounty from local purveyors, and artisan intrigues from the other Portlandia (Brooklyn, NY). Bottom line: If it’s worthy of Sorenson’s home kitchen or the Woodsman Tavern next door, it’s here. That includes the Heinz 57 Beans.  


2138–2140 E Burnside St

At Luce, ultra-locavore owner John Taboada brings small-town Italy to E Burnside Street. His retail shelves act as a pantry for the restaurant’s rustic Italian menu, stocked with classic old-world wines, huge crystals of Sicilian sea salt, and tiny sacks of fennel pollen. Co-owner and boutique savant Giovanna Parolari brings an eye for extraordinary kitchenwares and comestibles, scavenging beautiful oak charcuterie boards, hand-tooled crumb sweepers, and buckwheat and goat’s milk caramels from trips across Europe. Stock your kitchen to impress, or assemble your own delectable Little Italy picnic with a bottle of chinato (a sweetly bitter digestif) and a few boxes of pre-made antipasti, like broccoli with garlic and anchovy or farro and Parmesan pie, sold by the pound. 


Multiple Locations

After almost 30 years of evolving and expanding within Portland’s culinary community, the de Garmo family still holds top rank, running one of the greatest gourmet specialty stores in the city. The shelves at Pastaworks seesaw between items from Oregon’s best local purveyors and hard-to-find European specialties, all with a Mediterranean flair. House-made sheets of pasta are sliced to order in four different widths, ravioli are stuffed with seasonal flavors like asparagus and porcini mushrooms, and sauces—from tangy romesco to hearty all’amatriciana (red sauce with pork cheek)—are made fresh every day. At the Hawthorne location, you’ll often see Evoe chef Kevin Gibson running in from his tiny adjacent kitchen to nab some fresh persimmons or a fistful of morels from the hyper-local produce aisle before making a mad dash back for a little more gustatory alchemy.  

Filed under
Show Comments