3 Things You Must Eat in Portland This October

Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks dishes on the restaurants, obsessions, and under-the-radar finds of the month.

By Karen Brooks September 26, 2014 Published in the October 2014 issue of Portland Monthly


Of course we have a bank that sniffs out small-batch local goodies for its “Friday Cookie Day,” ensuring we’re well-fed while depositing our paychecks. I first met Farina Bakery’s color-saturated French macarons at my NW 23rd Avenue branch of Umpqua Bank, and I’ve nibbled through its sweet collection, week by week. So far, vanilla bean is former Nuvrei baker Laura Farina’s money flavor, tasting like a chewy crème brûlée. But I’m also a sucker for the chocolate hazelnut macaron, essentially your minimum daily requirement of Nutella smooshed between chocolate meringues. Her goods already turn up at local coffee shops, but a Farina Bakery macaron HQ and pastry shop will open soon at 1852 SE Hawthorne Boulevard.


First, let’s be honest: Factotum Dining is a name only Charles Bukowski could love. But cover your ears and open your mouth, because this off-the-radar pop-up is delivering high-end cuisine good enough to raise a Michelin inspector’s eyebrows. As they search for a brick-and-mortar space, Portland newcomers Jon Tancinco and Patrick Mannion (who trained at New York’s Eleven Madison Park and Chicago’s Alinea) host roving monthly dinners that hint at their dream: fine dining sans stuffiness. During recent dinners at Ración and Ataula, the pair chatted about wine finds and shared foodie secrets. Diners forked into elegantly modern food that is intelligent, precise, and playful—sweet corn ravioli beneath frizzled corn silk or foie gras counterpunched with little screeches of pineapple, lime, and basil. The only hiccup so far: finding these Luddites. Try Facebook, search “Factotum Dining,” or e-mail [email protected] and wait for details on upcoming dinners. 


Coava Coffee delivers painstakingly sourced coffee beans, flawless drinks that taste like liquid commitment, a literary blog, and even a collaboration with a local soap company—because who doesn’t like the idea of bathing in single-origin coffee? Only one thing has been missing from the PDX coffee scene, and Coava’s figured that out, too: a fireplace. A toasty hearth now flickers in back of the roaster’s second shop on SE Hawthorne Boulevard as you sip a meticulous mocha whisked with good Cocanú chocolate. Coava’s cozy couch ought to be the hottest seat in town this winter. 

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