3 Things You Must Eat in Portland This March

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

By Karen Brooks March 2, 2015 Published in the March 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Spinach, bacon and egg personal pizza from Apizza Scholls.

Image: Karen Brooks

The Find

Apizza Scholls never makes it easy, but always makes it good. Not surprisingly, when the pizza shop—known for nighttime lines, dough rationing, and muscular, char-intensive pies—quietly opened for weekend lunch recently, it still looked closed. Venture in for midday surprises: new, 11-inch “personal” pies (try the peppery spinach, bacon, and egg or the crackling meatball-onion), a fine $5 Caesar salad and—what?—smiles from the famously gruff staff. 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd 

Image: Karen Brooks

Only in Portland

Things I found on my last visit to See See Motor Coffee Co: a Bullitt helmet collaged in feathers (part of a never-ending art exhibit), the revved-up music of Cycle Psychos (part of a motorcycle album cover display), and a covet-worthy 1950s horsehide bomber jacket (for sale at a rack near my table, and steps away from an espresso machine airbrushed in psychedelic wizard art). Go ahead and stare at Probast roasters at other cafés around town, if you like. I’ll take my Stumptown coffee with a shot of Sons of Anarchy. 1642 NE Sandy Blvd

Mackerel. miso, house aged soy, and pickled Japanese ginger buds from Nogoduro.

Image: Karen Brooks

The Obsession

At Portland’s next-generation sushi temple, there will be no hushed reverence. At least that’s the plan for Nodoguro’s terrific new Sunday “Hardcore Omakase” night. It’s a weekly trust-the-chef menu of freestyle sushi and snacks—and, suddenly, the city’s hottest reservation. At their Japanese pop-up turned weekend tasting-menu restaurant on SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Ryan Roadhouse (PoMo’s Rising Star Chef 2014) and his wife, Elena, have rebooted the sushi bar with boom-box music and dinner-party chatter around a big counter. At the center of the action: a stash of wild fish from Japan’s famed Tsukiji and Fukuoka municipal markets, picked up hours earlier at the airport, as well as smart sake pairings from Roadhouse’s wine-nerd friend Paul Willenberg. A recent evening pinged from wild horse mackerel creatively etched in butterscotchy miso, house-aged soy, and pickled Japanese ginger buds (pictured above) to “sesame-cured” trout draped like an Armani suit over sushi rice and outrageously creamy blobs of uni. So far, it’s the dinner of 2015. 3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd

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