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Pelmeni at Kachka 

Image: Allison Jones

1. Nibble pelmeni at Kachka

These teeny boiled dumplings, nearly bursting with spiced beef, pork, and veal, are similar to Italian tortellini. Kachka’s Bonnie Morales uses a special mold called a pelmenitsa to craft 8,500+ per week.

2. Wake up to Grandpa’s Fried Chicken at Interurban

The North Mississippi bar lures weekend brunchers with a salty smoked-fried half game hen perched on a toasty house biscuit. Slather it all in tangy jalepeño butter and coffee-bourbon-brown sugar syrup. Cheers, indeed. interurbanpdx.com 

3. Slice into a budget pie at Life of Pie

If you can find a better deal on tasty, wood-fired, fresh-basiled margarita pizza in this town than at Life of Pie’s happy hour, then please let us know. Because at $5 for the pizza and $3 for the beer, Life of Pie is a downright steal. Get there circa 5:30 though, to guarantee a seat—there’s a reason this place is packed to the gills by 6.

4. Slurp speedy pasta at Grassa

Downtown’s Grassa aims for mass-industrial chic, and its aglio olio is indeed made perfectly, every time: a vintage Vespa of a dish, cobbled from pasta, oil, garlic, chile flake, Grana Padano, bread crumbs. You could build it yourself, but could you tune its growl like Grassa does? 

5. Sip “Ties That Bind” Hot Buttered Rum at the Box Social

My first-ever hot buttered rum was this sweet, decadent mingle of brown sugar, vanilla ice cream, salted butter, molasses, and spice swirled in stiff, butterscotchy Austrian Stroh 80 rum and topped with whipped cream. And it still delivers. It’s the alcoholic madeleine I will be chasing all year round.

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