I have a penchant for large versions of everyday things (milk cartons, pink elephants (Seattle!), beer bottles, etc.), and so have always loved the Sunshine Dairy distribution center in NE Portland on NE 20th just south of I-84 crossover. There is a giant (formerly) rotating milk carton on their building. They have closed and the property will presumably be redeveloped (discussions of apartments and whatnot have been in the media, but nothing seems to be moving fast).
I am very concerned about my giant milk carton (we should make sure we save it!), but I am also delighted to see the building getting a number of murals. Since it’s just down the street from my favorite beetles (dung?) on the side of the Eutectic gallery, this seems great. Plus the building was getting random, uncreative tags. The murals still being created, but I’m already enjoying them!
I walk through the Lloyd neighborhood (also called a district) almost every day. And this is an interesting area in central Portland with so many intriguing opportunities. Similar to the surface parking lots in NW Portland around NW 21st and Savier that are all turning into buildings, there is a lot of unused or very underutilized land between NE 16th and the river and NE Irving and NE Broadway.
There was a period of time about four years ago (around 2015-16) that I thought the neighborhood was about to pop. And unlike parts of Portland where there is a lot of existing housing (affordable or otherwise), the neighborhood is a lot of surface parking lots and low commercial buildings.
The encouraging signs:
Hassalo & 7th apartment buildings (built! but still empty retail space)
Affordable housing at NE Holladay and Grand Ave. (being built!)
Convention Center area getting new buildings and renovation (underway)
Increased use and care for Holladay Park at the max station (happening, although we always seem to be a moment from backsliding — but the activities and maintenance are very nice)
Redevelopment of Lloyd Center mall (sort of happened, but there is a long way to go)
Entrance/staircase at 12th or so is built, but has some usability challenges
Nordstrom space turning into music venue (maybe still happening, but not a lot of action going on there)
Movie theater going into a pushed out Sears space and the addition of office space (maybe still happening?)
Possible continuing build-out of the Oregon blocks just to the south of the Hassalo development (stalled but one of the existing buildings did get renovated)
Apartment buildings in the parking lot of the Regal Cinemas movie theater at NE 16th & Multnomah (stalled and parking lot remains empty — could we do something fun with this space?)
Redevelopment of the land where the Regal Cinemas currently is located and the parking lots to the east of Sears space in Lloyd Center mall (stalled)
But things seem to have ground to a halt. So, what I want to ask, is what could this neighborhood be? What can we do right now to continue to use this space in the best way possible?
Just south of NE Multnomah on NE 21st, we have a lovely new coffeeshop with pizza(!). Hours have been slowly added (as far as I can tell), but they were open and serving pizza on Friday, April 19. Let’s support them!
Mussels and french fries and cocktails and wine and a burger and salads and a pasta dish and pure bliss.
La Moule is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. I learned to love mussels here — and try to restrain myself at other restaurants from ordering mussels because they rarely are as good.
The menu is relatively small, but I’ve never had a bad dish. The pasta changes with what’s available, and is a great option for folks who don’t care for seafood or meat. Even for those of us who do eat seafood, it’s sometimes hard to resist.
The wine and cocktails have always been a delight. If ordering a bottle of wine, I usually ask for a suggestion since they carry inexpensive wine that I’ve never heard of. That being said, I have a hard time resisting their cocktail menu. They can also make delightful low- to zero-proof drinks.
If I lived around the corner, I’d be eating at their back bar for happy hour meals far too often.
When you first enter at the corner, you enter into one of two main dining areas and can see into the bustling kitchen. To your left, there is another room with more seating and a delightful bar that takes drop-ins. As La Moule gets going for the evening, the noise levels escalate. Plan accordingly.
What I eat: green salad and split the classic Marinière mussels with a dining partner. Fries and all the sauces. Something tasty to drink.
Update: We have BBQ! I haven’t been yet, but while staring at the menu, a woman walking interjected that Miss Delta’s BBQ is delicious! Need to make a visit.
The Iconic Lounge on NE Broadway between NE 22 and 24th has closed. Signs are up promising BBQ from MD PDX and the mdpdx.com web address. No much info there yet, but curious what’s on the way.
Iconic never seemed to thrive (and had enough fails that some members of my family refused to go there). I always enjoyed the happy hours and projected movies, but I never went all that often. Rose and Thistle always won out.
I feel a little wild, saying that I have a favorite restaurant. There are so many wonderful ones in Portland and I love so many of them.
But I’m going to go out on a limb (for me) and state my favorite. I love Grain & Gristle the most. The space is small and cozy. The staff is friendly without being smarmy or condescending. There are no televisions. The drinks are great: house wine never disappoints, cocktails are scrumptious, and they serve my favorite local brewery (Upright Brewing — deserving of their own post).
The food is delicious. The burger is fabulous. The mussels slay me. The “two-fer” is a great and amazing deal. I love pickles.
I believe dessert is also great, but I’m usually too full to order any.
They are on my bus line: #8.
Grain & Gristle is in NE Portland at 15th & NE Prescott. You can make reservations on Open Table.
Well, 2015 received NO love from me on this website. Portland has been so over-hyped recently, I didn’t really have much motivation to fan the flames. But now we’re into 2016, when I guess we can have a clean start? I dunno.
In any case, 2016 shall receive at least as many posts as 2015.
I’m more than a third of the way through my Hale Pele rum tasting, so hopefully by next year, I’ll be down to the last third.
I’m going to stop eating dessert when I go out to dinner unless I didn’t actually eat much dinner. I’ve been getting uncomfortably full. If I want dessert, I will go out specifically to have dessert.