OH MY ROW: For the past several weeks, Southeast's venerable Produce Row, aka "The Row," has been closed and undergone extensive renovations, both inside and out. A newly built mahogany bar and extensive custom woodwork, cushy booths, a charming, spacious patio and interesting furniture and fixtures from the world over have been added to the once lowly Row.
In a nutshell, this is not your father's Pro-Row.
On Friday, June 11th, new owner Alan Davis hosted a media event, from 5 - 8pm, that included a peek at the new space and menu. Now how the good folks of Portland, who have called this place their "home" for several decades, will take to the major make-over is still to be sussed out, but for now, it was nice to see what Davis had done with the space. It was also nice to see old friends like food-writer Joan Cirillo (fresh from not one, but two, visits to the Obama White House), Connie Wohn, Lizzy Caston and Alan's big bro, Blake Davis (Alan is pictured above, left, with IACP host/food-scribe Mike Thelin and an unidentified guest).
THIS JUST IN: Saturday Night Live funny man Fred Armisen is in Portland. He was spotted last night at Holocene for the ping pong tournament to send Kaia Wilson (Team Dresch) to the Gay Games. My source said he seemed to be cheering on Janet Weiss & Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney (the winners of the event). Anybody else see the dude, or his lovely wife from Mad Men?
BEEF & CAKE: On Thursday night "The Country Natural Beef & Friends Country Food Fair" turned downtown Portland's very urban Director Park into a bit of a country-fied corral complete with lasso-laden lil' pardners, square-dancing guys and gals and more ranchers in cowboy hats than you might find at a rodeo.
The cowboy'ing ranchers are part of Country Natural Beef –a pioneering, Oregon-founded natural beef cooperative that has been a part of the Oregon landscape since 1986. Country Natural Beef is unique because all ranches are certified sustainable by the Food Alliance for their commitment to humane animal treatment and sustainable agricultural practices.
And this was their first party of this kind, with the cow-pokin' ranchers coming to the big city to say thanks to their loyal Oregon and Southwest Washington customers.
The family-focused fair featured cowboy farm fare including cowboy poetry, a story-telling circle, roping tricks and lessons, a stick horse rodeo for children, a barn dance and more.
Additionally, there was a city-sized cookout with Country Natural Beef partners Burgerville, New Seasons, Whole Foods Market, Bon Appétit, Fulton Provision and Food Alliance, featuring – of course – all natural, vegetarian fed, antibiotic and hormone-free Country Natural Beef.
And here's a little known fact about the co-op: In February 2010, Dr. Temple Grandin, a well-known animal behaviorist and professor at Colorado State University who was recently profiled in an HBO movie starring Clare Daines, endorsed Country Natural Beef’s “Raise Well” animal welfare standards. Dr. Grandin worked with Country Natural Beef over the past year to help the cooperative’s ranch families write their new animal welfare standards.
STUFFY STUFF: I sort of stumbled into a very cool event last night. "Film Stuff for Stuff The Film" was an auction held at The Ace Cleaners to benefit "Stuff," a film by Lawrence Johnson. Actually, I really did know what or where I was at for a few minutes. I just saw a lot of really cool people through the window including director James Westby, actress Katie O'Grady, actor Todd Robinson (above with Westby), Meet Jane Doe director Jacqueline Gault, comic genuises Courtenay Hameister and John Breen and OPB personality KC Cowan. It was a very cool party.
Posted the following yesterday over at Eater PDX. For my site I've added an extra quote from Alicia Rose at the end.
Mississippi Studios partners Jim Brunberg and Alicia J. Rose have inked a new partnership with Portland entrepreneurs Peter Bro (Aalto, Broder, Savoy), Tali Ovadia (The Whole Bowl) and Kevin Cradock to enable an expansion into the former Mississippi Station space and the neighboring patio lot — just in time for summer. The new space, called Bar Bar, is said to have some sort of "cocktail lounge meets chemistry lab" vibe.
Bar Bar's grand opening, set for July 10, is the same day as the Mississippi Street Fair, with July 11 being the kick-off date for an outdoor patio concert series "Mississippi Summer Sessions" that's free to the public and will feature local artists (lineup TBA).
"Are we excited - HELLS YES," says Rose. "The former Mississippi Station space and the empty patio lot next door have been underutilized for years, and we look forward to incorporating them both into what will soon be an amazing entertainment compound like nothing North Portland has ever seen. Amongst other major stylistic renovations to the space, we will be creating a pass through archway between Mississippi Studios and Bar Bar to connect them permanently, a new green room for artists, stunning second floor private event space, the introduction of a spanky new cocktail menu, and a classic burger and biscuit based lunch-dinner-late-night-weekend brunch food menu menu that promises to rock the neighborhood...Viva la Mississippi!"