Have a couple hours — or better yet, the better part of a day — to kill?
Few streets these days offer more bang-alicious bites and diversions than this one right now.
Anyone who’s lived in Portland for more than five years would have trouble reconciling what this street looks like now in comparison to the undeveloped (and even a little sketchy) street not long ago.
I remember going to Pok Pok here when it is little more than a takeout window and there wasn’t that much more around — and I recall seeing needles on sidewalks and ample parking.
It used to look somewhat like this.
Gone are those days and the growth on this stretch is mind-boggling.
Starting east a couple blocks of 39th and stretching all the way to the area around New Seasons on 19th, Division Street has so many delights that right now it’s one of the best streets to wander when you’re hungry and wanting to throw some cash around.
I was reminded of this fact when just yesterday I went to a very special tasting of the upcoming Fall and Winter Menu at Salt & Straw Ice Cream on Division Street.
There were about a dozen of us there to meet owner/founders Kim and Tyler Malek (they’re cousins), and we jumped right in, starting with the late summer fall menu.
Of the five above, my favorites were the Reverend Nat’s Hopricot Cider (jammy, tart, a little boozy) and the Petunia’s Peach Crumble (a stunner of a late summer beauty).
Then we moved on to upcoming flavors.
It was fascinating to listen to both Tyler and Kim talk; they both exuded humor, humility and genuine enthusiasm and joy with their work.
The former in particular did a masterful job of explaining flavor combinations and how they came to be (can you imagine the five lucky individuals employed in their R & D department?)
and the latter was so compelling talking about how S & S is grateful for all the support they’ve been given and wants to pay it forward, joining local alliances with everyone from Urban Gleaners to Community Cycling Center, giving away both product and time to help these commendable groups on their missions.
The tastes kept coming.
I tried every single flavor I was offered, totaling 19 flavors in all.
And that included Creepy Crawly Critters with fried grasshoppers (delicious but unsettling as you crunched down).
What an amazing jewel we have in Salt & Straw, and now our neighbors to the north and south will soon be rewarded with their own locations (they’re soon opening up two locations in Seattle and another in San Diego).
Have you not been yet to one of the locations in Portland?
Now that summer’s come to a close you needn’t worry about those crazy lines– go!
Don’t believe me? I spied two of these discarded lids in the blocks around their store; it was as if someone couldn’t wait to get home to dig right in.
Absolutely stuffed to the gills after my ice cream blowout, I spent a few hours afterwards walking up and down Division and today I’ve come up with a short list of other wonderful places to check out while you’re there.
So here are 5 of my other favorite spots to hit on Division.
ONE. Roman Candle.
I love everything about this place– the light, the seating, the marble, the subway tiles, the whole vibe.
They have a limited but well-thought out menu
and their breads and baked goods are fabulous.
Here’s what I brought home yesterday from there; pizza bianca (much like a focaccia) offered in generous, golden hued rectangles.
And here’s a toast sampler I made over the summer featuring three of Roman Candle’s different breads.
Roman Candle is a charm.
TWO. Tidbit Food Farm and Garden on 28th and Division.
Right now this place is my favorite food cart pod.
There are so many excellent dining choices there, but if I’m in a mood for something warm and nurturing, it’s hard to go wrong here: Hapa Ramen.
Man they make a great bowl.
Also really tasty is Paper Bag Pizza.
Such a beautifully blistered crust.
Wasabi Roll for sushi is another can’t miss quick option.
I mean, C’mon. They have Sushi-ritos encrusted with Spicy Hot Cheetos.
What more could you possibly want?
Okay, moving on.
I know that there are a couple of these stores dotting the Portland landscape right now (and I’ve told you about them a while back) but Collage’s Division location is now my favorite, and I spent almost an hour yesterday looking at every single thing there.
I love how they merchandise the store and I always find something I absolutely must have.
Like more washi tape.
I know I have a problem with washi tape (I’ve amassed forty three rolls at the moment)
but in the whole scheme of things, there are worse addictions than washi, right?
Collage, keep rocking it — everything about you, from your diminutive size to your well-curated inventory, is perfect.
Okay, time to look at more dining options.
FOUR. Bollywood Theater.
Now that they’ve opened up on Division it’s quickly replaced the need to hit the more cramped one on Alberta — and I know I’m always going to find something crazy delicious here.
Bollywood Theater usually makes my List of Top Ten Stops for Visitors because the food and cocktails are always reliably spectacular, reasonably priced and I think owner Troy McLarty is not just a genius in combining flavors, he’s also a hugely generous and community-committed guy.
And lastly, skipping to the other side of Division on 40th, is another treasured spot.
FIVE. Village Merchants.
This place is a consignment shop with so many different things — everything from garden to clothes to vintage housewares to jewelry to camping gear.
So in one section of the giant store you will see this
and then this
and perhaps something akin to this
and even this.
There’s a lot of vintage items scattered throughout this building
especially in housewares, textiles and home goods
but there’s also some great bargains to be had in newer fashion and miscellaneous items.
It’s like a thrift store in its variety but because it’s all consignment, there’s nothing here that’s damaged or sub-par.
Every time I’m in the neighborhood I pop in because the turnover is so great that there’s always something different and new, and I’ve learned the hard way that if you love something here, buy it immediately because it won’t last long.
So that’s been my week. Salt and Straw. Lunches with friends.
Junking. Fantasy Football Planning.
And big-time tressing over horrific news everywhere I look. Forest fires. Flooding. Feuds with North Korea. And now Irma.
(Is it any wonder I’m accepting twenty different ice creams when offered?)
I’m also doing everything I can to help my kids re-acclimate to the rigors and stresses of a full school schedule.
Blackberry milkshakes on 100 degree days are a welcome sight.
Stay safe out there, friends.