Monday, January 24, 2011

Discovering Williams Ave, Part I

For those of you who have not ventured to North Williams Avenue yet, there is still time to stake your claim before the rest of the world finds out about it. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting tidbits about my favorite Williams attractions. I feel so fortunate to be situated between some of the city's very best retail and dining establishments. Here's the first installment:

Lincoln Restaurant is run by the incredibly generous and talented husband and wife team of David Welch and Jenn Louis. The pancetta will ruin you for all other Italian bacon dishes, and their unparalleled hospitality will probably ruin you for all other restaurants. The Elderflower Gimlet is my favorite drink on the menu. It contains St. Germain (should I even go on?), gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Lincoln also has a Commuter Corridor Happy Hour Tuesday - Friday from 5:30pm - 7pm with food specials and discounted beer, wine and cocktails for all the bicyclists and car commuters who make their way home using Williams Ave. In the wake of all the hype over Tasty n Sons (which I love - don't get me wrong), I like to remind folks that there is another gourmet destination on this street that should not be overlooked.

Lark Press is a letterpress printing studio and retail space specializing in custom wedding invitations, baby announcements, greeting cards and imprinted baby clothes. Whenever I walk into Lark, I am overcome by the genius of their creative contributors. Not only are their products beautifully designed, but they're also clever. They have numerous cards that tip their hat to (and sometimes jab the ribs of) our fare city of Portland. I saw a card next to the cash register the other day with an illustration of Oregon that said something to the effect of, "I'm so glad we both ended up here." It made me wish the boyfriend and I weren't locals...

You can view samples of their cards here. I'm thrilled that Lark will be designing and printing my wedding invitations later this year!

Oh my goodness, do I ever LOVE Queen Bee Creations and Chickpea Baby. I remember seeing a Queen Bee bag at Greg's on Hawthorne years ago and thinking, "Someday...I will have you!" I'm proud to say that I'm now the proud owner of my very own Queen Bee bag, and that people try to buy it off of me in the shop on a daily basis. I just reply, "HANDS OFF, BUDDY!" and then politely direct them to the shop, just one block north of Lodekka.

Queen Bee also sells "seconds," or slightly imperfect items at a discount. Their attention to detail is so thorough that the tiniest extra stitch can render something a "second." Their barely-noticeable mistake is your gain!

There's a huge place in my heart reserved for anything from Louisiana, so needless to say I frequent EAT Oyster Bar.
They've always got either jazz or blues cranked on the stereo and spicy smoke billowing out of the back kitchen. My meal of choice is shrimp & grits for brunch and a shrimp or catfish po boy for dinner. The prices can't be beat, and they serve beer in tiny mugs (for only $2.75) so you can't get too inebriated while trying to quell the spiciness of whatever you're eating. They also feature some of Portland's jazz luminaries Reggie Houston, Turtle Vandamar and Tim Acott during their Sunday jazz brunch.

I had a Burrito Classico from Cha Cha Cha the other day that almost made me fall out of my seat. It consisted of steak and a chile relleno and about a pound of cheese. Anyone who knows me well knows that the way to my heart is through melted cheese. I was in heaven. They also have some pretty fabulous margarita flavors, a unique (and I-believe-to-be-relatively-healthy) cactus bowl special, tasty tortilla soup (perfect for chilly days on the bus) and an addictive Cha Picadillo burrito, which boasts ground beef, carrots, almonds, raisins, potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for details about additional Williams hot spots!


  1. I visited your lovely double decker shoppe today and it was fantastic! then I wandered down the street to Queen Bee... what a lovely afternoon.