The awards and accolades continue to pour in for James Beard Award-winning Chef Andy Ricker, owner of seven restaurants — three in New York City and four in Portland — including Sabin’s Pok Pok Noi at
Northeast Prescott and 15th Avenue.
Anthony Bourdain, best known for his TV show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, calls Ricker’s version of Northern Thai food served at Ricker’s Brooklyn, NY, restaurant, “simply the best, tastiest and what I think is the most authentic.”
A February 2013 Bon Appetite magazine story rated Ricker’s Pok Pok eateries No. 8 among the 20 Most Important Restaurants in America. And in December, The New York Times’ Dining editors ranked Ricker’s
just-published Thai cookbook and travelogue, “Pok Pok,” among the newspaper’s 20 best-selling food books. It’s available for sale in all of Ricker’s restaurants as well as at Powell’s Books.
But back to Pok Pok Noi, which opened in 2010 at 1469 N.E. Prescott in a long, narrow storefront next to Grain & Gristle. Ricker had heard the space was opening up when Rodney Muirhead decided to move
his popular Podnah’s Pit barbecue restaurant to Northeast Killingsworth.
“I wanted to do something for this side of town, to service this neighborhood,” Ricker says. “I decided to do just a ‘greatest hits’ of Pok Pok,” he adds, referring to his first restaurant, which opened in 2005 on Southeast Division.
Among Pok Pok Noi’s more popular dishes are the Pok Pok Special, half a roasted game hen with a small green papaya salad and sticky rice and dipping sauces for $15.50. That game hen is stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro and served with spicy sweet and sour and tamarind dipping sauces.
Due to its fame, many folks can’t get enough of Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings ($14). These chicken wings are marinated in fish sauce and palm sugar, deep-fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce
and garlic, and served with Vietnamese table salad. Food and Wine Magazine named these wings one of the 10 best restaurant dishes in America in 2007.
Ricker’s spicy-hot Southeast Asian food is not for the faint of palate, and it can be a surprise for people used to the mild food often found in U.S. Thai restaurants. Ricker’s menu consists of dishes he personally researched and perfected during his many travels throughout mostly Northern Thailand since 1987. He has spent several months there each year since 1992.
Ricker named his first restaurant Pok Pok for the sound a mortar and pestle make while grinding and combining ingredients used in many Asian dishes. Noi means “little” or “small” in Thai, and can refer to both
Pok Pok Noi’s size and number of offerings, never more than 15 on the menu.
Pok Pok Noi is open for dinner Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Many customers order from the online menu at www.pokpoknoi.com, then pick up
their dinner at the restaurant to take home. Others enjoy full service in the front dining room or on the patio, which is enclosed and includes heat lamps during colder months. For more information, go to the website or call 503-287-4149.
— Susan Goracke
Mark your calendars for the ninth annual Sabin School Auction on April 5 at the Oregon Convention Center. This year’s theme is “The ’80s,” and organizers are hoping Sabin neighbors will lend their support by:
Sponsoring the event - Local businesses interested in supporting the auction with a sponsorship, ranging from $300 to $2,500, may contact Carla Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donating a vacation rental - The live auction needs large-ticket items such as a weekend or week’s stay at a vacation home. For details, e-mail Brooke Unwin at email@example.com.
Donating to the silent auction - Organizers welcome donations of goods and services such as restaurant certificates, massages, store gift certificates or gym memberships. For more information, e-mail Deborah Pleva, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buying tickets - Ticket holders are encouraged to wear ’80s-era clothing such as neon leggings, shoulder pads, or parachute pants. Purchase tickets at sabinauction.com.
Auction organizers hope to reach their fundraising goal of $200,000. Funds will be used to support Sabin
students and their teachers with staffing, classroom supplies, technology and experiences that teach the importance of being a respectful and responsible member of a community.
— Brooke Unwin and Carla Spencer
On Dec. 13, the city of Portland notified Sabin Community Association’s Land Use and Transportation subcommittee that its proposed design for pedestrian crosswalks and storm-water abatement on Fremont Street next to Irving Park has been approved for permits. Construction could begin this winter and be completed by spring.
“This has been a long process for Sabin Community Association, the city and for WB Wells and Associates, our civil engineers just up the road,” explains Sabin resident Trent Thelen.
Almost five years ago, Thelen and other Sabin neighbors began working through SCA’s Land Use and Transportation subcommittee to address two problems: a lack of crosswalks on Fremont connecting the Sabin neighborhood to Irving Park, and flooding in the street after a heavy rain due to inadequate storm
The subcommittee proposed creating a Green Street project along Fremont using funding available through the city of Portland’s 1 Percent for Green grant program. The program is sponsored through the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services and is funded by system development charges, which developers pay to the city as part of their permit fees.
The Fremont Green Street project consists of building three sets of crosswalks and a series of bioswales — attractive plantings that manage rainwater runoff. Crosswalks would be connected to curb extensions of sidewalks, shortening the time pedestrians are actually in the street. Curb extensions make pedestrians
who are attempting to cross a street more visible to motorists and, at the same time, slow down traffic.
According to Thelen, the first curb extensions and crosswalks will be installed at 9th Avenue and Fremont, then similar installations will be built at 8th and 10th avenues later.
“We are expecting to solicit contractors early this new year and break ground late winter to early spring,” Thelen reports. “Many have seen that once we solicit bids, these Green Street structures are installed relatively quickly.”
Sabin Community Association plans to solicit donations of supplies and plant materials from local nurseries and supply yards. The association hopes to recruit neighborhood volunteers to do the planting. Watch for further information on how your family can contribute to this cool Sabin project!
- Randy Ward
Come be a part of the great things happening at the Sabin Community Orchard! It’s not orchard weather right now, but we’re already gathering our team of Orchard Stewards for the coming season. Orchard
Stewards are volunteers who help maintain the orchard, learn about basic fruit tree care and build community with their neighbors. No experience is necessary to become an Orchard Steward, though gardening or orchard experience is a plus!
Orchard Stewards commit to:
Call 503-284-6106 or email email@example.com with ‘Sabin Orchard Steward Interest’ in the subject line to get your application. Completed applications are due by January 20.
"A handful of developers are gobbling up the smaller houses at a heart-stopping rate... Many of us in the area are increasingly distressed by the speed at which such development is occurring, changing the nature of the neighborhood we have lived in and loved for so many years."
Read the entire article by Annette Carter and Frank Granshaw, who have lived on NE 50th Ave for 22 years, published recently in the Portland Tribune.