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
This year, King Farmers Market has expanded its season until Nov. 24 so shoppers can continue to purchase fresh produce, meats and seafood, wines, coffees, flowers and prepared specialty foods such as jams,
honey, salsa, sauerkraut and cheeses from about 30 local vendors.
“These extended market days are perfect for people stocking up on gift items and food for their Thanksgiving tables,” points out Mona Jackson, communications manager at Portland Farmers Market, which
sponsors the King market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning each year in early May.
Since 2009, nonprofit Fresh Exchange has provided a dollar-for-dollar match to King Farmers Market shoppers who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. During November, these shoppers will receive from $5 to $7 worth of tokens for every $1 deducted from their Oregon Trail Card at the King Farmers Market.
Fresh Exchange, administered by Farmers Market Fund, is funded through private donations and grants from Portland companies including Whole Foods and New Seasons markets. For several years, the Sabin Community Association Board has donated between $250 and $750 to Fresh Exchange to help their neighbors afford the farmers market’s fresh, local and organic produce.
- Susan Goracke
New Orleans–inspired original art plus the sounds of South Louisiana jazz, blues and zydeco create a Cajun ambiance at Acadia Bistro. Since 2001, this Sabin restaurant has matched atmosphere to cuisine at the corner of Northeast Fremont and 13th Ave.
Owner and Chef Adam Higgs, who lives a few blocks
away in Irvington, goes the extra mile to ensure his menu offerings are not only fresh, but authentic. Twice a week he drives to Portland International Airport
to pick up the shrimp, Louisiana drumfish, soft-shell blue crab, crawfish and other seafood delicacies he has flown in from the Gulf.
Acadia Bistro serves Creole specialties such as fried soft-shell blue crab and Oysters en Brochette with Creole Remoulade — dishes that can be found in more expensive French Quarter restaurants. But Acadia specializes in Cajun dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice. Higgs calls traditional Cajun cuisine the “food of poverty,” created by descendants of the French Canadian exiles who settled along the bayous of
“These people, the Acadians, cooked what they had — hogs, crocodile, crawfish — and they prepared it with more spice and more smoke (than the city folk),” explains Higgs, who continues to travel to New Orleans annually for research.
Using traditional recipes, Higgs and Acadia’s other three cooks prepare the restaurant’s own charcuterie: Andouille and boudin sausage, tasso ham and bacon. And they use locally grown fruits and vegetables in season. You’ll also find Southern mainstays such as cornbread, hush puppies, black-eyed peas and greens on the menu, but with a gourmet twist.
Acadia’s list of Northwest and international wines is substantial, and its cocktail offerings include traditional Sazeracs and Hurricanes among other more creative libations.
Higgs estimates that most diners spend an average of $30 to $40 for their meal and drinks, but some locals often spend much less, popping in for a drink and hearty bowl of gumbo.
On Christmas Eve, Acadia offers a Reveillon dinner, a Creole tradition derived from the French word for "awakening.” Originally, it was a meal of breakfast foods served in homes by Catholic families after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Since the 1990s, many New Orleans restaurants offer Reveillon dinners that feature some of their best dishes and alcoholic spirits.
Higgs is now in the process of creating this year’s Reveillon dinner menu that probably will include four courses. He also plans to offer special five- or six-course meals on New Year’s Eve.
Acadia Bistro is open Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch. Reservations (503-249-5001) are recommended for holidays and weekends, as well
as on Mondays, when the eatery offers its “Cheap Eats” selection of $10
— Susan Goracke
The Little Green Schoolhouse, a home-based pre-school, is having an open house for prospective families on Saturday, November 3 and Saturday, December 1 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. They'll have snacks and crafts, and you'll have an opportunity to meet lead teacher and owner Lori Soltys, a licensed classroom teacher with a Masters in Literacy. Lori is also an experienced occupational therapist and yoga instructor. The school's focus is on early literacy, movement, art and music.
Please RSVP at 503-282-0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beanstalk (our neighborhood children's resale shop) celebrates their Grand Opening from 10 - 4 on Saturday, October 13. They're located at 3527 NE 15th Ave, next to Whole Foods. Check them out online or stop in and say hello!