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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Conin Mexican Cuisine

This article was intended to be run in the December issue of the SW Connection. Through a series of rather bizarre lapses in communication, it was not included. Beyond that, our relationship with the paper has now been severed. We wish the Southwest Connection and it's new Editor, Mr. Bill Gallagher the very best in the new year. Mr. Gallagher, by the way, is starting a "Letters to the Editor" column. If you wish to contact him: bgallagher@pamplinmedia.com

Okay then... In mid-September I received a tip from a reader, Katie Songer, about a place here in Southwest Portland that was simply not on my radar in any way. One of the reasons for that, I suppose, is that it’s a little bit difficult to find, even when you know the address on Barbur Blvd. Honestly, I looked, and looked and even drove right past it several times without seeing it. Part of that had to do with the direction I was traveling in. I was heading South on Barbur, knowing that it had to be on the West side of the street to my right, however the place is most cleverly tucked away in a small cluster of shops. To see it when heading South, is very much like merging onto the Ross Island Bridge off of Natio. You have to know how situate your car perpendicularly to do it, right? In the case of finding Conin Mexican Cuisine for the first time, head North, notice that the UPS store is on your right, and look to the left. There it is! Ta-da!

Let it be known, Conin Mexican Cuisine is a destination I’m only reluctantly sharing with you. The reason I hesitate is that, once known, it’s going to be much harder to get in. Fortunately, they offer reservations.

Georgina and I decided to have dinner early on Saturday night. The wind was blowing, and, because I’d just had the car washed, a light rain was beginning to fall. It was already dark in anticipation of the time-shift taking us back an hour. Not having been to Conin before, we could only hope that our intrepid, five-minute journey into the desperate wilds of Southwest Portland would be rewarded with something more than just okay.

Because of our early timing, we were the first people in the place, and, frankly, entering an empty restaurant can have something of a chilling effect, if you know what I mean? Gah, perhaps it was empty for a reason! How wrong that possibility turned out to be. To be clear, stepping in out of the weather we found ourselves in the cozy, quite beautiful interior: traditional Mexican music played gently in the background. In one corner over the full bar, two flat screens silently displayed soccer and football. By way of the time of the year, there was a lovely Ofrenda (Día de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead - offering table) set up against one wall, honoring those who are no longer with us. In this simple welcoming environment, we felt immediately at home and were greeted most warmly. What a great intimate place this would be for a party!

I started with a stellar Margarita served in a Mason jar with a handle. Georgina had a Pacifico from the tap. To keep us happily occupied while we made our decisions, fresh corn chips were placed on the table along with an excellent salsa, which thankfully contained only a hint of cilantro (allergic, you see). I ordered Tacos de Pescado: three slightly crispy shells generously filled with fish and the house’s special toppings, sprinkled with cotija cheese. Georgina had the carne asada version. Each of these dishes, and I cannot stress this enough, were O.M.G. extraordinary and delicious. Oh, and did I mention the churros made-to-order in-house? I should have!  

Katie, closed her letter to me with this, “…since we love it so much, we selfishly want it to thrive so it'll stay in business and we can keep eating there for many years.” Well I couldn’t agree more, however, Katie I would suggest this is something of a double-edged sword. An hour or so later when Georgina and I were leaving, the dining room was very nearly packed, and other rain-drenched cars were eager to contest the spot we were making available in the small parking area. People who know about Conin – know about Conin.

Rating: Extraordinarily Sincere

For reservations call: 971-808-5627
9111 SW Barbur Blvd, Portland, OR 97219
Site: http://www.coninpdx.com  

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If you know of a business or person anywhere on the planet you think might meet our criteria please send their information to me jon@searching4sincerity.com. I can’t promise to write about them though, as that in itself would be, well, you know… insincere.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Barbur World Foods: a market of exciting discoveries


COURTESY PHOTO BY JONATHAN ELLIS - Barbur World Foods offers a 'satisfyingly vast variety of food products' from across the globe, guest columnist Jonathan Ellis says.

Barbur World Foods is not a gigantic grocery store that sells everything and anything. This is not the type of store to go to if you want to buy hula-hoops, lawn chairs or value-pack hotdogs in bulk for your summer bash. Clearly, we all already know where to find those football-stadium-size stores where such items can be purchased.
No, this a comparatively small store that features a satisfyingly vast variety of food products from, you guessed it, around the world.
What's most striking is the amazing selection available in its unlikely location at 9845 S.W. Barbur Blvd., at the very busy intersection of Barbur and Capitol Highway. Walking in is to discover oneself in something of a throwback.
Frankly, this store might not have been on my radar at all except for the fact that it's literally a walk through the (Woods Memorial) park for me to get there, which not only makes it handy but also a great destination when I'm out for a stroll.
Now that I've discovered this place, it remains in the mind, in the senses and on the palate.
The deli section is a wonder, presenting a delectable selection of freshly prepared dishes daily, including a fantastically delicious halved chicken that must be experienced to be believed. This is not your typical roasted chicken in a domed-plastic container we're talking about here. It has been seasoned and cooked to perfection, and all one needs to do is choose the one that looks best in the display. It will be placed in a waxed card-stock box (no Styrofoam here) and can be presented to loved ones at home as a perfect example of your superior "cooking" skills.
(Not that doing such a thing is all that sincere, but we won't tell if you don't. On the other hand, if you wish to maintain your personal integrity, they have quite a lovely selection of pre-seasoned, ready-to-cook items including absolutely beautiful kabobs!)
The produce department presents in-season fruits and vegetables, as well as hard-to-find specialty items. Meats and seafood are hormone- and antibiotic-free, originating from local farms and vendors working in partnership with the store. There's also a huge selection of dairy products, including a stellar array of cheeses. And let's not forget the beer and wine department, admirably stocked with both local and international beverages that can only enhance a well-prepared meal.
Let's face it, most of us have a specialty item that calls to us from afar, something that we perhaps chanced upon in our wanderings, something that can be difficult to find locally. My item of choice is Green Chile from New Mexico.
I lived in Santa Fe for many years and came under the thrall of this amazingly flavorful vegetable. My wife and I then moved to the East Coast where, if we wanted our fix, we had to have it imported at highly-inflated prices. Now, here we are in Portland, and there is indeed something in the air, particularly come mid-August. That familiar bouquet is the same as that which blankets the city of Santa Fe — and really most New Mexican towns — throughout the state at that time of year.
In the past, Green Chile rarely got beyond the borders, probably because its local popularity has it consumed before it can be exported. However, everything has changed. Los Roast is a company that sells its Green Chile products in the World Foods store, and each year in the corner of the parking lot they roll out a roaring flame roaster. This year, expect to find it there the weekend of Aug. 18. They will roast your selection on the spot and you will be treated to an unforgettable aroma that precedes the experience of something like Sour Cream Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.
Barbur World Foods makes it all happen.

http://www.worldfoodsportland.com
Evaluation: Very sincere


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Driftwood - Coffee Anyone?

Kara is a small woman with a lot of energy. She’s the owner of Driftwood Coffee, offering a genuine smile and greeting to everyone who walks in the door. The sign outside tells us that this particular establishment is, “More Than Expected,” and it most certainly is. 

Several people have written to me about Driftwood Coffee as a place deserving of a visit for this column, and I finally got the chance to drop in. I’m really glad I did. The experience was that of stepping into an old friend’s place; warm and inviting. 


The Portland-casual environment is what struck me the most; three or four burlap coffee bags adorn the wall across from the coffee bar. Everything in the room is carefully and tastefully placed around a space which is not large, nor is it small. Let’s just call it comfortable. This is not a manufactured comfort, stamped out to strike a niche-specific-chord-of-familiarity with wild-eyed hordes of desperately salivating caffeine seekers, but rather a simple, thoughtful placement of tables and chairs, and a corner near the front door invitingly decked with a couple of couches, facing one another across a simple coffee table. A few magazines and books are stored on a lower shelf for those who’re looking for a little light reading material. There are a few locally made items such as hats, clothing, and jewelry offered for sale along with a good selection of coffees, teas, Italian sodas, and let’s not forget the Breakfast Sandwich selections. I had a mocha coffee and a “Dave and an Egg” which turned out to be a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread with my choice (over easy) of egg. 

The coffee/chocolate mixture was smooth and delicious. I heroically declined the whipped cream. The breakfast sandwich was killer indeed. A little hot sauce on top made it perfection. 


While I enjoyed my breakfast, seated where I could watch all the action on one of the couches, I watched a steady stream of folks come in and order. A couple of older guys reading newspapers sat at a table across the room next to a young couple who had eyes only for one another. At the next table over, four women discussed the world with plenty of laughs all around. A young writer peered at his laptop screen while sipping something delicious-looking from a large mug. A family of four wide-eyed travelers stepped down out of their home-on-wheels and traipsed in the door. The two kids promptly began oohing-and-aweing over the selection of goodies, while mom and dad went directly to the counter to order coffee and a dragonfly chai. I don’t know what the kids eventually ordered in the way of drinks, but I know for sure that one little girl got herself a beautifully woven bracelet and her brother scored himself a very cool hat, with what looked to be a painting of a killer whale above the brim.  


Pastries of all kinds are offered at Driftwood Coffee, including some gluten free and vegan options. I only managed to avoid their come-hither tastiness because of my iron will; enough said? 


There is some small concern that the paving project on Vermont will hurt business somewhat from now through November, but there’s also hope that folks will continue to seek out this little gem of a coffee place that will never, and I mean never, entertain the idea of robot coffee baristas. 


This where to go to hang out with friends, to talk, to read, or to just relax and gaze out the window as cars roll by on Vermont Street at 46th. After all, what’s the hurry? More than expected? Absolutely!

4604 SW Vermont St, Portland, OR 97219
Order: doordash.com
Phone: (503) 246-4706

Evaluation: Extraordinarily Sincere



Rovente Pizzeria - with delivery in and around The Village



There's plenty of amazing pizza to be had in Portland — no one's going to argue with me about that. However, when you live in our area of Southwest Portland, the delivery options can pretty much be whittled down to the big chains, and I have to tell you, I don't love them.
SUBMITTED PHOTO: JONATHAN YOUNG-ELLIS - Columnist Jonathan Young-Ellis gives Rovente Pizza a 'very sincere' rating. Others might, and that's fine — each to his own. I'm a little pickier about my cheese-laden dough disks. But I am too lazy to drive the distance to get it. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Rovente Pizzeria at 7119 S.W. Macadam Ave. not only delivers to most of Southwest, but the pizzas are quite delicious and reasonably priced.
The crust is thin-ish, but not too thin. The sauce is light and wonderful, and not overly sweet like some you find. The ever-so-important ratio of sauce to cheese is perfect, and the toppings are fresh. Also, I'm pretty sure they offer a gluten-free crust, because we've ordered it in the past, and it was great. (I don't see it on their online menu, so be sure to ask.)
Let me give you a tip, though: I have always ordered from Rovente by phone. They keep my address on file and cheerfully deliver to my house, which is about a mile south of Multnomah Village. In researching for this article, I tried to order online, but the computer told me they actually don't deliver to my area. If that happens to you, I would suggest calling in your order.
Though you can get salads, calzones, buffalo wings and "cheezy garlic bread" at Rovente, I'm going to focus on the myriad selections of pizzas they offer.
Not being the most adventurous consumer of pizza in the world, I tend to go for the pedestrian: pepperoni — maybe mushrooms and olives — and sometimes I'll go a little crazy and have them throw some onions on.
When we had a family gathering a month ago, someone ordered Canadian bacon and fresh tomatoes. It almost blew my mind. As a result, I decided that, by golly, I'm going to have to try some of the combinations that Rovente has already dreamed up for me. Here are some that particularly stand out:
The Amoruccio Con Pesto: Artichoke hearts, garlic, green onions, Italian sausage, Pesto sauce, Roma tomatoes, whole-milk mozzarella.
The Molto Picante: Beef, green peppers, jalapeño peppers, Mama Lil's peppers, red onions, Signature Spicy Red Sauce, whole-milk mozzarella.
The Herbivore Delight: Artichoke hearts, black olives, feta cheese, garlic, red onions, Roma tomatoes, Signature red sauce, whole-milk mozzarella, zucchini.
The Greek Al Forno: Feta cheese, green onions, Kalamata olives, olive oil, red sauce or creamy garlic sauce, Roma tomatoes, spinach, whole-milk mozzarella.
El Pollo Loco: Cheddar cheese, garlic, grilled chicken, jalapeño peppers, red onions, Signature Spicy Red Sauce, spinach, whole-milk mozzarella.
And so many, many, more.
Check out their website, roventepizzeria.com, for some awesome special deals, too. Rovente has three other locations, one on Hawthorne, one in North Portland and one downtown, but the Macadam location is the one for us Southwesterners when it comes to delivery. Here's the number: 503-719-4626. Call away, and enjoy!
Evaluation: Very sincere

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Groundspring Healing - and the miracle of the knee

As many of you know from an earlier article, Georgina and I added a B&B space to our home last spring. What you may not know is that we did a substantial portion of that work ourselves. Yes indeed, we're feeling pretty smug about the whole thing, because, in my opinion, it's really beautiful. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO: JONATHAN YOUNG-ELLIS - Groundspring Healing Center offers acupuncture and other healing services.
However, that creative endeavor did not come without its share of pain. Specifically, in mid-June, I stepped onto a stack of boards that appeared to be solid, yet were actually designed to collapse if anyone were to step on them in just the wrong way. So of course I did exactly that. Who could have imagined that the human knee was designed to see stars? The pain was far beyond any of my numerous skateboarding calamities.

Two days after the great knee trauma of 2018, I went to have it X-rayed because I truly believed I'd badly broken something. The doctors, however, assured me that such was not the case. They said healing would take a little time, and I was OK with that. But my knee wasn't in on that particular deal, and weeks stretched into months of pain. It did subside somewhat, but I continued to, quite pitifully and very carefully, limp around for the next 12 weeks. Doctors kindly offered to do an MRI to see what was going on, and possibly arrange for some sort of surgery. Obviously, if that were my only option, I suppose I'd have gone for it.

However, I chose to investigate acupuncture. As it turns out, that was an amazingly good decision. Groundspring Healing Arts (8283 S.W. Barbur Blvd., Portland; 503-244-1330; www. groundspring.net) is located on a little one-way, angled piece of Barbur Boulevard that merges into Multnomah Boulevard behind Safeway. But that little unassuming building seems quite a bit larger on the inside than on the outside, with seven practitioners working out of the peaceful space. I can only speak from my experience, but if the others are working with the same degree of thoughtfulness, care and dedication as my practitioner, they must be exceptional in every way.

As a matter of fact, the efficacy of my acupuncturist's treatment was tested recently when I found myself clambering the 213 feet (about 20 stories) of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico. We're talking about a grueling climb of 248 hand-cut stone steps. OMG! OK, perhaps "clambering" is the wrong word, since my derring-do required at least a couple of stops to just pant and gaze out into the distance of the surrounding ghost-city with an expression of deep intelligence and understanding. I'm quite sure to others, like the 9-year-old running up the steps past me, I looked as though I had been captivated by my environment. Still, I made it to the top without once considering a knee which only three weeks earlier would have made such a feat of super-heroic scrambling literally impossible.

Where before I would hobble painfully from my car into a local store, I was now capable of successfully reaching the top of one of the most amazing edifices on this continent. My acupuncturist's name, by the way, only accentuates the connections that this world often makes for us. It's YuJin Lee. She told me that this roughly translates to With Sincerity. 
Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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If you know of a business that you think might meet our criteria, please send the information to me at jon@searching4sincerity.com. I can't promise to write about them though, as that in itself would be, well, insincere.

Paradise Construction - construction paradise

Having work done on one's home is always a dream in progress — and a potential nightmare in the making, right?
Georgina and I have been through it all.
SUBMITTED PHOTO: PARADISE CONSTRUCTION - Unlike past experiences with construction businesses, Jonathan Young-Ellis was left impressed with Paradise Construction.



Previously, while renovating our house in New York City, we took the nightmare route, hiring and then firing four out of five contractors. The next to last was a guy whose crew pushed our furniture into the middle of the living room, covered it with a drop-cloth (it's a miracle they thought to do that), and proceeded to spray-paint the entire room, including the brick fireplace that was more than 100 years old!
With the drop cloth tightly wadded up against the front door, they then left for the day at about 3:30 p.m. It was a Friday afternoon. They did not expect to return until Monday. After the foul-mouthed departure of contractor No. 4, we discovered that one of our new neighbors on the block was a contractor. Who knew? He ultimately got the job done. The experience left us exhausted and intensely wary of contractors in general.
Such was our state of mind when we began to seek out a contractor here in Portland. This time, we looked on Yelp, checked Angie's List and asked around for recommendations. Eventually, we narrowed it down to three qualified people, and scheduled meetings.
The first arrived at the scheduled time, looked at the space, took some measurements and provided an estimate, with the admonition that he would not be able to move forward until an engineer could be brought in and plans drawn up. The price was a bit higher than we would have liked, but that's always part of this sort of thing.
The second arrived more than an hour and a half after the agreed-upon time. We were actually surprised when he showed up, having figured he was just another problem we were lucky to avoid. Nevertheless, we let him in. He casually, hands in pockets, looked at the space from the outside and provided an estimate that was literally three times the estimate of the first guy. He was history before he said goodbye.
The third was a perfectly nice person who showed up on time but didn't seem to have his notebook with him and was therefore unable to provide any sort of estimate. We shook hands all around and he left, never to be seen again.
As Georgina and I discussed the situation, we realized that we wanted to talk with the first guy again. His name is Nour Chaaban and his company is called Paradise Construction. From that initial meeting until now has been something like a two-year process. That period represents the time it took for us to make sure we had the money in place to take the job all the way to completion, having the engineer and draftsman bring their talents to bear, waiting for permits and then inspections, and fretting over things that we had no control over.
Once a date was set, the work began on time, questions were asked and answered on both sides, and what happened next was nothing short of amazing.
The transformation of our cavernous but raw crawlspace into a beautifully livable space has happened at an incredible speed. Within the first two weeks, so much had been accomplished that our heads were spinning, and our cat became fixated on what was happening beneath her feet — which she could hear, but not chase and bat around. From the beginning until now has been about two months.
It might have gone faster, but I made the choice to do much of the work myself (saving money and learning more about what's inside the walls of my home than I ever thought possible). We expect that we'll be ready for final inspection within the next three to four weeks. Throughout the process, we've been continuously kept informed, been given solid advice, and have never once felt that we were doing business with the wrong people.
Ultimately, the idea of searching for sincerity is all about finding those people in the world who are coming from a place of true personal integrity. Obviously, such people are out there. In this column we write about those who have impressed us and ignore those who have not. Nour and his crew have impressed us.
The people he has hired reflect his values, and each one I've had the pleasure to work with deserves an individual shout-out: Mark is the smart, good-natured guy who quite simply knows so much about so many things that it's impossible to trip him up; Brandon is the one with a dry, clever wit and a nail gun he uses to make things happen at lightening speed; and Jay, though still learning, is clearly fast to pick things up from the others and make them his own.
Each of them has nothing but praise for their employer, and this is telling too. A good contractor is hard to find. A sincere contractor is one in a million.
To contact Paradise Construction, call 503-284-5348 or visit www.BuildItPDX.com. If you know of a business that you think might meet our criteria, send the information to me at jon@searching4sincerity.com. I'll not promise to write about them though, as that in itself would be, well, you know — insincere.
Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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Briar Patch Herbs - A welcome addition to the neighborhood

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JONATHAN YOUNG-ELLIS - Columnist Jonathan Young-Ellis says Briar Patch Herbs is gorgeous and family friendly.There's a little cluster of shops in a long, low building where Garden Home Road meets 45th Avenue that has always seemed to me to need some sprucing up.
For a long time, there was just a Mr. Suds Laundromat, Revive Organic Hair Salon and Abel Irrigation there. I've always felt that the building wasn't being used to its full potential in the way that Multnomah Village or Hillsdale Center are.




Not that the residents of the area want that much bustle. And besides, it's not big enough to rival those two areas. But I always thought it would be nice if another useful shop or two would go in there, and that the whole thing might be tidied up a bit.
Well, it seems my fantasy is coming true. Briar Patch Herbs has set up shop next to Revive Hair Salon, and what a welcome addition to the neighborhood it is!
I stopped by to see what they have going on there and to meet the owners, Sheri Copans and Brad Valgardson, who are as friendly and helpful as can be.
The shop is gorgeous inside and out, all the built-in shelves and cabinetry hand-fashioned by Brad himself. On one end of the space is an antique velvet sofa and a couple of chairs set up to create a nook where customers can sit and relax as they breathe in the wonderful, earthy aroma of the place. On the other end there are three tall tree trunks that flank the back counter, giving you the feeling of being outside while inside.
As Sheri says, "I wanted it to feel like you were walking into a forest." Well, you do feel like that, if a forest felt as warm and cozy as the shop does.
The Briar Patch sells organic culinary and medicinal herbs and seeds, as well as organic teas, tinctures, local hand-crafted soaps, candles, organic essential oils and all kinds of delightful, natural products. But please be clear: It is NOT a cannabis store.
The Briar Patch is a family friendly, community herb shop, Sheri says. Kids are welcome, dogs are welcome — you get the idea. Sheri also let me know that the people who own Abel Irrigation at the opposite end of the building, Scott and Jenny Calvin, purchased the property a couple of years ago, and it is absolutely their intent to bring in another desirable business or two and to continue to make the building more attractive so that it will be a nice little destination, just a five-minute walk from Multnomah Village proper.
Though Briar Patch Herbs' summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., they are hoping to expand to seven days a week come fall. They also plan to begin serving brewed tea once their kitchen is set up, and host special events that welcome the community. Sheri even mentioned the potential for a dog wash day out front!
So stop by and take a look at this beautiful space at 4480 S.W. Garden Home Road. You're sure to walk away with something healing, soothing or beautiful. And if you don't know what you want, they offer consultations as well. Don't you feel better already?
Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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If you know of a business that you think might meet our criteria, send the information to me at jon@searching4sincerity.com. I'll not promise to write about them though, as that in itself would be, well, you know — insincere.

Old Market Pub and Brewery - offers an unassuming, yet excellent experience


SUBMITTED PHOTO: JONATHAN YOUNG-ELLIS - Jonathan Young-Ellis gives the Old Market Pub and Brewery an extraordinarily sincere rating.

There are times when we go out to dinner to celebrate in style and look for an exceptional flavor sensation. Portland is obviously one of the very best places to discover such establishments.
However, there are the other times when we're just looking for a good, quick place to get something decent to eat and fast food is not a desirable option. Such was the state of things a few evenings ago.
My wife Georgina and I went to see an early showing of "Black Panther" on a Wednesday night and decided at the last minute to have some dinner before the show. (That, of course, made it a date, which was my evil plan in the first place). We stopped at The Old Market Pub & Brewery at 6959 S.W. Multnomah Blvd.
Like everyone in the neighborhood, we'd driven by the place — which sits in the curve of Multnomah Boulevard — plenty of times without stopping, even when we were hungry (or thirsty), because it always looks so busy. As anticipated, the parking lot at 5:30 p.m. was indeed packed, but we took a chance anyway.
Turns out the place is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. In spite of a fairly large crowd, there were plenty of tables and we were seated immediately. As we entered, we informed the host that we had a bit of a time constraint, and he let our server know before she even came to our table.
Let's just say that the young woman who took care of us earned a hefty tip. She was personable, fast and efficient. Our food — two amazing grass-fed, Oregon-organic, hickory-bacon cheeseburgers — was delivered in record time.
We ordered one of them with a side of really delicious shoestring fries, and the other came with a generous portion of Kettle Chips. Of course, we shared the fries and chips, but the fries won the contest hands down. Thankfully, the fries were on my plate where I could properly defend them.
The atmosphere is light and airy. There are large TV screens, displaying sports of all kinds, all around the dining area and over the bar, and they can easily be seen from every table. Such a place, filled with people as it was, could easily be too loud, but fortunately the TVs are muted and we were able to have an easy conversation without having to resort to screaming at one another.
Discovering unassuming restaurants like this one, particularly those that offer gluten-free buns for the burgers, is a real treat.
The sincerity of a place is not always the food, nor the service or the look and feel of the building. It is all of these things assembled with the idea of conveying a welcome to longtime customers as well as to those who wander in without a clue or expectations of any kind. Having an experience of sincerity is that feeling we walk away with and carry into the rest of our day or night. That's what happened that Wednesday night; we went to the movies with a sense of satisfaction that we were valued customers of a place new to us, one that's just around the corner and down the road.
Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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Hillsdale Farmers Market

What is more wonderful on a crisp fall day than perusing booths of seasonal vegetables and fruits, local meats and seafood, baked goods, dairy products and other items that will delight your taste buds and benefit your health?

PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WEST - Shoppers can find fresh and flavorful local produce at a great value at Hillsdale Farmers Market, says columnist Gerogina Young-Ellis.

Not much that I can think of.

Though the Portland State University Farmers Market is probably the biggest in town, it feels more like a weekly event than a local tradition. On the other hand, there’s something innately satisfying about being able to just pop over to the Hillsdale Farmers Market on a Sunday, right here in our own neighborhood, where it sets up in the parking lot of Rieke Elementary school at 1405 S.W. Vermont St.

The last time I was there, I scooped up freshly caught salmon, vine-perfect tomatoes, a handy bag of baby lettuce, some crunchy local apples, late-season zucchini and a pint of the last strawberries of the summer. When it comes to buying fresh, local produce, I find a grocery store simply does not compare to the flavor and value available at the farmers market.

Oh sure, I might be able to find a zucchini for a few pennies less in the bins of grocery stores, many of which certainly sell — at least for part of the year — some local produce. But it’s never the same in freshness as what I find at the farmers market, where growers bring their wares straight from field to market.

We all know that a store-bought tomato almost never compares to what the local farmer grows (or what we grow in our own backyards), and strawberries imported from California are a far cry from the delicious red nuggets harvested from nearby farms. Yes, OK, we won’t find all the items at the farmers market that we get used to having year-round from the grocery store (like kiwis and avocados, for example), but the fruits and veggies at the former ensure that we are always buying seasonal, as well as local.

That’s better for the local economy, better for the environment (fossil fuels aren’t being used to ship products long distances) and better for our palate.

And what about fish, meats, eggs, etc.? Again, it all comes down to supporting our local farmers and fishermen and getting items for our table that have been lovingly, humanely and often organically raised, or caught with sustainability in mind.

At Hillsdale Farmers Market, you can even grab a little lunch from some of the booths that sell prepared foods, like soup or tamales. You can also pick up a delicious loaf of freshly baked bread, pies, muffins or other goodies, or a beautiful bouquet of seasonal flowers. I never come away from the market with anything less than some new discovery and a feeling that I’ve participated in my community in a very special, and kind of basic, way.

So that all income levels can benefit, the farmers market accepts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card (as most markets do), which can be swiped at the info booth in exchange for tokens. In order to make the SNAP purchases go even farther, Hillsdale Farmers Market participates in the Double Up Food Bucks statewide program, which means that SNAP participants can receive up to $10 in matching funds by purchasing tokens at the market’s information booth; they then get $20 for their SNAP purchases instead of $10.

Sarah West, who manages the farmers market, shared with me that Hillsdale’s matching program is unique, because it is not being run by a USDA grant. Hillsdale Farmers Market does 100 percent of the matching and the fundraising itself. This helps the program overall and, by proxy, helps fund markets that are less well off.

Businesses can donate at various financial levels, including sponsoring a booth at the market, and the market accepts public donations as well. West is usually at the info booth, or you can speak to the volunteers there too. 


For more information, contact West at contact@hillsdalefarmersmarket.com or check out the market’s website at hillsdalefarmersmarket.com

The market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. from May until the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and twice monthly from December through April. I couldn’t rate our wonderful Hillsdale Farmers Market as anything less than Extraordinarily Sincere!

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

Parr Lumber - A great alternative for builders and handy people alike

Parr Lumber in Raleigh Hills is a builder and handyman's delight. Started by Dwight Parr Sr., and family-owned since 1930, there are thirty-seven other locations, but this one is darned close to my house. Am I personally a handyman? Well, not exactly, but I do know how to build something when I put my mind to it. During the summer, I decided to build a wooden walkway around one side of our house, so that we could avoid slogging through mud every time we wanted to tend the garden we'd prepared over the winter.
The walkway was something I had to think about, measure, think about some more, and measure again before deciding on the proper number of boards, how they would connect to one another, and their placement. As I said: I'm not a handyman—but a pretty able puzzle solver if I do say so myself. Once I had a clear idea of what I wanted it to look like, I spent a good amount of time online looking at prices so that I'd have some idea of what I was getting into and, of course, how much it would cost.
I took the usual web-path of logging onto the sites of some of the most recognized big-box building stores to figure out exactly the kind of wood I would need (pressure treated planks turned out to be the best answer for my needs). According to my sketches and designs, I knew the number of boards necessary to do the job, and I discovered exactly what they would cost. The prices were generally comparable at those stores including their delivery charges. However, the building store I had decided upon was located on a route that took me by Parr Lumber, which is, frankly, closer to me than any of the other stores. And the idea of shopping locally ultimately caused me to turn into their parking lot.
It was early in the day, and there were only a couple of other people in the store. I was greeted immediately by a very friendly guy, but let's face it—who's unfriendly in Portland? Anyway, holding up my list of materials, carefully folded to hide the name of the other store and their prices, I asked if they had what I wanted. They not only had it, but it was nearly a dollar-fifty less per board. Also, delivery charges for orders over $300 were free! My immediate savings, compared to the other stores, amounted to better than $250. Honestly, I'd figured the costs in this local chain would be more. Wasn't that how the giant stores took away the business from smaller stores in the first place, by charging less? Preconceived notions, once again, fly out the window.
A couple of days ago, I wandered back into the store to see if I could find out more about its beginnings, its history, etc. I casually walked into the office of Big Mike (fondly proclaimed as the Mad Armenian, in wood-carved lettering on the wall behind him); he offered me a seat, and we just hung out for a few minutes. While we were talking, one of the sales people poked his head in to see if the boss knew which metals were subject to electrolysis by proximity. Yes, I had to look it up to figure out what the heck that was, but what impressed me was that Mike was able to answer the question immediately, and make recommendations as though he'd been thinking about that particular subject all day. Wow! Along the way, I also found out that the Raleigh Hills location is the second oldest in the chain (the oldest is on NW 19th). It burned to the ground in 1964 and was put back into full operation within only three months, and that they have an online survey, parrcares.com, that automatically enters respondents into a quarterly drawing for a $250 gift card. Mike has worked there for more than forty years and has loved every minute of it. I can see why. What a place!
Parr Lumber
4605 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Portland, Oregon 97225
Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!


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John's Marketplace has stood the test of time - with good reason

SUBMITTED PHOTO: GEORGINA YOUNG-ELLIS - Columnist Georgina Young-Ellis gives John's Marketplace an 'extraordinarily sincere' rating. John's Marketplace is an institution in Southwest Portland's Multnomah Village. If you're a beer person,this is your paradise.
"Basically, if you can get it (beer) here in Oregon," the shop advertises, "then we have it!"
You want wines? The selection is supreme and the staff incredibly knowledgeable, especially if you happen to run into Dave Kaplan, the "wine guy" at John's Marketplace. Kegs, drafts, wine tastings, fantastic burgers and sandwiches — it's all at John's.
However, I'm particularly fascinated by the historical aspect of John's, which anyone other than longtime residents may not know. It is among the oldest remaining businesses in Multnomah Village, dating back to 1923, when it used to be John's Meat Market, according to Nanci Hamilton's historical booklet, "Portland's Multnomah Village."
While many businesses in Multnomah Village closed their doors after World War II because of the arrival of convenient shopping meccas like Fred Meyer and Washington Square in Tigard, as Hamilton points out, the most notable establishments that still remain are John's and Renner's Grill (1939).
According to the Multnomah Historical Association's website in a piece written by Lowell Swanson, John Feuz Sr. bought a meat market from James Sullivan on Dec. 1, 1922, which at the time was located where Sacred Money Studios now resides. John at that time was 28 years old, having come from Switzerland in 1914, where he'd been trained as a butcher. His wife, Anna Gabriel, whom he married in 1923, became his business partner.
John and Anna used the front of the store for their retail business and the back for wholesale. John also delivered meat to his customers and sold it wholesale to the Oregon Electric Railway. He had a two-story smokehouse on premises and made his own sausage in his basement. He started selling groceries as well as meat in 1932, and opened the store in its current location at 3535 S.W. Multnomah Blvd. in 1958.
John's store remained in the family until 1984, when it became mostly a convenience store under the management of John's son David. In the early 90s, Jack Furman bought the place and was the one who added the wine and beer selection. In 1999, the current owner, David Percival, bought John's Marketplace and runs it to this day.
Since I tend to be drawn to historical places and things, knowing its history makes John's all the more appealing to me. But most importantly, I have never, ever, not found what I wanted in terms of wine or beer at John's. And if I didn't know what I wanted (since I'm not the world's biggest connoisseur of beer or wine), some helpful salesperson there would steer me the right way.
John's has wine tastings every Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. when, for $5 a person, you can sample a variety of local and imported wines. They also have Winemaker Tastings a few Saturdays a month. You can check their website, johnsmarketplace.com, under "events" for specifics, or keep an eye on their sign, where they advertise various events — including some that are free!
But let's get back to the food.
You can sit at the lunch counter at John's and enjoy $5 draft pours while you chow down on legendary Tillamook cheeseburgers — single or double, with bacon or without, "veggie-tized" or not. They've got a "Killer Turkey" sandwich with turkey, bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomato, etc.; the "Flying Pig" sandwich, with ham, Tillamook cheddar and fixins'; the "Virgil," a BLT with onions and avocado; a "Dirty Cheesesteak," with lean steak marinated in a house brew; and a grilled Tillamook cheddar and provolone sandwich on Challah bread.
Yummy, hardy and all a great value.
So next time you're looking for exactly the right libation or a delicious sandwich/burger, visit the place that's made its name in history for all the right reasons: John's Marketplace.

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Discover more at Peachtree Gifts

Georgina Young-Ellis visits Peachtree Gifts to purchase a last-minute gift

Originally published Thursday, February 01, 2018



Here's a situation that has happened to me more than once: I've been invited to a birthday party. The invitation was sent at the last minute, and the party is that night. I've got to bring a card at the very least, but I'd also like to get a little gift.

Fortunately, I live near Multnomah Village — where there are lots of shops in which to find fun and interesting presents. However, I'm short on time and can't wander around from shop to shop. What do I do?

I turn to the store that always saves me in situations like this: Peachtree Gifts.

I can't tell you how many times I've popped into Peachtree, not only to grab a cute card and even cuter gift but also to pick up wrapping paper or a nice gift-bag, party plates and napkins, and presents for every occasion. I can rely on them having just the thing I need.

I always get my Christmas cards there — I like the ones printed on recycled paper — and always find festive party supplies.

This year, unusual socks were on my niece's Christmas list. And that's the thing about Peachtree Gifts — as I pondered where I could get unusual socks without running around to a bunch of stores, Peachtree Gifts sprang to mind. Perfect!

When my cousin was having a birthday, what did I find at Peachtree that I knew she would like? Monogramed stationary — her being of the generation (like me) that still sends note cards. What do I do when I realize that Mother's Day is less than a week away and I still haven't gotten a card for my mother and mother-in-law? I dash over to Peachtree Gifts and find just the right ones.

Now that Valentine's Day is approaching, there's no better place to find just what you need for your dear ones. The store is Valentine's Central, with jewelry, novelty items and cards.

As a matter of fact, owner Petie Farkas said she has been expanding the card section of the store, and now it takes up much of the back half of the space, where you'll find an abundance of humorous and meaningful cards for every occasion.

Having just celebrated the store's fifth anniversary last November, Farkas prides herself — especially now in the cold winter months — on making sure the space always has a fresh, fun, bright and cheerful feel to it. And not only is Peachtree Gifts (nestled into a nook between Nectar Frozen Yogurt Lounge and Umpqua Bank at 7843 S.W. Capitol Highway) a mainstay for those who live in Southwest Portland, but Farkas is grateful for the community that has embraced her business as well.

"What is wonderful about Multnomah Village," she shared, "is that it has the feeling of a small town within a big, metropolitan city. We see our customers over and over, and we love being a part of that community and gaining that connection with them.

"We feel like we can be your neighborhood card and gift shop," she added, "with small surprises that you'll come across here and friendly service."

Farkas does all the buying herself, so "if there's something exciting that you want to see, let us know," she said. "We want you to feel like there's something new to discover every time you come in."

I know that has been my experience with Peachtree Gifts, and I'm sure it will be yours too. Visit Peachtreegifts.com to learn more.

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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Priscilla Nails Spa

Columnist Georgina Young-Ellis gives Priscilla Nails Spa a 'Very Sincere' rating

Originally published Monday, December 18, 2017



I'm not the kind of gal who always sports a flawless manicure, and I usually only opt for a pedicure in the summer when people will actually see my feet.

I do like to get my nails done every now and then for special occasions, or just to make myself feel fancy. But even then, I tend to just go with the basic manicure and forego the gel, acrylic, French and other specialty types of manicures that exist.

When I lived in that "other" city, the one I swore I wouldn't go on and on about, nail salons were on every corner and they were cheap. By the time I left two years ago, a nice — and I mean nice — manicure could be had in my neighborhood for $10. The pedicure was $15, and sometimes you could get a combo for $20.

Granted, there are plenty of upscale nail salons in that city that charge a heck of a lot more, but in general, it's one of the few things that are significantly cheaper there than in Portland. I guess mani/pedis are pricier here because there aren't as many salons, and it doesn't seem like as many people get them.

Wait — does that go with or against the law of supply and demand?

Anyway, after I moved here, the first nail salon I went to was the one closest to my house, one that I could actually walk to. At the time, a manicure there was $14. The place was OK, and the mani or pedi always turned out nice. But one day, they were too crowded to take me, so I drove to another place a mile or so away and discovered a salon that, while not cheaper, was prettier, friendlier and did just as nice of a job.

The place I'm talking about is Priscilla Nails Spa (9051 S.W. Barbur Blvd.; 503-224-3977; priscillanailspa.com).

Though they seem to do steady business, I've never had to wait and the technicians are just as sweet as can be. They do ask you to purchase your own little kit consisting of a nail file and buff for $1 — a bit more, I think, for the pedicure, which also comes with toe separators — but you can bring the kit back every time. That makes the experience a little more environmentally friendly in that those things aren't being used and then thrown away every time by the salon.

(Speaking of conscientious nail care, I am aware that OPI polish doesn't test on animals, so I tend to choose that brand. Priscilla Nails Spa uses it, as do many other salons.)

Anyway, a Classic Manicure is $15 at Priscilla (which my previous salon now charges, too), and a Classic Spa Pedicure is $25. Both services are done with the utmost attention and care, and leave you feeling pampered and pretty. Of course, Priscilla Nails Spa has lots of other tempting services, including even fancier spa manis and pedis — hot stone, green tea and more — plus waxing, brow and lash tinting, and facials.

They are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sundays by appointment. Though walk-ins are always welcome, as the holidays approach it might be good to make an appointment during typically busy times of the day.

Priscilla Nails Spa is currently sporting a banner outside, letting you know the business is under new management, but the only change I can see is that they've painted the walls in lovely, soothing colors and freshened the look up a bit. I recognized the same faces among the staff, and they're just as friendly and sweet as ever.

Yes, I know, everyone has their own favorite salon. But if you give Priscilla Nails Spa a try, it may just become your new fave! They'll take great care of you, and you'll always come away happy.

Evaluation: Very sincere

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Maplewood Coffee & Tea – a hidden treasure

Georgina Young-Ellis recommends this historic neighborhood gathering place in Maplewood

Originally published Sunday, October 01, 2017



Tucked away in a corner of the Maplewood community of Southwest Portland is Maplewood Coffee & Tea, a delightful little café that serves breakfast and lunch every day, and dinner the latter part of the week. You may have never chanced upon it because it is somewhat off the beaten path, in the midst of a lovely neighborhood, at 5206 S.W. Custer St. It seems like an unlikely place for a restaurant, or even a coffee house, sitting there surrounded by private homes. However, before its latest incarnation, it was a going establishment for years and years as a general store and post office that used to be referred to as the Green Store. From the time the Green Store opened in 1911 until it closed in 1976, it was the hub of the neighborhood, a place where people would post notices, get their mail, purchase grocery items and enjoy the penny candy and ice cream that was sold there. After it closed, the Green Store was sold and used as a residence until current owner Jo Whitsell purchased it in 2012 and converted it into Maplewood Coffee & Tea, keeping it true to its roots as a neighborhood meeting place.

The atmosphere is simultaneously cozy and spacious, with rustic wooden floors and tables spread out comfortably. You can relax while you eat or drink, play one of the board games they keep on hand or pick up one of the newspapers or magazines that are always available for your perusal.

When I popped in with Jon, we were not there to have a meal, but instead sampled a delicious hibiscus iced tea and a gorgeous decaf mocha while lounging in a sunlit corner. The food looked great, though, especially the pastries on display that come from Pearl Bakery and New Cascadia, including gluten-free and vegan options. The coffee comes from the local Extracto Coffee Roasters, and the teas from Jasmine Pearl Tea and Dragonfly Chai.

If you're there to munch, breakfast will get you waffles, frittatas, a breakfast bowl and more; plus, you can always add the divine-sounding thyme biscuit for a couple of extra bucks. For lunch there are inventive salads and sandwiches, and dinner offers roasted chicken, a sausage plate, a veggie burger and a vegan dinner bowl.

Order at the counter, and your food will be delivered to your table. They've got local and imported red and white wines, as well as beer and cider. Happy hour is every day from 4-7 p.m.; you can get beer or cider in $4.50 pints, while wine is a dollar off a glass and two dollars off a bottle to stay. Sundays, mimosas are just $6. Breakfast is served Monday through Wednesday until 11 a.m., and Thursday through Sunday until 2 p.m. Lunch is served all day, every day, and dinner is from 5-8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

I stopped on my way out and chatted with a nice lady who told me how much she and her family value Maplewood Coffee & Tea in the neighborhood. She said they've enjoyed bingo nights the second Thursday of every month, and trivia nights on the last Thursday of the month. It turns out you can even rent the space after hours for parties and such. Within walking distance from so many other nearby neighborhoods in Southwest Portland, Maplewood Coffee & Tea is an ideal place to enjoy a
leisurely Sunday brunch, an afternoon coffee and pastry, a healthy dinner, breakfast with the family or lunch with a friend. I live for discovering these hidden treasures, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon this one.

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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The Fairy of Woods Memorial

The contribution of one leads to the pleasure of many in one Southwest Portland park, writes Columnist Georgina Young-Ellis

Originally published Saturday, July 01, 2017



Walking through Woods Memorial Natural Area one day recently, I came upon a beautiful arrangement of flowers and other natural objects set upon the round cover of an old water main that protrudes about two feet out of the ground.

Seeing that unexpected burst of color and creativity in the middle of the woods gave me a moment of joy. I admired it, took a picture and walked on.

A week or so later, I was on that same section of the Woods Creek Trail when I noticed the arrangement had been changed, with the old items removed and new ones in their place.

"Aha!" I thought, "We have a fairy in our woods!"

And then, during another walk in the natural area, I caught the fairy in the act.

A slight woman with blond curls and bright, blue-green eyes, she really did look like a fairy to me. I thanked her for her contribution to the beauty of the woods, and the next time I saw her she agreed to be interviewed for my column. Thus I learned her name is Donna Zerner, and that she calls her creations "nature mandalas."

My first assumption was that she was an artist, but she assured me that no, she has no talent in the visual arts. I beg to disagree. Nevertheless, Zerner is a writer and editor, a storyteller and even, upon occasion, a stand-up comedian.

I asked her what inspired her to make the mandalas and to return once a week or so, weather and motivation permitting, to refresh or remake them entirely. Her answer was simple: She does it for her own pleasure, and for that of others.

"If I can make one person smile," she said, "it's worth it."

I would hazard a guess that she has made more than one person smile. Though a lot of people just walk by while she's at work on a mandala, she says, others stop and thank her. She related that several people have told her, "No matter how depressed I am, seeing this always cheers me up."

Zerner started creating these mandalas a couple of years ago as a way to get off her computer and do something more grounded and tactile. She says arranging the colorful objects, sheltered by the trees while listening to the babbling creek and the singing birds, feels like an entrancing meditation. And seeing her careful work inevitably demolished by the elements and visiting creatures offers lessons in impermanence and non-attachment.

"It's like those Tibetan sand paintings," she says, "but with slugs."

The mandalas change with the seasons. She displays colorful flowers, feathers and robin's egg shells in the spring and summer, and mushrooms, holly berries, apples and red and yellow leaves in the cooler months. Zerner mainly uses objects she finds on the ground on her walk to the woods, though she will sometimes pick flowers from her own yard.

When children stop by, she invites them to "help the fairies decorate their ballroom for dancing," and offers them petals and stones to place where they want. She loves when passersby leave items — coins and crystals are regular contributions — and says, "I want everyone to feel free to add to and work on this; it should be a community activity."

I can't deny that Zerner blushed a bit when I told her I think of her as the fairy of Woods Memorial, and that I bet others do, too. In a way, I almost hesitated to reveal her identity, since I think some folks enjoy the mystery of the "fairy" who makes these beautiful offerings.

And yet, once I spoke to her and realized that she aims, as she says, to add beauty to a world that can feel bleak, and to inspire others to discover the joy of creativity in nature, how could I not consider her efforts supremely sincere and want to share them with you?

Sadly, just as the mandalas are impermanent, so may be her commitment to creating them. She will, she says, as long as she is inspired and life allows.

She did suggest that maybe those of us in Southwest Portland who enjoy the peaceful quiet of Woods Memorial Natural Area, its trails and creeks, its beauty, and the dense forest green, not spread the word around too far (like I'm doing right now).

Access to the park can be reached from a variety of entrances on Southwest 45th Avenue and on other streets between 45th and Southwest Capitol Highway. If you're not familiar with the area, I suggest you go to portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder, where you can download a map after searching Woods Memorial Natural Area.

And remember, like the fairy said, shhhh, it's a secret!

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!

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'Perfect place' for environmentally-conscious carnivores

Georgina Young-Ellis enjoys the 'meaty goodness' at Block & Board in Burlingame


Originally published Friday, September 01, 2017

I only recently discovered the Block & Board butcher shop in Burlingame, and what a wonderful surprise it was! Several people had recommended it to me, and so, consolidating our need for deli meats, stuff to grill for the weekend and something for dinner, my husband and I stopped in.


Oh my gosh, it's nothing but meaty goodness from one end to the other.



Block & Board (8421 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.) offers take-out BBQ, including baby-back ribs and pulled pork, prepared in house; sliced meats by the pound, such as roast beef, ham and turkey—brined, rubbed, smoked and roasted on the premises; fresh meat in the butcher case, with items as unusual as duck breast, or as classic as New York steak; sandwiches to order; and even premium local wines and draft beers.



Here's the thing that really sets Block & Board apart, though: All of their meats are sustainably and humanely raised, and all come from local ranchers. I mean, really local, as in the ranchers deliver the meat to the store themselves on a regular basis. And trust me, you can taste the difference that makes.

We weren't able to wait to get home to sample a slice of the smoked turkey breast, which tasted like actual turkey, but with a hint of cumin. We had the barbequed baby-back ribs for dinner and were similarly wowed by the fantastic flavor of the meat, as well as the spicy, not-too-sweet sauce.

We also got a pound of the house-made pork, parsley and parmesan sausage links for Saturday's grill. And again, we were astounded by the incredible, fresh flavor.

Erick Paulson is the owner of Block & Board. He says — and it turned out to be true — that when you eat meat that is so thoughtfully raised, there is more nutrition in it, and it actually fills you up more than commercially-raised meats.

I think we've all gotten used to the pre-packaged meat that comes from a long way off and, even if it's grass-fed or humanely raised, tastes sort-of bland. We don't even notice it anymore. But the meat you get at Block & Board has the kind of flavor I imagine meat tasted like in the days when one got it directly from the rancher within a day or so of its butchering.

Now, I realize that all this talk of meat may not be appealing to those who don't partake, but as Paulson said, "If a vegan were to open a butcher shop, this is what it would look like." I totally saw, and tasted, what he meant.

The products he sells make you feel like you are doing the right thing by the animals that provide the meat. You are also doing the right thing for the environment by eating local products that don't have to be shipped far, and that are raised by ranchers who are protective of the land on which they raise their animals.

By the way, Block & Board also sells prepared sandwiches and sides that sound amazing. How about a slow-smoked pork shoulder sandwich in house-made barbecue sauce, topped with apple celery slaw on a Portland French pub bun? Or the Burlingame Bánh mí: slow-roasted candied pork belly on a Portland French baguette with Jalapeño-ginger aioli, pickled vegetables and cilantro. Or the Smoke House Cuban: house-made ham, and smoked, roasted pork, grilled and pressed with Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard?

Whoa.

Sides include beef chili, burnt-ends baked beans, potato salad, mac and cheese — all made in-house. You can either dine in or take out. Add a glass or bottle of unique, local ales, ciders, IPAs or Pilsners — or a glass of Yamhill Valley Vineyards wine — and you're all set. Other wines from around the region are sold by the bottle to take home too.

Block & Board opened just a year and a half ago, according to Paulson, and it's an excellent addition to the other popular Burlingame establishments nearby. It's also a dream come true for meat eaters who want to do the right thing for their palate, and the planet.

Rating: Extraordinarily sincere