November 4th, 2009 12:00 am KELLY CLARKE | Special Section Stories

Flash Forward

When it comes to Portland grub, everything old is new again.


Organic veggies on menus, backyard gardens, the OLCC refusing to grant a liquor license to a new rock club/theater venue/dinner house in the Southeast industrial district—it could be last week’s WW, but these are all headlines plucked from issues of the newspaper printed back in 1974 and 1975. WW’s first food critic captured the burgeoning ethnic and fine food scene in her weekly column “Dining Out with Xerpha Borunda.” Dismissive of canned ingredients and vigilant in reporting sightings of cloth napkins, Borunda chowed her way through Portland, pausing occasionally to pen a story about bread-baking or making “mock wild boar” for Christmas dinner. What year is it again? We figure it out by sizing up dishes from two surprisingly similar decades.

1974-1975 MENU


Pot stickers, $3-$5 (with soup, main course and dessert)
Served at Pot Stickers & Sizzling Rice, in the Old Town space now home to the Boiler Room. Borunda describes what was in 1974 still an exotic delicacy: “Pot stickers are filled noodles, like ravioli, that have been steamed, then browned. Apparently they stick to the pot while being browned…”

Pork sausage and apple crêpe, $5-$7.50 (with wine)
Served at La Bonne Crepe, a French cafe at the Water Tower at Johns Landing. “Delicious and incredibly rich.”

Prawns stuffed with crab, $8 (with additional appetizer and French wine)
Served at Jake’s Famous Crawfish, which still resides at 401 SW 12th Ave. “Most of the wood is dark oak…delicate nudes hang over the bar…ferns and bentwood coat trees complete the nostalgic charm.”

Swiss cheese fondue, $6.50 (includes lentil soup, main course and wine)
Served at Der Rheinlander, still standing at 5035 NE Sandy Blvd.: “…it’s Bavarian or something…an accordionist in lederhosen strolls among the tables.”


Reuben, $1.95
Served at the Goose Hollow Inn, still at 1927 SW Jefferson St.: “…very hot and contained good corned beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and modest amounts of sauerkraut. Mine was slightly greasy.”


Half-pound hamburger, $2.25
Served at the Carnival at 2805 SW Sam Jackson Road. “...a nice charcoal flavor and are slightly pink in the center.... Unfortunately, no surprises for adult tastes are included.”

Beef-pine-nut enchiladas, price unknown
Served at Poor Shoes in Tigard: “Decor is Mexican-plastic tavern…. The pine nuts are unique.”

Prime rib, $8 (with soup, salad and wine)
Served at Sweet Tibbie Dunbar at 718 NE 12th Ave.: “Tibbie’s is furnished in musty eclectic…prime rib was a large cut.... It was both tender and flavorful…. A small pot of horseradish was included. Delicious.”

Vegetarian Option

Avocado, mushroom and peanut butter sandwich, $3
Served at the Center at 1233 SW Morrison St., across the street from downtown’s First Presbyterian Church. “The food is vegetarian and Good For You…. House-baked bread is centerpiece.”


Black Forest cake, price unknown
Served at Rose’s Deli at 315 NW 23rd Ave. (Rose’s has since moved a few blocks north on 23rd.)“Can anyone but a teenage boy or a Wagnerian opera singer finish a whole dessert at Rose’s?, moist, chocolaty with rich and gooey fillings.”

2008-2009 MENU


Noodles with squid, $14
Served at Chinese-Korean hideaway Du Kuh Bee: “…pulling strings of dough into fine, chewy strands with a spin and a snap. These are turned, through a chaotic alchemy involving pepper, oil and a lot of clanging, into the best plate of pasta you’ve ever eaten.” (Restaurant Guide 2009)

MB9 Dutch taco, $6
Served at FlavourSpot’s two food carts: “The MB9 pairs six slices of Canadian bacon with three strips of American bacon, plus maple spread.”

Rock shrimp popcorn with sherry wine sauce, $11.95
Served at Jake’s Famous Crawfish. “Now in its 116th year…Jake’s has a laser focus on fresh seafood that makes it justifiably the city’s most famous eatery and a bastion for tourists.” (Restaurant Guide 2008)

Swiss cheese fondue, approx. $15.99 (comes with main course)
Served at Der Rheinlander. “’s Bavarian or something…an accordionist in lederhosen strolls among the tables.”


Pastrami on rye, $11.75 (with pickle and potato salad or coleslaw)
Served at Kenny Zuke’s : “Kenny Zuke’s pastrami is the unicorn of meats, but real. (And kosher.) Flaking, fatty, flavorsome: This smoked flesh is what bacon wants to be when it grows up.” (Restaurant Guide 2009)


Burger, $9 (with potatoes)
Served at Le Pigeon: “Sweet Jesus, it’s a meat juice-oozing, slaw- and onion-topped, eat-with-a-knife-and-fork monster.” (Restaurant Guide 2009)

Pollo en mole Guerrerense, $20
Served at Autentica: “A half-bird, meat falling off the bone, smothered in rich, rusty-purple mole sauce.” (Restaurant Guide 2009)

Lamb mixed grill, $24
Served at Laurelhurst Market: “A plate of tender little rack chops, savory Siena sausage and a creamy confit of lamb shoulder.” (from Ben Waterhouse’s 2009 restaurant review)

Vegetarian Option

Tempeh lasagna bolognese with cashew cream and housemade noodles, $9
Served at Portobello: “The mostly farm-direct menu changes two to three times a week and is all-organic, right down to the tomatoes in the vegan red sauce.” (from Liz Crain’s 2009 restaurant review)


R.P. McMurphy milkshake, $4
Served at downtown lunch counter Blueplate: “This is a place beyond reason, where a butterscotch milkshake topped with nuts and granola makes divine sense.” (Restaurant Guide 2009)

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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