What does it mean when one of Portland's most expensive French restaurants,


, goes on the block? Chef Anthony Demes, who steered the failed trendy Tribeca restaurant briefly in the mid-1990s, is leaving for New York City along with co-owner and wife Maura Jarach. It's tough times for high-end restaurants these days. As Jarach told

The Oregonian

in a piece this past weekend, "Business has been really unpredictable, no rhyme or reason."


OK, so they live a life without bacon, but how come vegans still seem to have all the fun? While the rest of us are chained to our desks, toiling so we can bring home that bacon, vegans live carefree lives with globetrotting abandon. To wit: If you've been waiting with bated breath for the downtown vegan/veg cart The Soul Shack to reopen when proprietor Mike Settle gets back from his winter vacation, well, you'd better exhale. Miss D. got an email from Mike letting her know that he and a friend are in the process of buying three acres of waterfront property in Nicaragua where they plan to build a hotel-restaurant. So no more Soul Shack as we knew it. Mike says: "I am probably going to sell the Soul Shack to a very good chef friend of mine who has been cooking for 20 years--and he is looking to reopen in either Northwest or Southeast, probably for dinner only." Oh yeah, Settle will also be in Portland before he heads off to Alaska and then his new home of Nicaragua. Sheesh. What about the banana pudding you got us hooked on, huh?


On a completely different note, the Atkins Army rolls on. A new to-go spot called Low-Carb Express has opened in what's called the Global Food Court at 827 SW 2nd Ave. Miss Dish stopped in and found a très meaty menu. Big burgers and hot dogs sans buns can be had, along with omelettes, chicken and tuna salad, and a rotating entree selection. The house-specialty drink is a no-carb spritzer made with club soda, sugar-free syrup and a dash of cream.


How do you like your oysters? You can get them Rockefellered, barbecued, raw, deep-fried or stewed--but most likely sans pearl--at the Dan & Louis Oyster Festival this Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm at the historic restaurant at 208 SW Ankeny St. Not enough to pique your interest? How about oyster-shucking and oyster-eating contests. Boo-yah! The event benefits Portland's conservation powerhouse Ecotrust.