After a month of forced cultural and gastronomic hibernation--in favor of mall treks and family gatherings--we're warming you up with a week's worth of edibles and cold-weather food news. When we heard that Reo Varnado, the pitmaster at Reo's Ribs (17375 SW Tualatin Valley Highway, Beaverton, 356-1452) was rapper Snoop Dogg's uncle, the Bite Club wanted to worship at this highway joint. But after getting a generous eyeful of the genuine Dogg photos in the cafe's modest entryway, we happily transferred our fan love to Reo's Mississippi-style pork ribs and tender beef brisket--slathered in special sauce and cooked right outside the restaurant. Ante up for an extra shot of that sweet barbeque sauce and add on some tangy potato salad and tart mustard and collard greens--we did.

"Yeah, I've barbecued for Snoop," Varnado attests. "Chicken wings, ribs, pig feet, anything I'd cook for him he'd eat it."


Nancy Lee's regulars can stop hyperventilating. The Northwest 21st Avenue cafe isn't gone--it got a New Year's nip and tuck. This week Nancy Lee's becomes Nancy's Kitchen in the Pearl when it trundles over to its new digs at Northwest 16th Avenue and Glisan Street. According to owner Nancy Lee, the cafe--which attracts octogenarians like wool pants attract cat hair--will now boast a roomy parking lot, a plus since many of her "gals" had trouble with the old location's whole parallel-parking thing.


From the etched silver spoons snuggled in pots of rock sugar to the tiny hourglasses used to time each tea infusion, Tea Chai Té (734 NW 23rd Ave., 228-0900) doesn't stand on ceremony, it stomps on it. The second-floor space--which opened Dec. 10--is the brainchild of recent University of Oregon grads Dominic Valdes and Matt Thomas. The clever young gents' "tea bar" concept (originally one of the pair's business-strategy projects in college) trades the usual brew of bluehairs and Brit love for chic cocoa walls and a coffeehouse vibe. Here the adventurous can sip the rare, nutty peach blend Iron Goddess of Mercy or sample other loose-leaf brews from Tea Chai's "testing wall," featuring 45 varieties of green, black, oolong and other teas.


Pay tribute to Louis Pasteur and all things--nearly--rotten when "fermentation fetishist" Sandor Ellix Katz, the author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, offers a free sauerkraut- and kimchi- making workshop at People's Food Coop (3029 SE 21st Ave., 232-9051) this Saturday, noon to 1:30 pm. Call and reserve your pickling crock today.


This Sunday, the Hillsdale Farmers' Market (6300 block of Southwest Capitol Highway, 475-6555) spits in the cold, wet face of convention when it launches the Portland area's first Winter Farmers Market (11 am-2 pm Sunday, Jan. 11). More than 25 local vendors--selling everything from lamb and oysters to honey and hydroponic tomatoes--have promised to set up shop regardless of this weekend's weather report. Organizers plan to open the winter market the second Sunday of the month through March.

It's a

Bake-Off Spectacular

! Send

Pix Patîsserie

(3402 SE Division St., 232-4407) your original pastry recipe for a chance to have your dessert ogled and gobbled at Pix's next Dim Sum Yum Yum and to win a "Pastry Chef Dream Package." Recipes must be received by Jan. 24. Call Pix for contest details.