June 2nd, 2004 KELLY CLARKE | z-Bite Club
 

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A tasty chunk of Bite Club's day is devoted to hearing from people about their favorite food finds. And you know what? Our readers' intrepid taste buds can be deliciously dead-on. Here's a few recent examples:

"Check out Kustom Pizza. Owners run around the joint in 'Utilikilts' and roller blades. Plus the pizzas and subs are really good." --Patty

No roller blades last time we stuffed our faces at this snarky little pie joint. But that's only because Kustom co-owner/disco roller Robbie Tindall had been working for "108 hours straight" and was too tired to strap on his wheels. Tindall's Northeast 28th Avenue-area joint offers a place to de-culture with a cheesy, thick-crust slice and an episode of Fox's The Swan. The big, U-shaped counter in the center of the restaurant means you can watch as he tosses fresh, homemade dough, sprinkles toppings on your pie and pops it into Kustom's ancient Montague oven--which gives good crust.

Re: LOW BBQ: "It's really, really good." --Jim Dixon, local olive-oil guru and WW contributor.

Dixon didn't say a lot about this inner Southeast Portland parking-lot shack. But once we tasted Rodney Muirhead and Kyle Connally's slow-smoked (as in seven hours) Painted Hills beef brisket and juicy, spice-crusted pork ribs, we were too busy grunting and chewing to form complex sentences, either.

In April 2003, these Texas natives were both laid off from their jobs in the semiconductor industry. The high-tech sector's loss is Portland's gastronomical (weight) gain. The pair launched LOW--which stands for Laid Off Workers--last month.

"I don't think you've ever written about beignets. I discovered a place called Island Joe's that sells them in multiples of three...piping hot." --Gary

Bamboo furniture and potted palms have turned this former Seattle's Best Coffee shop into a tropical downtown outpost for banana-caramel lattes, sandwiches and those New Orleans street treats. Joe's staff fries up the French fritters ($2 for three) and dredges them in powdered sugar as soon as you order them. There's a bonus, according to the Joe's gents: The cafe's blue lights emit a wavelength missing in most indoor lighting. That's right, this pleasure island even soothes away seasonal affective disorder.

*

One more thing! Last month, Bite Club reported Mother's Bistro owner-chef Lisa Schroeder's plans for a new Italian restaurant, Mama Mia Trattoria. In the same column, we included a snippet from Erik Wolf, at Oregon's Culinary Tourism Bureau, about the search for a Portland eatery to be the star of a show on Canada's Food TV called Opening Soon.

Now Schroeder says that she ran into Wolf the same day their shared column came out. Fate! Recognizing his name from the article, she asked if it was too late to submit an application. It wasn't. Now, a month later, Mama Mia has been chosen to be part of the new TV show. Kismet! We take this development as irrefutable proof that Bite Club is a major, dual-nation starmaker--a force to be reckoned with on the level of astrological charts or Ryan Seacrest. Don't call us, we'll call you.

OK, we lied. Call 243-2122, ext. 253, anytime with your own food finds. Our mouths are ready and willing.


Kustom Pizza, 2727 NE Glisan St., 239-4444.

LOW BBQ, corner of Southeast 6th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard and Saturdays at the Portland Farmers Market.

Island Joe's, 538 SW 6th Ave., 973-5637.

 
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