Once the temperature leaps above 75 degrees, thawing Bite Club's usually icy, Northwestern heart, we immediately start thinking of one thing: vacation. But since playing hooky from dear WW means no more free food, Bite Club settles for finding working mini-escapes all around town. And we're off.
When we need adventure on the scale of Around the World in 80 Days, we head to Costello's Travel Caffe. OK, you don't really travel anywhere, but still you're transported from the sunflower-colored belly of this Northeast Broadway coffee-and-panini shop to Europe, China and South America thanks to two flat-screen TVs.
The video footage really is a European Vacation. Cafe co-owners and world travelers Dave Costello and his son Chris taped scenes from their international jaunts over the past three years. When the Costello family--which includes wife and mother Patti--opened their English hunting-lodge-goes-Tuscan-style cafe this past January, they decided to relive their journeys every day, complete with regional mood music, Euro soccer matches and Friday-night foreign films.
Worlds collided one morning last week, as the Bite Club watched a gaggle of business types at a strategy meeting gobble up croissants topped with mountains of scrambled eggs, cheddar and turkey. We stayed nestled in the corner of Costello's weathered leather couch, and instead of crunching numbers on laptops, munched one of Patti Costello's crumbly lemon poppyseed scones, while viewing televised scenes of Trafalgar Square. Now that's traveling in style.
Not all vacations are such happy affairs. The Purple Parlor's owners, Molly and Dan Sadowsky, are bidding Portland a bittersweet au revoir this week, as they close their pioneering North Mississippi Avenue restaurant and prepare for a possible extended sojourn to India and points beyond. The booming neighborhood's original house of vegetarian cookery will flip its last toasted-grain pancakes this Sunday.
Why the farewell? "It's just time," Molly Sadowsky told Bite Club. "It's the general drain of restaurant life." She and Dan have worked six or seven days a week since they opened the cafe in 2001 in what was then an ignored, undeveloped North Portland neighborhood. Now they're selling the building, which includes the upstairs apartment where they live.
"I'm looking forward to sitting down and eating breakfast, which I haven't done in three years," she says. "And not rushing though lunch. And enjoying my food."
Now the couple's moving on, leaving the rapidly expanding neighborhood in the hands of newcomers Equinox, Gravy, Bold-Sky Cafe and the newest cafe on the block, Pasta Bangs, which opened last week.
Fear not, veg-heads: Though the Parlor's shipping out, Dogs Dig Deli's owner, Sheila Gilronan, might be moving in. The burrito-and-soup siren is sniffing around North Portland to find a spot for a new vegetarian cafe, after spending 10 years downtown building up her pup-friendly takeout joint. The original Dogs Dig will continue under its new owner, David Fox.
2222 NE Broadway, 287-0270.
Pasta Bangs, 3950 N Mississippi Ave., 287-2782.
Dogs Dig Deli, 212 NW Davis St., 223-3362.