North Interstate Avenue & Skidmore Street
Screw Hooters. Last week North Portland's Interstate MAX line became home to Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings, the city's only bistro devoted to the best bit of the bird. Owners Jordan Busch and Sara Sawicki were horrified by P-town's dearth of chicken smeared with bleu cheese dressing and Frank's RedHot when they moved here from Denver in 2003. Now they've opened their own spicy joint, which will also offer its own special sauces and assorted artery-cloggers: Fresh-cut fries, fried pickles, fried mushrooms and, good lord, fried Twinkies.
Northeast Fremont Street & 46th Avenue
Real men drink tea. Or at least they do at Foxfire Teas. This austere cafe looks more like a mechanic's garage than a fussy English tea garden, a zen-luxe space dotted with spare arrangements of vintage wingback chairs, rocks and oriental rugs strewn over polished concrete floors. The modernist joint's menu is more traditional, boasting more than 40 loose-leaf green, black and oolong teas available in bulk or by the pot. Pull up a tree stump--no joke--and slurp up a single-serving mug ($2.25) in front of the shop's massive stone fireplace. And get there early in the day to nab one of Foxfire co-owner Katherine Losselyong's moist, airy homemade scones while they're still warm.
Northwest Marshall Street & 11th Avenue
One of the best places in town to devour 2004's enduring food obsession--gelato--is underneath a 16-foot-tall fake olive tree. The folks behind Via Delizia, a whimsical new gelato bar on the far edges of the Pearl District, have wedged an entire Tuscan street inside their small cafe, including that tree, a stone Italian villa and shoppers chowing on spicy panini. Owners Chris and Karen Lawless caught the gelato bug in Castellina, a small town north of Siena, Italy. Sure, the whole outdoors-indoor concept sounds Epcot-y, but Bite Club swears on a stack of Mickey Mouse ears that scenes from this Italian restaurant are positively charming.
Southwest Stark Street & 13th Avenue
Who would've thunk it: Stark Street swank--not skank. A discreet flight of stairs behind the new American Apparel boutique leads diners up to David Morgan and Jeff Berback's gorgeous little sushi restaurant, Masu. The new space's huge windows feature a dramatic view of the queer leather bar Eagle PDX, but diners' eyes will stay glued to Masu's well-crafted ReadyMade-magazine décor, a cheerfully sleek mix of murals, wood-chip siding, filmy curtains and indie hotties stuffing their faces with sexy sushi rolls and ginger cocktails named after Roger Moore. The spankin'-new hotspot needs to work out a few service kinks, but one can tell that chef Von Teramoto has ambitious palate plans for the quirky space. Bite Club's favorite Masu element? A pair of nifty robo-hand dryers in the bathroom that Teramoto lugged to Portland all the way from Japan. Domo arigato!
Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings, 4225 N Interstate Ave., 280-9464. Foxfire Teas, 4605 NE Fremont St., 288-6869. Via Delizia, 1105 NW Marshall St., 225-9300. Masu, 406 SW 13th Ave., 221-6278.