Bite Club first met Elizabeth Montes two years ago, when the sweet chocolatier was pimping her vibrantly spiced truffles at the Portland Farmers Market ("Pre-emptive Sugar Strike," WW, Dec. 10, 2003). Last month she opened her own tiny Sahagún Chocolate Shop (10 NW 16th Ave., 274-7065) tucked away near the busy junction of I-405 and West Burnside Street. Actually, Bite Club considers the charmingly spare red-and-gray-blue shop a chocolate salon. In the climate-controlled space, Montes lovingly displays her jewel-like creations, from almond-and-bergamot soil suspended in lush, dark bittersweet chocolate to marionberry truffles. "It's about upping chocolate to the level of coffee or grapes," says the intense sweetmaker. Currently she's hard at work perfecting a mind-blowingly silky "slow cocoa" made from a melted single-origin chocolate and half-and-half that she foams to high heaven. (The finished product should be available sometime this fall.) And sorry, gents, this lady's already got a full-time taste-tester: The Amélie-ringer married Rodney Muirhead-one half of the pair behind Portland's LOW BBQ-last September.
In his delicious cover story on local farmers and foodies in last week's WW ("The Attack of the $3 Tomato," Aug. 17, 2005), Bite Club's esteemed colleague Zach Dundas mentioned that Portland's tasty farm-dinner series Plate & Pitchfork has a two-year waiting list. Well, not anymore. P&P's co-creator Erika Polmar let us know that the al fresco crew has just added two more bucolic gastro-fests at Southeast Portland's Zenger Farm to cap off this summer's series. On Friday, Sept. 9, Red Star Tavern's Rob Pando gets cookin', while Mint's chef Lyle Jost and cocktail queen Lucy Brennan take over the tables on Saturday, Sept. 10. Nab your seat ($75-$125) ASAP by emailing P&P at email@example.com or calling 241-0745.
Sheila Gilronan, the smart cookie behind Old Town's much-missed Dogs Dig Vegetarian Deli, has reappeared on the culinary scene with a whole new animal of a restaurant: the Blue Moose Cafe (4936 NE Fremont St.). The Beaumont-area space, until recently occupied by the Leaf & Bean Cafe, may be 12 times the size of her former wee kitchen, but she says the focus will be on the same healthy grub. She plans to start scooping out favorites like Chili of the Gods at her new digs-named by her 9-year-old nephew Quinn for North America's largest vegetarian mammal-by Oct. 1.
More slowly fermenting news: The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company is opening a new brewery and pub in a massive old Freightliner warehouse in Industrial Northwest next spring. "It's gonna be a lot like the Hawthorne pub-just in a different part of town," says Gary Geist, who scraped together the funds to open the original pooch-friendly Southeast Portland beer paradise with brewer Alex Stiles back in 1994. Actually, it was Geist's and Stiles' sturdy devotion to their four-legged friends that led them to the Lucky Lab's new pad at Northwest 19th Avenue and Quimby Street. An acquaintance at Dove Lewis Animal Hospital hooked them up with the info on the 20,000-square-foot property, which, lucky for the Bite, is within stumbling distance of WW's future HQ.