»SAKE OK: Globetrotting chef and kitchen consultant Janice Martin, who moved to Portland in 2006, is opening tiny Tanuki (413 NW 21st Ave.) this week, a traditional Japanese drinking establishment serving sake (of course!), beer and a menu of sake no sakana (traditional Japanese drinking foods) and some yoshoku (foods that evolved under the influence of Western traders). While we can saunter up to the tachinomi standing bar for lunch or dinner now, the OLCC still hasn't approved Martin's liquor license, so we'll just have to wait for that sake. She's using that time to finish renovations and work out kinks in the kitchen—she plans to make fresh soba and tofu daily—while offering lower-than-usual introductory prices. Score! Oh, and Tanuki is named for a legendary Japanese trickster raccoon-dog, fabled to have valued women, drinking and cheating above all else—not necessarily in that order.
»SLOW 'N' STEADY: After nearly 13 years, downtown swank spot Saucebox is expanding. Owner Bruce Carey says that while he's not exactly sure how the addition will come together in the end, he does have noted designer Brad Cloepfil (of Wieden & Kennedy fame) on board to transform the nearly 2,000 square feet of new space, swallowing two shops next door: a cleaners and a car rental shop. Carey hopes to wrap up construction in time for Saucebox's September birthday.
»GOOD TASTE: Portland chefs will unite Friday, April 4, to raise funds for Bob Kramer, a cook at Higgins who was seriously injured when a drunken driver interrupted Kramer's walk with his wife and dog two months ago on the streets of Portland. He's still at least a month away from recovery. Nearly a dozen of our city's top chefs—including Greg Higgins, John Gorham, Gabriel Rucker, Vitaly Paley and others—have committed to donate their time and food to a fundraiser that will help offset Kramer's hospital expenses, which continue to grow and will probably exceed $1 million, according to the event's coordinator, Melanie Hammericksen of the Oregon Culinary Institute. Tickets for the evening of appetizers are nearly sold out, she says, but donations to Kramer's fund can be made through any U.S. Bank. Call 961-6213 for tickets.