With an influx of younger home buyers intermingling with the blue-collar lifers and long-standing Russian and East Asian communities, Foster-Powell is booming. Once the gateway to the then significantly grimier Lents, Foster-Powell has changed remarkably during the past few years, and those changes could be felt even more if the city proceeds with plans to shrink busy Foster Road down to two lanes. While some of the neighborhood's more colorful elements might be on the way out, the changes have helped Foster-Powell thrive. How that shrinking road affects it is very much for the neighborhood—both new residents and old heads—to decide.
An Xuyen Bakery, 5345 SE Foster Road.
Devils Point, 5305 SE Foster Road.
I Heart Retro, 6927 SE Foster Road.
Tango Berretin, 6305 SE Foster Road.
Southeast Foster Road and 72nd Avenue, portlandmercado.org. Lunch and dinner daily.
For a city that constantly bitches about all these Southern California transplants jacking up prices, there's long been a serious shortfall of reliable Latin American street food. That makes the row of carts in front of Portland Mercado—a sprawling Latino wonderland featuring produce, a carniceria, even a candy store—a godsend. You can get bites from all over the Mexican states, fat pupusas, burritos and tlayuda, but really, the best bet is to make a point to stop at each of these carts to see what your neighbor from Oxnard keeps complaining we don't have here. $.
An Xuyen Bakery
5345 SE Foster Road, 503-788-0866. Breakfast-early dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Banh mi is a dime a dozen these days. More accurately, "high-end" versions are everywhere, and usually for $10 a pop. Not at this old-school PDX classic, which still slangs its meatballs and pork roll for under $5, with a bakery's worth of cream puffs and Vietnamese pastries to boot. Get the sweet iced coffee and some extra, perfect baguettes to go. $.
8140 SE Cora St., 503-206-8000, thegyrohouse.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
The long-grain saffron rice that comes with Gyro House's lamb-packed, sauce-soaked pitas is wonderful, as are the honey-soft desserts, like moshabak—deep-fried dough strings soaked in what must surely seem an obscenely sweet sauce to anyone more accustomed to panaderia pastries. $.
Road Runner BBQ
5205 SE Foster Road, 503-310-2837. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Hot damn. Portland's in a barbecue boom. 'Bout time. The brisket from this weirdly Chief Wiggum-emblazoned cart is among the city's best-barked wonders, pairing beautifully with that Velveeta-y mac and cheese as well as the onsite bar that calls the Carts on Foster home. $.
6424 SE Powell Blvd., 503-206-4344. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Rose VL gives you a choice between two different bowls of plush heaven: A subtle tom yum puts the usual amped-up galangal bomb to shame, while a light chicken noodle with bamboo shoots is rich with marrow and undercut by the slightest hint of earthy herb and ginger. $.
Salt and Pepper
6611 SE Powell Blvd., 503-757-8255. Lunch and dinner daily.
Salt and Pepper, a sit-down Peruvian place in the back end of the Tienda El Campesino store, is a temple of beef, whether lomo saltado—a mixed grill of charred steak, fries and vegetables—or a note-perfect seco de res, essentially a dried-beef stew. $.
Tacos Chavez Express 2
5222 SE Foster Road, 503-926-1506, facebook.com/tacoscex2. Brunch-dinner Monday-Saturday.
Tacos Chavez's pocket of crisped housemade flour tortilla folded around a mess of starchy fries, char-flecked half-pound of delicious carne asada, bright guac, magmal flow of cheese and piquant pico de gallo is what other burritos would ogle if burritos made pornography. $.
6014 SE Foster Road, 503-777-4217, tambayancuisine.com. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Mark it: Filipino food's blowing up. But while you can get a taste at Clyde Common, Tambayan's the closest thing to a traditional family meal you can get in Portland. That means delicious chicken adobo—simmered in soy and vinegar—and crispy lechon pork belly by the pile. $.
5305 SE Foster Road, 503-774-4513, devilspoint.net.
What makes DP the perfect Portland strip club? Is it the fact that it could easily be just a dark punk bar were it not for the tatted women who are more Suicide than silicone? The cheap drinks? The infamous Stripperoke? It's all of that. This is the strip club you always dreamed of when people talk about titty bars in Stumptown.
6350 SE Foster Road, 503-805-7342, nwipa.beer.
N.W.I.P.A.'s Jackson Wyatt knows what he likes, and what he likes are hops. If it's on tap at N.W.I.P.A., it will be hoppy, fresh and very good. Take note that Wyatt is also a food hound, which means that among the tap takeovers, he will also persuade food carts to park outside, or just go out front to grill.
6535 SE Foster Road, 503-777-0495, omalleyspdx.weebly.com.
The requisite Irish-ish dive bar—cavernous, pool-tabled, surly—gets a punk/metal facelift at O'Malley's, a place so committed to lack of pretension that it hosts an annual Macro Brew Fest with tallboys as a gag. It also, weirdly, has great wood-fired Sicilian pizza.
5532 SE Center St., 503-445-6649.
Slingshot might have lost a little clout as more bars sprung up around it, but that shouldn't dissuade folks from making this a go-to local, if only for the cheap beer-whiskey combos, the big-ass booths and, most importantly, the game room on the side, packed with pinball and foosball.
5522 SE Foster Road, 503-444-7433, fosterbuds.com.
Don't sleep on Foster Buds, a humble shop that always seems to have the dream team of rare strains and pumped-up classics. Foster Buds carries some harder-to-find stuff, too, like CBD edibles, clones and even Thai sticks.
I Heart Retro
6927 SE Foster Road, 503-287-3764, iheartretro.com.
A one-stop shop for folks looking to mod up their homes with vintage midcentury furniture, I Heart Retro serves as the neighborhood's best spot for secondhand couches without fleas, kitschy decor, stereo cabinets and anything else you might need to give your home that aesthetically dated look.
Red Castle Games
6406 SE Foster Road, 503-774-4263, redcastlegames.com.
Gaming—the Dungeons & Dragons kind—has become a huge thing in Portland, and Red Castle is the eastside's go-to place for players at any skill level. Magic the Gathering? Eldritch Horror? The old D&D? Here's where your new best friends hang for upgrades, starter kits and tourneys.
4932 SE Foster Road, 503-775-2210.
For nerds of a certain vintage, Variety Shop is an island paradise of misfit media. The front of the house is loaded with CDs and vinyl, while in the back VHS tapes are stacked from floor to ceiling, both on shelves and in actual midfloor piles.
Second Saturday Foster Art Walk
4-8 pm second Saturday of the month.
Whenever a neighborhood starts splashing, an art walk is never far behind. Second Saturday is Foster-Powell's answer to First and Last Thursday, and while it's still been a slow build between galleries, things can only go up. Plus, free wine will bring anyone out to look at art.
6305 SE Foster Road, 503-771-7470, tangoberretin.com.
A passion project ("passion" must be used when talking tango), Alex Krebs' Tango Berretin looks like it could house a questionable churrascaria with its windowless stucco exterior. In fact, what it offers is intensive (and laid-back) Argentine tango lessons and dance events for beginners and advanced dancers. Whether you're looking for a good date or to get hot and sweaty—as was intended—this is your place.