Friday, October 26, 2012

5 noteworthy things to do in portland's foster-powell neighborhood

Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood sits at the center of several southeast neighborhoods whose borders blend together and the people share parks, bars, bike lanes, and food carts. Affectionately dubbed FoPo, the area is rich in diversity and the variety of businesses in the community reflect this. As new venues crop up to complement neighborhood staples, a flux of new and old, youthful and aged, Vietnamese, Eastern European and American residents come together to shape a district in transformation.

EAT: Transcontinental Coalescence

Originally a commercial supplier, FoPo’s An Xuyen Bakery might be most popular for its $3.99 bánh mì and Vietnamese iced coffee special. Yet, the expert provider of fresh, daily, natural French bread still supplies loaves to bánh mì joints, restaurants and grocers all over town, as well as the next door Foster Burger with speciality brioche buns. Stop in for a to-go lunch, add a pork or veggie (cabbage, carrots, noodles) bao if you’re extra hungry, and top it off with a selection of fresh-baked sweets—choose from a variety of tropical cookies (like guava or pineapple), towering puff pastries, red velvet cupcakes, or sugar-covered, deep-fried Hawaiian doughnuts.

An Xuyen Bakery, 5345 SE Foster Road, 503.788.0866

SHOP: Multifariously Eastern European

Besides a handful of easily recognizable brand names, most of the products lining the shelves of Good Neighbor European Deli Market are utterly foreign—and that’s not just because many of the labels are written in Cyrillic. With an impressive selection of canned fish, herbal remedies, teas, and sunflower seeds, Good Neighbor offers more than 70 varieties of meat with a cold case dedicated to baloney, two for salami, one for smoked and dried fish, and another for Eastern European cheeses, as well as a freezer full of pelmeni and perogi dumplings. A rear corner features a wall of colorfully wrapped, assorted candies in bins, but owner Alex Shkurov, who runs the grocery with his brother Slava, says he’d “take a pickled cucumber over candy” any day. Pickled goods, like cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, are amongst the in-house specialities made using old-fashioned recipes that don’t use vinegar, while other rarities include jars of pickled apples and watermelon. Other highly recommended and hard-to-find items include house-baked Georgian flat bread and German rye-based breads as well as cheesy puff pastries. And if anything starts to feel too unfamiliar, ask for a sample and the staff will gladly oblige.

Good Neighbor European Deli Market, 4107 SE 82nd Ave., 503.771.5171

Find three more things to do in Foster-Powell on Neighborhood Notes.

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