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Stuffing Your Face in PDX — The Healthy Way

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Martin Cizmar moved to Portland last year as a skinny man. I bring up his weight because 1) he struggled with it for years, 2) he wrote an entire book about losing it, and 3) as a new-ish resident of one of the country’s rising culinary meccas, he’d like to keep it off.

In the following guest blog, Cizmar — who’s day job is A&C editor at venerable Portland publication Willamette Week, a paper I also contribute to — offers dine-out tips for PDX tourists and freshly minted citizens alike who want to eat well in the city while also eating well.

Portland wants to make you fat. It’s not, like, a malicious thing. It just sorta happens when a city’s culinary mascots are a bacon-topped doughnut and a plate of chicken wings covered in fish sauce. So much Stumptown food seems to be creamy and bacon-topped: Perfect for bike messengers, but not the rest of us. Yet there are plenty of awesome and very Portlandian food options that won’t make you fat.

I wrote a whole 200-something page hipster weight loss guide about how to stay awesome on a diet—Chubster, which is available now at Powell’s or wherever else people buy books—but here’s a little cheat sheet.

Banh Mi from Best Baguette
8308 SE Powell Boulevard, (503) 788-3098

Banh Mi are Vietnamese sandwiches. Like Subway, they feature a little bit of meat and a pile of vegetables on an light, springy bun. Squirt on some Sriracha and you’re set. As the New York Times notes, they’re big up and down the West Coast. Portland’s Best Baguette is an outlier, though, since the joint has a drive-thru. Yeah, I know, who drives in Portland, right? It’s still cool to see, and they’ll (probably) serve you on a bike.
Order: Grilled Pork, hold the galic mayo, $3.25. Best Baguette doesn’t publish nutrition information but a similar offering from California’s Lee’s Sandwiches is only 300 calories.

Coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW 3rd Ave, (503) 295-6144

Portland’s two favorite beverages are coffee and beer. Any visitor should definitely check out at least one craft brewery (the Rogue and Deschutes tasting rooms do not count) but if you’re doing the tour thing, plan to get caffeinated instead of tipsy. While a pint of most craft brews has 150 calories or more, coffee is, like, five calories per cup. Portland has some of the best coffee roasters in the world, including Stumptown, Coava, Kobos and Ristretto. Stumptown—the original location out on D Street or the downtown location by Voodoo Doughnut—offer great experiences. The location on Belmont does free tastings…erm, “cuppings,” every day, which is an joyfully geeky experience.
Order: Any of the single-origin beans, made with the Chemex pour-over system. Price varies.

Apples from Sheridan Fruit Market
409 SE Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, (503) 236-2113

If it’s summer and Portland’s farmers markets are in full swing, you should plan to stop by with a tote bag and a wad of cash. If it’s winter, it’s rainy and cold, so that’s not really an option. Great produce is still available at Food Front, New Seasons and Sheridan Fruit Market. The latter has been around since 1916 and has a small-but-excellent, local-oriented selection. This is a big berry town (marionberries!) but this time of year it’s a lot easier to find Pacific Northwest apples.
Order: A pound of Fortune apples, approximately $2. A large apple has only about 110 calories.

Meringue from Petite Provence
1824 NE Alberta, (503) 284-6564

Bakeries are a challenge for dieters. Portland has a lot of very excellent offerings (Ken’s Artisan, Little T American, St. Jack, Pix) but most tend to make large and dense pastries topped with sugary concoctions. Petite Provence is a little too elegant to be a hipster hangout, but with locations on Alberta and D Street and very light meringue cookies in the case, you should visit. Meringues are made with egg whites and a little sugar which, when baked, give a cookie-like crunch without the calories of a dense dough. PP does fun ones in the shapes of dogs and chickens, and they’re both cheap and low in calories.
Order: Meringue cookie, $2. Depending on the size, it probably has between 100 and 200 calories.

Omelet at Stepping Stone Cafe
2390 NW Quimby St, (503) 222-1132

Portland is a huge brunch town—possibly because it’s also a sleeping-in-until-noon town—which offers both the chance to skip a meal and the chance to stuff yourself full of pork and baked goods. Omelets are the way to go: protein-packed and low in calories, especially if you get egg whites and veggies inside. Stepping Stone is a cute little diner in Northwest Portland that’ll do egg whites for a small upcharge and replace your hash browns with cottage cheese or tomato slices for free.
Order: The Grazing Goat (spinach, artichoke, portabella mushrooms and feta cheese) with egg whites, wheat toast and cottage cheese on the side, $11. This will be about 750 calories.


Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…