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DID YOU READ

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
thebestbaguette.com, (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
stumptowncoffee.com, (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
sheridanfruit.com, (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
provence-portland.com, (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
steppingstonecafe.com, (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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.