First stop: The south of France- in SE Portland.

Yes, I’ve promised to deliver reports of food, wine, and everything in between from far-away locales. But I’m here in P-town for a couple more weeks and hey, sometimes you only need to go down the road to discover something really special.

SO, our journey begins right here in hipster heaven SE Portland, where cheap burritos and PBR are just as popular as fresh oysters and muscadet. And really, that’s the beauty of this town- you simply can’t pin down one or two or even three dominant food/wine cultures, and you can never, ever judge a book by it’s cover. And so, when my cheese-monger friend and I slipped into Bar Avignon a couple of weeks ago on a rainy Thursday night, I really didn’t know what to expect.

avignon

The last time I was in this building on lower Division, there were dreadlocked kids ordering chai and coffee drinks, as it used to be the Red and Black Cafe. What a difference… The interior leans towards a clean, simple style, but the lighting and colors give this space an inviting and comfortable vibe. Now, I should say that I, by chance, knew our server but I can also tell you that everybody who walked in there that night, whether they were a young, artsy couple, or an older pair of women, probably just off from work, were treated like VIPs.

If any of you know Randy Goodman, the proprietor along with his partner Nancy, you already know that he’s as cool as a cucumber. That is, he’s got enough wine and food experience to come across as privileged, occupied, and waaaaay too serious. He’s none of the above. After our food and drink, Randy showed us the back wine room, complete with family-style table, where folks can reserve a private dinner and check out most or all of Bar Avignon’s wine choices. In short, we were treated like family or friends would be.

The menu is full of savory small dishes, both hot and cold and, not surprisingly, a stellar wine list. Many places that have an impressive wine list don’t always treat you right when it comes to glass pour options. Not here. I had a glass of  Cave de Saumur “Les Pouches”, a beautiful, dry chenin blanc from France’s Loire valley. It paired wonderfully with our salt cod brandade…

All right, enough already. Did the folks at Bar Avignon butter me up with food and wine to write such a gleaming “review”? Nah. They didn’t know I was coming, don’t know I have this blog, and I know Randy only very casually. What can I say? I had a great experience for cheap- so should you. And I wasn’t even in France. Yet.

Sante!

Jared

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~ by Jared on March 14, 2009.

4 Responses to “First stop: The south of France- in SE Portland.”

  1. BA is comfortably classy, easy to feel relaxed and special at the same time; good review!

  2. I’m definitely gonna check it out. Anything good enough for J is good enough for me! Go vikes!

  3. Score one for SE PDX… You’d dig this place, Matt. Hope you’re well.

    Cheers,
    J

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