Video: ManHauls Meets Secret Aardvark

I became a huge fan of YouTube dudes ManHauls awhile back while researching BirchBox Men reviews. Bucky and Matt made me seriously LOL, so I subscribed to their channel. When they did a ‘lil video about their impressive hot sauce collection, I immediately noticed it was missing something important: Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce!

I knew I needed to remedy that massive missing piece in their collection (die-hard ‘Bama fans, or not), so I sent them of a bottle.

What I didn’t expect was that they’d make a sweet video about their thoughts and feelings on the sauce. Check out the video above to see how many ManHauls “beards” they awarded Secret Aardvark!

Of course, if you live in Portland and don’t already know about Secret Aardvark, you’re not just missing the boat, you’re missing the mf’ing yacht of hot sauces. It’s truly the best around…even if a bottle will set you back about $6 and it can be hard to find.

Secret Aardvark has two other saucy varieties: the Drunken Garlic Black Bean and the Drunken Jerk (not to be confused with the PDX bridge-and-tunnel crowd at Blitz or Splash Bar or The Crown Room or Barrel Room or…OK, OK, just jokin’).

Currently Secret Aardvark is available at various retail outlets in Oregon and Washington (and one random shop in NYC), but you can also order the spicy stuff online.

Also, be sure to check out ManHauls’ awesome beauty guru wives over at EleventhGorgeous!

Photo Gallery: Cosmic Soda Pop & Candy Shop

Cosmic Soda Pop & Candy Shop
(formerly Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop)
817 SE 34th Avenue (between Belmont and Morrison)
Portland, Oregon 97214
Map It!
Ph: 503-894-8980
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Candy money: $$
Rating: ★★★★½

With more than 200 varieties of unique and hard-to-find bottled sodas, more retro candy than you could ever desire, a counter-service soda fountain with floats, malts, shakes and egg creams, how could you go wrong?!

Also, did I mention the shrine to Portland icon “Ramblin’ Rod” (the charismatic hero to children growing up in PDX from the ‘70s to the ‘90s*)?

Seriously, what could be more fun than that??!!

Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop, which opened in January in the Belmont Dairy Building, offers a convenient trip back to your childhood and a place for modern kids to explore some sweet treats from the past.

There’s free Wi-Fi and lots of space to peruse the products or simply sit, relax and enjoy a fountain drink.

This is a great place to stop on a rainy afternoon or a cool destination for a weekend bike ride…or just pop in anytime you are looking for some fun!

My only complaint is that I found TOO much candy I wanted to buy, and they don’t currently seem to offer baskets to carry around as you explore the store—but you can stash your growing candy pile at the counter while you shop.

[*Note: I was a Ramblin’ Rod Smile Contest winner, but my sugar-conscious mother never let me drink the Pop Shoppe grape soda I received as my prize. I guess I can have all the Pop Shoppe grape soda I want now!! Take that, Mom! ☺]

Stumptown Profile: Beaverton Foods

Beaverton Foods
Website | Twitter | Facebook
By Sarah Keech
Photos by Matt Wong

If you’re anything like me, you’ve loved Beaver Brand mustards and horseradish products for a long time. But, did you know they’re all produced in the Portland area? Did you know the entire company came out of the trials and tribulations of a young mother just trying to survive the Great Depression?

I was recently invited to tour Beaverton Foods, and learning the history and visiting the spot where these quality products are made has certainly made me a lifelong fan…well, it really didn’t take too much convincing!

The History

Times were tight in 1929 in Beaverton, Oregon, so when Rose Biggi needed to put food on her family’s table, she became resourceful. She ground and bottled horseradish from her family’s farmland and traded it for local butcher’s meat to use in her spaghetti sauce.

A few years later, Rose had a chance meeting with Eve Meyer, the wife of Fred G. Meyer, who at the time was just opening up his first supermarket in downtown Portland. Rose began selling her horseradish at the new Fred Meyer store, which was no small feat as, at that time, traveling to downtown Portland from Beaverton was an all day journey and there were no paved roads. (And you thought travelling on Highway 26 was bad!)

Those small initial endeavors have evolved into what is now Beaverton Foods, the largest specialty condiment producer in the United States.

Rose’s son, Gene Biggi, now 83, is the current president and the driving force behind the company’s expansion in the condiment market, but growing this specialty company took many years and many, many taste tests to get to where it is now.

Gene initially expanded the business by creating the company’s first mustard, which all came about while he was on a date with his girlfriend at a Chinese food restaurant in Beaverton when he was only 19. Inspired by the flavor the restaurant’s hot mustard, Gene asked the chef how it was made and then set out to recreate the product in a more consumer-friendly manner. The resulting product, Hot Chinese Mustard, took two to three years for him to develop and perfect, and it can still be found in stores today.

With a keen eye for what his customers are looking for, Gene is also responsible for the first gourmet Sweet and Hot Mustard made in the U.S., and first Honey Mustard to be made and sold anywhere.

A constant innovator, Gene is credited as one of the first in the condiment marketplace to realize the importance of using plastic squeeze bottles instead of glass in the bottling process to ensure safety, freshness and ease of use for his customers.

The Company Today

More than 80 years and four generations later, the company remains loyal to its Washington County roots and business is thriving. Beaverton Foods is the corporate umbrella for many of the condiment brands you see in your grocery store and restaurants, including Beaver Brand and Inglehoffer. In fact, their products can be found in 98 percent of grocery stories in the U.S.

The business remains controlled by the Biggi family, with Gene’s son, Domonic, is the Executive Vice President and his grandson, Jeffrey, serves as the Food Service Manager.

Innovation and an eye for the future are still very important to their business. Some of their latest products to hit the market directly incorporate a growing food trend: bacon. But unlike similar bacon condiments (i.e., bacon mayonnaise), their products are healthier (low in fat, cholesterol and calories), yet the bacon flavor is bold.

Beaverton Foods is also taking on a new product line, authentic wasabi. In December 2010, the company purchased Pacific Farms of Florence to expand into the real wasabi market—which is very rare outside of Japan. With wasabi, the company added new equipment to their facility for processing and they hope to increase their wasabi sales as the national sushi trend continues to flourish.

The company employs about 80 people at their Hillsboro manufacturing plant, and the Biggis are pleased that even through the tough days of our recent recession they never had to lay anyone off.

The Biggi family and Beaverton Foods certainly exemplify Oregon’s pioneer spirit that hard work, ingenuity and innovation do pay off.

So let us know: What’s your favorite Beaverton Food product?

Review: Skyline Restaurant

Skyline Restaurant
1313 NW Skyline Boulevard
Portland, OR 97229
503-292-6727
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Rating: ★★★★½

Foodies around the world know the name James Beard, one of the most acclaimed American chefs of all time, so it’s a little odd to see a browned-with-age newspaper clipping framed on the wall at Skyline touting Beard’s professed devotion for this tiny retro diner’s burgers.

I happen to share Beard’s devotion to Skyline, and I have been visiting for more than two decades. Even though I don’t live as close as I did growing up, the food and atmosphere keep calling me back and Skyline never fails to satisfy.

Established in 1935, you would guess by looking at the former drive-in that very little has probably changed since the days when teenagers cruised up through the West Hills to enjoy some late-night hamburgers and milkshakes.

The drive-in service is gone, but the burgers and shakes survive. The dining area is a smattering of cozy booths and a handful of stools at the counter, all of which tend to fill up quickly during peak hours. The wood paneled walls are covered with children’s crayon drawings, mementos collected over their years in business and lots and lots of business cards (some pinned to the wall four or five deep). All of which add to the charm of this bygone-era establishment, but also take into account that their bygone-era approach means this is a cash only restaurant. (They do have an on-site ATM.)

The menu is plentiful and retains a definite diner feel with some modern upgrades (like the vegan black bean burger), but the main draw to Skyline is the burgers with their toasted, buttery buns. Continue reading Review: Skyline Restaurant

Review: Rose’s (Lloyd location)

Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery
(Lloyd Center location)
1200 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97232
503-954-2758
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Rating: ★★★★½

On a recent rainy, dreary Portland day, my lunch partner and I were looking for some hearty comfort food to get us through the bleakness that is fall in the Pacific Northwest. We took off toward Lloyd Center hoping to find something new and, hopefully, really tasty.

Rose’s isn’t exactly a new name in the Portland restaurant scene. The original Rose’s deli and bakery opened in 1956 over on NW 23rd Avenue. Since that time the restaurant has grown to six locations across the metro area. The Lloyd Center location is the newest, which opened in July 2008.

The reason Rose’s has been able to flourish over the past 50 years is simple: the food is great and the service is outstanding. The menu is packed with deli goodness, like Rose’s Famous Reubens, half-pound burgers, specialty sandwiches, pasta dishes, a plethora of salads and tummy-warming soups (including the popular Matzo Ball). And don’t forget the meat-friendly house specialties like pot roast, baby back ribs, meatloaf and pork chops.

When we arrived the restaurant was pretty dead, so we were seated quickly at one of the large booths. The walls of this Rose’s location are lined with flat-screen TVs and there are two quirky Portland-themed murals, which add to the bright and light atmosphere. Continue reading Review: Rose’s (Lloyd location)

Review: Fire on the Mountain (East Burnside)

Fire on the Mountain
1708 East Burnside
Portland, Oregon 97214
503-230-9464
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Rating: ★★★★½

Wings, oh, lovely wings! Who doesn’t love a great wings place, right? Sure, you could trek out to the lone Hooters left in Oregon at Jantzen Beach, but for a great local wings place, you really should visit Fire on the Mountain—which now has two locations. Not only are the wings great, but the selection of sauces is outstanding.

Portland was a little behind the wings trend for years and years, and Fire on the Mountain’s initial location on North Interstate was really the first GOOD wing-specializing place in town (seriously, you can’t count Hooters, puh-lease) when they opened up in 2005. The original location is teeny-tiny, so if you go be prepared to wait for a table or just order take-out. The new East Burnside location is larger and very airy, but it’s also known to fill up fast during lunchtime.

When you approach the counter to give your order, you can actually taste-test the sauces on small pieces of celery. This is a great way to try out any sauces you might usually be afraid to try on an entire order of wings, so go ahead, dip that celery stick in “El-Jefe” and let the burning sensation begin. Continue reading Review: Fire on the Mountain (East Burnside)

Review: No Fish! Go Fish!

No Fish! Go Fish!
3962 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, Oregon 97214
503-235-5378
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Rating: ★★★★☆

I woke up today feeling a little under the weather, but I managed to make it to my lunch appointment with friends at No Fish! Go Fish! Lucky for me the restaurant specializes in comfort food like soup and stuffed sandwiches—and no, despite the name, it’s not a fish place.

The soup menu actually changes daily. Today’s selections were cream of basil, potato with roasted peppers, lentil and black bean minestrone. If you are headed to the restaurant or the food cart location (located at 5th and Yamhill downtown) you can check out their daily menu at their Web site.

If soup isn’t what you’re in the mood for, their cute fish-shaped stuffed sandwiches should satisfy whatever you are craving. From turkey and cheese to the more creative refried bean with pico de gallo, the fish-shaped sandwiches kind of reminded me of healthy and hearty homegrown Hot Pockets. The sandwiches also come in desert versions, like chocolate with banana and apple cinnamon. Continue reading Review: No Fish! Go Fish!

Review: Virginia Café

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Virginia Café
NEW ADDRESS: 820 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR
503-227-0033
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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[Editor’s Note: It’s official, the Virginia Cafe has moved to 820 SW 10th Avenue, just across from the library. We are planning to check out the new digs and let you know what we think very soon!]

Over the weekend I had probably my last lunch at the Virginia Café at its current location on SW Park Avenue. You see, just over a year ago the landmark restaurant and bar announced they would have to close down or move because the building within which they are housed is going to be torn down to become yet another shiny retail/condo high-rise. Luckily, the owners have found a new location for VC, but now it’s time to say goodbye to the old dwelling.

Sure, the place itself is nothing fancy; the décor is kitschy, the upstairs bathroom is pretty scary and nonsmokers curse the free-for-all smoking policy (that will change in the new location as they will be going non-smoking).

But there is something undeniably charming, cozy and Old Portland about the location they are vacating. Where else hipsters mix with preppy downtown workers mix with 50-somethings without batting an eye? If Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland’s “living room” then VC is Portland’s den with a wet bar. Continue reading Review: Virginia Café

Review: Bellagio’s Pizza


Bellagio’s Pizza (Goose Hollow location)
1742 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR
503-221-0110
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Rating: ★★★★½

Most of us have been there, that day when you really just struggle to get out of bed because maybe you stayed out a little too late the night before and, just maybe, had a few more cocktails than you had originally planned to imbibe.

Well, Bellagio’s is one of my favorite hangover-curing lunch spots. Not only is the pizza completely flavorful and stomach-filling, but they offer a unique variety of combination pizzas or you can create your own pie. So, even if you don’t have a hangover to cure, Bellagio’s is a great place for Portland-style pizza.  Continue reading Review: Bellagio’s Pizza

HH Review: Portland City Grill

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Portland City Grill
111 SW Fifth Avenue, 30th Floor
Portland, OR
503-450-0030
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★½

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This is THE happy hour experience you must do at least once if you are in Stumptown. That is, if you can get a table! My best advice: come early.

The lunch menu at Portland City Grill is certainly on the splurge side of the StumptownLunch.com budget, but if you want to taste the amazing food, gaze at the eagle-eye view and save a lot of cash, go for happy hour. Happy hour runs from 4:30 to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday, 10 pm to midnight Monday through Thursday and (get this) from 4 pm to close on Sunday! There is beverage minimum of $2.75 per person, but that’s easy to fulfill with a nice chilled beer or one of their delicious cocktails. Sure, the drinks are on the pricey side, but the experience is worth it. Continue reading HH Review: Portland City Grill