the bybee bridge re-opens, december 2004

Gastronaut 12

Well kids, this will be the last installment of the Gastronaut for this semester, and I’d like to thank any and all of you who have bothered to read my columns, despite their occasional shitty quality. Long-live last minute writing, right? Anyway, I’ve got a lot of other shit I should be doing right now, so I’ll crank out this one and call it a year.

The bybee bridge has re-opened, so now, dear readers, it’s much less of a pain in the ass to reach the many fine restaurants that dot Milwaukie, from Holgate to Tacoma. I realize that there are many of you who have never wandered that general direction in search of sustenance, so I’ll list off some of the good ones:

Papa Haydn East (5829 SE Milwaukie Ave) and Caprial’s Bistro (7015 SE Milwaukie Ave): Pricy northwest cuisine. Wine lists, waiters who have more expensive pants than you do. I mentioned Papa Haydn in the ‘date’ column three weeks ago. A Reed professor, who shall remain nameless, confessed to me that the only time he’s had fun at Caprial’s was while ‘totally drunk.’ That, and if you’ve ever seen her show on PBS, you’ll want to kill her, not eat her food.

Papaya Thai (7202 SE Milwaukee) & Stickers (6808 SE Milwaukie Ave): I’d pick Stickers over Papaya any day, because Stickers has a much more innovative approach to their food: they actually serve things you can’t get elsewhere, and they have different ideas about the ‘standards’ of south Asian cuisine. The owners of Stickers say their restaurant is based on south Asian street food. Any traveler will tell you, street food is where the fun is.

Springwater Grill (6716 SE Milwaukie Ave), Adobe Rose Café (1634 SE Bybee Blvd), & Taqueria San Felipe (6221 SE Milwaukie Ave): Springwater serves really eclectic food, but the décor is sickeningly southwestern kitch, to the point that I’ve only eaten there once, and I wasn’t greatly impressed. If you’re a good chess player, go beat the bartender and get a free drink. Speaking of southwestern kitsch, Adobe Rose serves ‘New Mexican’ food (in the sense of the state of America, not some kind of Bobby Flay new (modern) Mexican cuisine). I can’t bring myself to eat there. They use the Tohono O’o’dham symbol for ‘boner’ as their sign. I can’t handle it. Someone told me their chili con queso was good. As for San Felipe, it’s the best Mexican food within waking distance of Reed.

Saburos (1667 SE Bybee Blvd): I’ve mentioned Saburos numerous times. It’s nice to have good cheap sushi available again. Visit them.

A cautionary note about Tartine (1621 SE Bybee Blvd): A little birdie (actually, a flock of birdies) informed me that it has changed management, the prices have risen (significantly) and the portions have shrunk (considerably). The Turkish birdie told me his food looked comically small on his oversized plate. Note to any restaurant owners who might read this. If you’re going to chop portion sizes, get new plates. Oh, and quality, service and general atmosphere has suffered as well. (update: Tartine is now closed)

I bid you all goodbye for the winter, and thanks for reading.