Photo of Ned Ludd courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Oregonian's Michael Russell throws down some verses about Ned Ludd's Monday-night pizza pop-up P.R.E.A.M., bestowing one star upon Nick Ford and Brandon Gomez's hip-hop-infused concept. Among several music comparisons (the menu's "broken down like a song," into sections that effectively function as intro, verse, and chorus), Russell professes it's a catchy tune: "It's hard to pick a favorite among the P.R.E.A.M. team's pies," though he chooses a winner in a honey-drizzled smoked mozzarella and kale pie, which elicited a "swoon."
There are a few "record skips here and there," including over-salted almonds and a pizza crust that often fires "dry, even brittle." But add in the energetic atmosphere and cocktails "inspired by the soda fountain at your childhood pizzeria," and Russell seems to be having a great time. "Right now, this might be the most fun anyone's having at a Portland restaurant." [OregonLive]
Two weeks back, the Mercury's Andrea Damewood tackled the resurrected version of Taqueria Nueve, the first print review for Billy Schumaker's much-anticipated restaurant comeback. After asserting Schumaker's menu is "still well worth queuing up for," the review unfolds into a five-step program of recommendations: the Caesar con ceviche (a contender for the "best garlicky dressing in town"), enchiladas verdes, and tres leches cake ("a layered slice of good") among them.
Other dishes inspired more detailed instructions, like wild boar and carnitas taco: "Top the tongue with the smoky red salsa that's delivered when you sit down. To the carnitas, add the tangy green salsa." And the final pro-tip brings it home: "Try to avoid slipping into a sweet food-induced siesta on your way home." [Mercury]
WWeek offers a joint mini-review of N. Williams' shared baking operations, Frice Pastry and Philippe's Bread, discovering machinery right out of Star Wars and lots of things to like. For baker Philippe Garcia, there's praise for his " flaky baguettes" and "chewy ciabatta," although Alissa Frice's pastry case provides "an even better reason to visit." A banana cream tart is deemed "fresh and classy," but a yuzu chiboust receives the highest marks: "It was light and faintly sweet and a little grassy, like the first whiff of summer." [WW]
One more from the Merc's Andrea Damewood: After admitting a skeptic bias against small plates, Damewood finds "bizarre yet deeply satisfying meals" at eclectic small-plates spot the American Local. Among the successes: "sublime" roasted carrots, striped bass "that could hold its own at any of the city's fine sushi establishments," and cocktails containing house-made bitters so good that Damewood's dining companion carted some home in a Dixie cup. The latter detail speaks to the Local's service, which remained impressive throughout: "When we left, the chef asked us how we liked it and really listened when we answered. That's good treatment for folks at the end of a long night on the New West drinking frontier." [Mercury]
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]