Two of Portland’s favorite pop-ups, Hunnymilk and Bhuna, just opened their brand-new restaurants, which means there’s room for fresh meat — or a lack thereof. Two new pop-ups just joined the Portland market, including a vegan burger spot on West Burnside and how-do-they-do-that cheap tasting menus on the east side.
The first, Wanna Fight, is the brainchild of Ryan Gaul and Cody Lucchesi, the current executive chef and chef de cuisine at Rosswood in Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill. The food itself is modernist-meets-Big Mac, with dishes like smoked mussel Jell-O shots and grits with oxtail ragu and American cheese. Things don’t go quite that wild across the menu: Subtler dishes include compressed beet with green papaya atchara, as well as a ricotta custard with miso dulce de leche for dessert. Plus, if those combos crash and burn, the dinner’s not much of a sunk cost: A Hunnymilk-style platter of six courses is $15, served in casual dive bars for maximum juxtaposition.
Speaking of Hunnymilk, the pop-up’s new restaurant in Northwest Portland has its own temporary resident on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Secret Sauce, the new vegan burger pop-up from Hunnymilk and Painted Lady vet Donnie Vizzini, specializes in out-there takes on the veggie burger, with kimchi-stacked sandwiches and faux-queso-smothered waffle fries. All of the pop-up’s sauces are totally cashew-based, so vegan eaters need not fret over the special sauce on their Beyond Burgers. Burgers range from the straightforward, like a classic cheeseburger with shredded lettuce and griddled onions, to the elaborate, like the elote burger with charred corn, peppers, onions, pepperjack, and spicy jalapeno ranch sauce.
Wanna Fight’s next dinner will be from 5 p.m. until sold out November 10th at Ship Ahoy Tavern, 2889 SE Gladstone Street. Secret Sauce is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Hunnymilk, 1981 West Burnside Street.