Thursday, April 09, 2009

Quick Bites PDX: Fife's Farewell; Barista is serious!

This just in off of local writer Byron Beck's blog, the news that chef/owner Marco Shaw's Fife Restaurant on NE Fremont will be serving their last supper May 2nd. In his farewell note which Beck posted Shaw didn't give a reason, but the economy more than likely figured in. Makes you wonder who's next.
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I've been following the news (and his twitter feeds) about the opening of ex-Albina Press barista star Billy Wilson's new coffee place, appropriately named Barista, that opened in late February in the "Pearl" here in PDX. The buzz is Wilson takes his coffee very seriously, offering three different beans form US roasters who are equally commited. When I stopped in our own Stumptown was representing, along with Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee and Sonoma County's Ecco Caffé. The space itself is small, but with tables right outside the door in the building lobby, there's plenty of room to handle your soon-to-be induced buzz. His equipment lets you know that Wilson is the cool coffee kid with the toys that other baristas would drool over, including a line of three vacuum pots (below right) for brewing the perfect cup. My own personal coffee standard is a double cappucino with that perfect foam/coffee balance. the only acceptable one I've found so far is at Caffé Umbria, also in the "Pearl". So you know i was on it, and that's when the "I'm in good hands feeling" started. Wilson not only will make a great drink, but will also let you know which of his three coffees will go best with your particular coffee need. For my first capp, I had the Intelligentsia "Black Cat", and it was very smooth and rich. Not quite jittery enough, for my next drink Wilson suggested the Ecco "Ethiopia Beloya", which he said had a distinct berry smell and taste. To bring some order to things I also had one of their lemon-poppyseed scones from the pastry masters at PDX's Nuvrei Bakery. The Beloya coffee was a revelation. I had never had a coffee that tasted like blueberries before, but there it was. Amazing! Wilson is a former barista champion, and his cappucino was perfect. Coffee just intense enough, with a light blanket of foam on top. make sure you check it out, because there is obviously some serious commitment happening here. Next up: espresso shots!

Barista on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Another one bites the dust. Fife was the one truly good restaurant on NE Fremont, an area better known for mediocre Middle Eastern, uninspired vegetarian, greasy burgers, and family friendly pizza joints. Wasn't Marco Shaw looking to open up something on MLK, in the general area of that disaster-formerly-known-as Terroir? From Beck's column, it reads like he's leaving town altogether.

bb said...

It is too bad about Fife. I hear Marco is moving to North Carolina. Not sure what he'll be doing there.