Fresh Produce is Coming to Foster. Buy Some.

You’ve begged and pleaded; prayed and hoped. You asked your neighbor who works with someone who knows the son of the owner of New Seasons. Or Green Zebra. Or whoever isn’t shitty Fred Meyer.

“Set up shop on Foster! Give us healthy food.”

But, no.

Foster’s a risk, maybe. I mean, we are sorta this no-man’s-land surrounded by Safeway, Fred Meyer, Walmart, Walgreens, and Trader Joe’s. I guess not all’s bad then. But that’s like saying we’re surrounded by McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell, so we’d be fine without good burger or taco options. Wait, that was us. Once. Now we have Foster Burger and many good taco options. See, progress is to be had.

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This happened once in the neighborhood. Can we do it again?

But back to the produce thing. We fantasize about easy access to fresh and healthy food. Instead, we make do with our little corner of organics in a little corner of the worstest Fred Meyer ever. Ever.

So we clamor for more. (At least we have a rad fruit stand nearby.)

Well, more is happening. Even if just temporarily. Our neighborhood purveyor of all things hoppy and great, N.W.I.P.A., will be hosting Cascade Organic Thursday for a farmer’s market of sorts.

Say what?!?! Farmer’s market?

Yes. From 5 – 8 p.m., THIS THURSDAY, Cascade Organic will be setting up shop inside N.W.I.P.A. and selling fresh and organic produce, as well as portioned seafood for purchase. (Why hasn’t anybody else thought of selling beer and produce simultaneously yet?) What’s more, this may not be a one-time deal. If turnout is proper (hint: you better show the hell up and buy stuff), the owner of Cascade Organic may return for another go-around. And if proper turnout continues (hint: keep showing the hell up and buy stuff), who knows, maybe they’ll see Foster is the place to be (and set up shop permanently somewhere). I mean, we all know that Foster’s the place to be. Now we have to convince the outlanders.

Thursday, 7/24, from 5 – 8 p.m.. Do it.

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Cafe Red and the Growing Empire of Red Castle

Cafe RedCafe Red really does, in fact, cometh. We weren’t just blowing smoke. (Hey, the sign told us so.)

At the time, we could only excite in our own speculation. We knew there was an idea of a game-themed cafe. We knew the gamers would be there. And we knew they’d probably caffeinate themselves. One could only induce, then, that they’d stay longer into the night.

But we didn’t know the scope of the project when we first heard of the plan, and we could have easily just assumed it would be as simple as adding an espresso machine to an expanding game store.

It isn’t, though. It’s more than that. And it’s exciting.

Foster PlazaFirst, a bit of history.

Once, there was a coffee shop in this plaza: Guapo Comics and Coffee. But that was before they were in the space next to the dart store…before they closed..and before N.W.I.P.A. moved in.  In its wake? A lonely pipe-store-private-pot-club anchoring one end, and a poker room at the other. Red Castle joined them in 2010, only to have the others leave shortly after. Red Castle then moved into the bigger end space, and the martial arts studio soon took the other. The Portland Ketchup Company eventually set up shop, leaving just the original game space as the last empty storefront. With the remaining space available, Red Castle pounced. Boom, world domination. And for the first time in a long, long time, the plaza is full.

Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 8.29.02 PMOne more bit of history.

There is a precedent for thriving business in this commercial strip. The space that we now know as Foster Plaza was once a grocery store. Yep, the Foster District had its own grocery store with fresh produce and all. The owner of that store had some kids…and then those kids had kids and brothers…and they now own the current space. And thanks to Matthew Mičetić, the Red Castle gang, and the cafe’s project manager, Natalie Caulkins, some glory is being restored to the building.

What was originally posed as a late-night cafe for gamers–where coffee and snacks would fuel the neighboring customers–is, well, just that…but way more radder and awesomer and nerdier and fantastical. Sure, it’s a cafe. Coffee, espresso…great. But, paninis? And soup? Yes! And a doughnut robot (yes, a doughnut robot). And fancy, game-themed tables to dine/drink/play on. All of that. Plus they have plans to build a full kitchen for an expanded menu. Aaaand…they’ll be open until two or three in the morning.

IMG_1265Whoa! I haven’t been this excited since the city said they’d start construction on the Foster Streetscape Plan in 2014. That won’t happen. So this is my new fascination.

It should be yours, too. Here are the specifics:

Read above. Or read it again here: espresso, paninis, soup, doughnuts, shaved ice, kitchen, game-themed tables, and late nights. Oh, and they won’t even be competing with Pieper or Speedboat–doors won’t open until 4 p.m.

“So you’re telling me you’ll be able to do more than just drink on Foster at night?”

Yes. Even more reason to be excited. And someday–when they build their planned full kitchen–you’ll be able to eat pizza (maybe) or burgers (perhaps). That’s another dinner option. And that many more people walking up and down Foster. And that many more people hanging out at night that aren’t just part of the bar scene.

IMG_1264First thing’s first, though. Cafe Red is scheduled to open later in the Fall, maybe as late as December. The cafe will have its own entrance on Foster, with an adjoining window (where orders could be placed) or door connecting to the game store. (The window vs door concept is undecided.) The space itself will have a kitchen in the back with the cafe positioned either in front of it (leaving the front open for seating) or closer to the front windows (where the doughnut robot could be properly displayed by the sidewalk). Between it all will be tables and sitting areas. You’ll be able to order espresso drinks, soups, sandwiches, and get a donut from the robot.

“But I’m not a gamer…”

It’s ok, this is where nerds and neighbors come together. You want a bowl of soup to warm you on a winter’s eve? Or maybe a mocha to go with your book or game of chess at night? Cafe Red will soon be your place.

Not only is the Red Castle empire creating another place for Foster-ites to hang out, play, and eat, they’re improving the overall environment and adding jobs. They’re like their own economic engine, propelling Foster forward. And we’re glad they are.

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Lents Walks the Plank, FoPo and MSA Link Up Next Weekend

Well, this was fun.
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Lents sent a crew of kickballers, but barely enough to make a team.  So we offered up a few of our own salty sea dogs to make it a fair fight.  It still wasn’t enough to defeat the sludgey Kern Park Pirates.
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Now the pirate ship sails for further conquest.

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Who’s in?  Next Saturday, from 2 – 4, at Lents Park.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Ok, temperatures are coming down a bit and there’s much to do in the ‘hood this weekend. Almost too much. But that’s a good problem to have. Hopefully you’ll be around to enjoy some of it.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

- The Portland Mercury released their reader survey of “most underrated” and “best of” nearly everything Portland, and Foster made a decent showing (though, none were that surprising). First up, Foster Burger was ranked as the third best burger joint; Red Castle Games was the fourth favorite game shop; N.W.I.P.A. made number seven for favorite bottle shop; Devil’s Point scored second best for best strip club and fifth for most loved karaoke bar; Fat Yoga ranked fifth for favorite yoga studio. If only they had a ranking for favorite chop shop and/or scrap metal collection–it would have been a clean sweep.

- Foster Art Night is this Saturday. And it’s going to be a good one. No, for real. Make it out. Here’s a primer: Foster Art Night Goes Big. In addition to an awesome art exhibit at N.W.I.P.A. and a dance/music/video extravaganza at Performance Works NW, other participating bars will have live music and plenty of libations. So, again, make it out.

- If you like kickball, Kern Park is your spot this Sunday. If you like representing your neighborhood, even better. Foster-Powell takes on Lents in an old school game of kickball, from 2 – 4 p.m. And I guess my persistent pirate references gave us an official anointing: we will be the FoPo Pirates. High fives to anyone who wears an eye patch, pirate hat, or hand hook. Double high five (high ten?) for anyone that comes with a parrot on their shoulder.

- Free trees for FoPo. Get ‘em while they last.

- Foster Row will be celebrating the grand opening of their retail and collaborative work space next Saturday, 7/26. Join them for music, food, drink, open studios, video, and raffles. 7- 10 pm at the new space, 5300 SE Foster Road.

- Other music and events this weekend:
Bobwhite Theatre- Fifth Anniversary Show of Repo! The Genetic Opera, 10 p.m. tonight (Friday)
Starday Tavern- Country Western with Matty Charles and Katie Rose, Friday; Rockabilly with Billy Dwayne, The Creepers, and Shuggie B Goode, Saturday
Torta- Ben and Meir, Friday; Green Carts w/Anonymous, Saturday

Be cool, folks. Enjoy the weekend.

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Foster Art Night Goes Big. Serious.

Foster Art Night has been a thing. Once it was a growing thing. Then a disappearing thing. Art came and went—mostly went—though, you could always rely on an excuse to go out and drink every (most) third Saturday of the month. There have been fits and starts, and more times than not only a handful of people made it out. Some of our local bars got into the spirit of it, and many have carried on the tradition even when it wasn’t so obvious Foster Art Night was still a thing.

FANfare-1I have a feeling it is reemerging. And for July at least, it is most definitely a thing.

Case in point: Richard Melloy’s exhibit, The Way I See It, and Performance Works NW’s FANfare party.

Melloy is a local (as in, from the neighborhood) artist whose work reaches beyond the nether regions of Foster. Simply put, he’s good; his work is interesting at the least, if not down right righteous. His new exhibit will open at N.W.I.P.A. this Saturday, from 6 – 9 pm. You can read more about Melloy here.

And then there’s renowned dancer, Linda Austin. Yeah, she’s a local, too. And she’s opening up her studio, Performance Works NW (SE 67th, just north of Foster), to all you Foster Art Night-goers. From 6:30 – 10 pm, be witness to improvised dance, music, and video, as well as an installation/performance in their Silver Streak trailer parked out back. From 10 – midnight, dance to the sounds of Acid Farm. Oh, and free beer and lemonade.

You better be at both of these. Simultaneously.

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Free Trees for FoPo

Tree plantingYou may have already been solicited by Friends of Trees.  Or maybe you haven’t, because you assumed that knocking on the door was Comcast or some sketch ball seeing what hours of the day you’re typically home.  If you were lucky enough to catch the tree mongers–otherwise known as Friends of Trees, also known as Portland Purveyor of Trees and general canopy-builders–you’d know that residents of Foster-Powell are in for a little treat this year: free trees.  Correction: free tree.  Only one.  Still, that’s at least a $35 cost saved for you…and a whole ecosystem saved for everyone else.

So get one.

Here’s the rundown from one of our readers/neighbor/tree person, Jennifer Karps:

“Hello,

“I’d love help getting the word out that Friends of Trees is giving Foster Powell extra love this year in the form of free street trees! Fo Po residents can sign up at the FOT website (friendsoftrees.org). After an inspection to determine planting potential, you get to order your free street trees. In January, neighbors get together and plant each other’s trees. It’s awesome!”

Make it happen, folks.

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