Weekend Guide

Your Guide to a Socially Distanced Weekend in Portland: Last-Minute Easter Treats, Rocky Horror, and More

April 2-4, 2021 Edition
April 2, 2021
Portland's longest-running Rocky Horror Picture Show venue, the Clinton Street Theater, returns this Saturday with a reduced-capacity show.

Another spring weekend is here to save you from the grind, and we've got a slew of ideas for ways to spend it without contributing to the fourth wave of COVID cases in Oregon. Scroll away for details on where to get last-minute Easter treats (like Pix Patisserie), Oregon Book Award finalists to pick up on your next bookstore haul, two new photography exhibits at Blue Sky Gallery, and more. For even more options, read our guide to the best online events this week.


Jump to: Food & Drink | Books | Outside | Arts & Film


FOOD & DRINK

Get some last-minute treats for Easter. Procrastinated on making plans for Easter? We've got you covered. Petunia's Pies and Pastries will have Easter-themed treats like cakes, "babycakes," and sugar cookies available on a first-come, first-served basis this weekend. On Easter Sunday, Pix Patisserie will also stock fifty of the dessert boxes in its magical contactless "Pix-O-Matic" vending machine with Easter eggs, each with different "golden tickets" tucked inside. One lucky customer will get an egg with a ticket for $50 worth of free treats. And Grand Central Bakery is still taking pre-orders for hot cross buns, festive shortbread cookies, and other baked goods for your Easter brunch table.

Watch the new season of Top Chef. On Thursday, the Bravo cooking competition series Top Chef returned for its 18th season, which is set in Portland and features two Portland chefs in the running, as well as some famed Portland chefs as judges. (Watch the trailer here for a preview.) As you tune in, you might be curious about the artfully plated dishes you see onscreen and want a taste for yourself. We've gathered a guide to Portland spots associated with the show, including restaurants that have been linked to past and present contestants and judges, as well as places featured in the new season (like Akadi and Tillamook Creamery). Plus, Portland chef and former contestant Gregory Gourdet, who's featured as a guest judge in the season premiere, will be screening episodes of the new season on iPads at the yurt village pop-up preview of his upcoming Haitian restaurant Kann as they're released. (Reservations are available exclusively for American Express cardholders.)

Try some rhubarb specials.
You can always tell it's spring when the blush-pink, sweet-tart stalks of rhubarb, also known as the "pie plant," start cropping up on menus. There's several places around town to get your fill of the quintessentially Northwest ingredient. Ken's Artisan Bakery has been baking up rhubarb galettes and Danishes, and Baker & Spice is serving the delightfully named dessert rhubarb buckle (a buttermilk cake spiced with ginger, studded with fresh rhubarb, and topped with candied ginger crumble). If you'd like your rhubarb in liquid form, Great Notion has recently released Baked, a tart ale that conjures all the flavors of pie with strawberry, rhubarb, orange, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk sugar. 

Try burnt Basque cheesecake.
Wondering about the parade of exquisitely burnished cheesecakes showing up in your Instagram feed lately? Burnt Basque cheesecake is one of the latest trends sweeping the food world. A far cry from the sugary New York-style wedges you might recognize from The Cheesecake Factory (not that there's anything wrong with those), Basque cheesecake is inspired by the Spanish tarta de queso and offers a more sophisticated flavor profile, with a slightly bitter, caramelized crust and a soft, creamy interior merging for a crème brûlée effect. At her bakery Bakeshop, Kim Boyce has apotheosized the trend with her exemplary version, while Urdaneta also serves an excellent take with membrillo (quince paste) and sherry whipped cream. Try it out and see if you're not converted.

Other notable weekend events:

Le Pigeon Burger Pop-Up
Chef Gabriel Rucker's cult-favorite burger, a Portland classic that hasn't been available all year, will make a return for this pop-up. The Le Pigeon team will only be grilling up a hundred burgers, so get there early if you want to get your hands on one. The burger will also come with butter lettuce salad and a Sweet Matt’s foie gras profiterole cookie (!). Picnic tables and drinks will also be available if weather permits.
Le Pigeon, Southeast (Friday)

Spumoni Wine Release Party
The new winery Spumoni will unveil its first vintages at this party, which will feature wine pours, bottles for sale, and snacks like hot dogs and shrimp cocktail.
Someday, Southeast (Friday)

BOOKS

Add the 2021 Oregon Book Award finalists to your reading list. Earlier this week, Literary Arts announced the 35 local authors in the running for its annual award ceremony honoring the best in regional fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, children’s literature, young adult literature, and drama. Before you find out the winners next month, choose some tomes from the list and add those babies to your next bookstore haul at a local purveyor like Powell's, Broadway Books, Annie Bloom's, or Daedalus Books. Out of the contenders for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction (all of whom will give a reading at the Springfield Public Library on April 17), we're excited about Lidia Yuknavitch's short-fiction collection Verge, whose stories "startle and repulse even as they provoke the reader’s gaze," as a Los Angeles Review of Books review has it. Over in the poetry camp, we'll be picking up copies of Ed Skoog's Travelers Leaving for the City and Eman Hassan's Raghead (you can also hear the finalists give a Zoom reading on April 14). Moving down to the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction, Nicholas Buccola's The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America looks great, as does Kelsey Freeman's No Option but North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border. The winners will be announced on a special episode of OPB's The Archive Project at 7 pm on Sunday, May 2.

Pay homage to a beloved Oregon children's book author. Beverly Cleary, the McMinnville-born, Portland-raised progenitor of the Rimona Quimby books (whose boisterous protagonist taught us valuable lessons about fearlessness) died last week at 104. If you haven't already, take some time this weekend to honor her memory by visiting the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, where you'll find bronze renderings of Ramona Quimby and other characters like Henry Higgins and Ribsy the dog just a few blocks away from Klickitat Street, where the fictional Quimby family lived (and not far from where Cleary herself grew up). You could continue your adventure by admiring the outside of Cleary's childhood home at 3340 Northeast Hancock Street, which is just a couple of minutes away from the park by foot. Clearly also worked at the Multnomah County Library for a brief time in her youth, which brings us to our mini-guide on how to...

Get the most out of your Multnomah County Library card. It's a flimsy piece of plastic, but it's also a veritable treasure trove of book, film, and arts resources. First and foremost, it gets you books (and e-books and audiobooks)! In addition to placing holds on the ones already on your reading list, you can browse staff picks And super-specific readings lists (like this one Aimed at fans of Sigrid Undset's trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter). on top of that, you can listen to music by local artists like gabriel benavente benitez and maze koroma via the Library Music Project (you can actually access this one without a library card—it's still free—and you can submit your own music), participate in community events like Everbody Reads (this month's book is ross gay's The Book of Delights), and rent movies and tv shows (we also strongly recommend signing up for the free library-affiliated streaming service Kanopy, which lets you watch up to five movies a month, many of which are featured in the criterion collection). There are truly too many other resources to mention here, so take some time to explore their website. If you don't have a card yet, you can apply for one online, and in the meantime, you can check out their photo gallery and their blogs

OUTDOORS

Ride your bike at the newly minted historic landmark Terwilliger Parkway. You may think of it as a practical means of getting downtown, but the landscape architect John C. Olmsted (who helped design NYC's Central Park) envisioned the windy Southwest Hills path as a scenic oasis from the city. Needless to say, he'd be thrilled that the route has been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the City of Portland Historic Landmarks Commission. In celebration, take yourself on a bike ride (or a run or leisurely stroll) this weekend and admire Portland's natural beauty. Don't have a ride? Gladys Bikes, North Portland Bike Works, and Oregon Bike Shop are open for in-person shopping. 

Visit newly reopened Oregon Nature Conservancy Parks. After a yearlong closure and just in time for spring wildflowers, over a dozen natural spaces owned by the international environmental nonprofit reopened their invisible doors this week, including the Tom McCall Nature Preserve in the Columbia River Gorge, the Zumwalt Prairie near the Wallowa Mountains, and Table Rocks in Southern Oregon. 

Other notable weekend events:

Forest Bathing
Experience the practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or Japanese forest bathing, which is said to boost immune strength, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning, in this guided walk at the Leach Botanical Garden.
Leach Botanical Garden, Southeast (Sunday)

State Park Free Days
If you don't have a Discover Pass but you still want to take in Northwest wildlife in all its evergreen-hued glory, take advantage of free admission to Oregon state parks on "Springtime free day."
Various locations (Saturday)

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Gazing at forty acres of tulips lined up in orderly rows against the majestic backdrop of Mount Hood never gets old. In previous years at least, the traffic tends to be pretty bad on weekends, but it’s worth the wait if your eyes are starved for color. Peak blooms are expected to come in early to mid-April, but the fields are open for viewing (so long as you buy a ticket in advance) all month long.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn (Friday-Sunday)

ARTS & FILM

Carchella PDX
Sate your longing for live music at this drive-in series spotlighting local artists like singer-songwriter Justin Sheehy.
Oaks Park, Southeast (Saturday)

French Exit
A widowed New York socialite (Michele Pfeiffer at peak iciness) and her aimless son (Lucas Hedges)move rent-free to a friend's Parisian apartment after she spends the last of her husband's inheritance.
Living Room Theaters & Century 16 Eastport (Friday-Sunday)

Godzilla vs. Kong
Monsters collide, Blockbuster style, after Godzilla attacks Florida and King Kong is set free from Skull Island. Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, and Rebecca Hall head up the human cast.
Various theaters (Friday-Sunday)

Ishimoto Yasuhiro: Architecture + Nature + Culture
Head to the Pavillion Gallery to see Ishimoto Yasuhiro's collection of photographs of Kyoto's Katsura Imperial Villa, an architectural treasure.
Portland Japanese Garden, Southwest (Friday-Sunday)

Johnnie Chatman
Black history and the landscape of the American West intersect in this series of self-portraits from New York-based photographer Johnnie Chatman. 
Blue Sky Gallery, Northwest (Friday-Saturday)

Lora Webb Nichols
The Wyoming homesteader and photographer Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) created and collected approximately 24,000 negatives over the course of her lifetime in the mining town of Encampment. This show chronicles the domestic, social, and economic aspects of the sparsely populated frontier.
Blue Sky Gallery, Northwest (Friday-Saturday)

Oscar Shorts
See this year's lineup of animated, documentary, and live-action short films nominated for the 2021 Academy Awards, including Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson's "Yes-People" (animated), about people who cope with everyday battles, from work to relationships to dish-washing; Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan's "A Love Song for Latasha" (documentary), which highlights the injustice surrounding the shooting of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins at a South Central Los Angeles store; and Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe's "Two Distant Strangers" (live-action), in which a Black cartoonist's repeated attempts to get home to his dog are thwarted by a recurring deadly encounter that forces him to re-live the same awful day over and over again.
Living Room Theaters, Southwest (Friday-Sunday)

Rocky Horror Picture Show
After a year of anticippppation, Portland's longest-running Rocky Horror venue returns! Capping off at 50 people, there probably won't be as much audience participation as your standard show, but you should still absolutely dust off your fishnets and bustiers.
Clinton Street Theater, Southeast (Saturday)