Travel

Kerns

Establishment neighborhood
Tusk
2448 E. Burnside St., Kerns
There aren’t enough superlatives for Tusk, the Middle Eastern–inspired spot from Luke Dirks and chef Joshua McFadden (the duo behind Ava Gene’s) and chef Sam Smith. As we sat at the corner bar seat and sipped a turmeric ginger bourbon cocktail and ate whipped hummus finished with Turkish chili pepper, we thought, How could it get better than this? Then the grilled eggplant arrived, savory and sweet, topped with green chermoula. The chicken skewer with yogurt and Aleppo pepper followed. And then the buttery black cod with Italian heirloom broccoli and fennel. And that’s when we knew we were having one of those meals that we’d remember for decades. Photos courtesy of AJ Meeker.
Banshee
2410 E. Burnside St., Kerns
Banshee lives along an eclectic strip of Burnside Street, tucked between boutiques and restaurants. (It’s a stone’s throw from Tusk.) The focus here is vintage, but the owners do a stellar job at selecting items that have a modern bent and are in impeccable shape. Pristine blouses, knit skirts, vintage Levi’s. Everything here is seasonal, stylish, and considered. A mix of natural skin care, pottery, and accessories from local makers rounds out the mix.
Heart Coffee Roasters
2211 E. Burnside St., Kerns
Great coffee is in no short supply in Portland, but this café serves up some of the best—their experts roast the beans themselves as soon as they come in fresh from Central America, South America, or Africa. If you’re not into black coffee, their fresh, house-made almond, cashew, and hazelnut milks are a creamy, delicious alternative for those dairy-averse customers and go especially well with one of the flaky, buttery croissants, massive chocolate cookies, or fresh-baked brioches that are brought in from local bakers daily. There's a second location Downtown.
Quin Candy
2805 S.E. Ankeny St., Kerns
Quin is a candy boutique filled with caramels, chocolates, lollipops, gummies, and more, made in-house by a small, skilled staff. Owner Jami Curl sticks to locally-sourced ingredients like Oregon-farmed nuts and berries, caramel and chocolate made from fresh cream and butter, coffee flavors from locally-roasted beans, and extracts from locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. What’s more, this outpost, which is significantly more spacious than the one on Union Way hosts hands-on events and classes for aspiring DIY candy-makers.
Artemisia
110 S.E. 28th Ave., Kerns
This cozy indoor-gardening boutique nestled in Northeast Portland has everything you need to create your own miniature ecosystem: healthy, happy plants, and plenty of decorative touches–there’s even special sand for planting your succulents in, which is a bonus because, 1) it’s quick-drying, unlike soil (succulents don’t require much water), and 2) you can layer colored sands–the red garnet sand, sourced from India, is especially pretty. The mini-gardening experts at Artemisia host workshops that teach customers all they need to know to make their own terrarium, all the while encouraging creativity. For a less hands-on experience, you can always buy one of the pre-made terrariums.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 S.E. 28th Ave., Kerns
Back in the day, Ken Forkish was just making pizza once a week out of his eponymous bakery. But when the pizza nights started getting out-of-control busy, he knew it was time to open a full-fledged restaurant. At Ken’s Artisan Pizza, you’ll find simple, Neapolitan-style pies that comes straight from a wood-fired oven in the open kitchen. The décor is as local as the ingredients, with a bar and tables made from old-growth Douglas firs that were salvaged from one of the city’s old roller coasters. P.S.: Ken’s James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Flour Water Salt Yeast, is a totally worthwhile souvenir. Photos: Alan Weiner Photography
Finger Bang
2725 N.E. Sandy Blvd., Kerns
In true Portland fashion, a mainstream mani/pedi spot just wouldn’t do. The mastermind behind this avant-garde concept salon, Glynis Olson, tricked out an industrial storefront in the newly built Zipper Building with blasting speakers, graffiti murals, black-leather recliners, and a beer list–a vibe more in line with a tattoo parlor than a nail place. Save for the elaborate nail-art (ask for the mystery manicure if you’re feeling adventurous), the service menu is fairly standard. What’s not standard, however, are the freakishly late opening hours (still, booking ahead is recommended), instituted in part to accommodate the all-over-the-place schedules of clients in the, ahem, service industry.
Bamboo Sushi SE
310 S.E. 28th Ave., Kerns
Bamboo Sushi has four locations spread among Portland's quadrants: SW, NW, NE, and SE. Each location varies slightly; they all have a casual vibe and really good sushi (in addition to hot Japanese dishes). You can make table reservations but seats at the sushi bar (always fun) are first come first serve. What makes Bamboo different than most other sushi restaurants is that they take a lot of steps to be as sustainable as possible. For example: They don't serve fish from endangered populations; their seafood is caught by fishermen who operate under environmentally ethical principles; and their meat comes from ranches in Oregon/Idaho, and is grass-fed, hormone-free, and free-range. Bamboo Sushi uses renewable energy sources, reusable teak wood chopsticks, biodegradable to-go containers, and so on.
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