It's always a good reason, Miss Dish believes. Yep, the always appropriate answer to any question (in this case, the someone being questioned is John Berning, owner of the Sandy Hut) is, "Because we've never done it before."
The question in this case is, "Why are you roasting a whole pig?"
Berning told Miss Dish that one of his cooks has "a great big huge roaster that you can put a pig on, or a cow," and they decided to enable the sucker. Come by one of Portland's more liquid-oriented hangouts (1430 NE Sandy Blvd., 235-7972) Saturday, June 2, to put your fork in some pork. They'll start cooking it at 6 am so it'll be nice and not so pink by 1 pm. Berning says $6.95 buys you a plate that you can heap with loin and fixin's. FYI: A whole pig costs about $200 in this town, about $2 a pound for a 100-pound Babe.
!Item! Oritalia (750 SW Alder St., 295-0680) has a new GM. It's likely that you've seen Peter Hochman around town already as the general manager of Oritalia's parent company. When former GM Dean Vascheresse decided to move on, Hochman was temporarily overseeing the restaurant, and in the past month he decided to shed his San Fran skin and make the move to our soggy city. Hochman told Miss D. that his main goal is "for Oritalia to become part of the fabric of Portland." While Oritalia's blatant fusion pride has many naysayers, the truth is that chef Matthew Young is more Northwestern than not. Hochman has a challenge ahead of him, but he has the personality for the job. Still, Oritalia has a lot of work to do to put itself on the map: If the new, fresh-off-the-press Zagat survey is any indication of popular opinion, the fact that Hochman's charge didn't make it into the top 40 is telling. Hochman's been out and about these days in between looking for a house to rehab. Miss Dish believes if he makes some ballsy moves, Oritalia could climb the charts.
!Item! All eaters on Alberta say "Ho." Now somebody, anybody: SCREAM. Yes, it's good news for all you Vita Cafe fans: Owner Jim Defeo told Miss D. that his little nexus for veg-heads (3024 NE Alberta St., 335-8233) will be offering an al fresco option by June. That little lot next to the diner will transform into an outdoor oasis of eating and drinking (sorry, buckos, no hard-liquor license yet) and post-Last Thursday posing.
!Item! This just in from the Oregon Wine Advisory Board: In 1990, this state was home to 71 wineries--now we boast 171. The split of white wine to red produced here is 55-45. We are second in the United States for number of wineries. Increase in sales of Oregon wines since 1990: 307 percent. How's that on your tongue?