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These gems won't stay hidden for long

Bread & Brew


by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The tiki-theme Hale Pele on Northeast Broadway, under new management, has a revamped cocktail menu.In very different ways, two new and out-of-the-way bars offer their own kind of escape.

Sauvage, attached to the Fausse Piste winery, is bright, simple, clean.

Hale Pele is a study in kitsch, a cluttered den of colored lights and South Seas nostalgia.

The name Hale Pele refers to the Hawaiian goddess of the volcano, and the cult of tiki is going strong here. This is a new iteration of Thatch, the unlikely tropical oasis on Northeast Broadway. Tiki expert Blair Reynolds took over the five-year-old bar in August, revamping the cocktail menu and adding a little bit more mood lighting.

Reynolds brings years of tropical drink obsession to the spot.

In true tiki bar style, the cocktail menu is elaborate and takes a while to read. Rum, of course, is the featured ingredient, although the bar’s biggest contribution to cocktail history may be the cognac mai tai, a high-end drink with the capacity to lay you low. Even the orgeat syrup that flavors it is special — Reynolds bottles and sells his own under the brand name B.J. Reynolds’ Hand-Crafted Syrups.

If you like girly drinks, steer clear.

The Zombie Punch is also quite potent (limit, two per customer). It’s tall and frosty, and tastes slightly of red currant, and more noticeably, of booze.

I have to give Hale Pele credit for not skimping — high quality ingredients, strong drinks, complicated preparations. An unfortunate side effect is that some of the cocktails are quite expensive.

This does put the bar more into the special occasion category, although for school nights, there’s a good selection of beer on tap — something that was lacking from the previous incarnation.

If you’re looking for Sauvage, it’s on Southeast Sixth Avenue, between Ash and Ankeny. A small urban winery, Fausse Piste, has expanded into a restaurant with a fierce name and a pleasantly cobbled-together feel.

Impressively, the wine list includes 50 choices by the glass.

At happy hour, a featured glass of the night is $5, and the one I tasted — a Spanish white — seemed chosen with a genuine interest in introducing patrons to something new. Also at happy hour, you can get half a dozen fresh oysters and a glass of sparkling wine for $10.

The menu aims ambitiously beyond cheese-and-salami boards. You can make up a full dinner from plates such as smoked chicken wings, octopus with chorizo, buckwheat pasta, and roast quail. If it’s all as good as the chicken liver mousse, then this is a place to get excited about.

Served in a little jar, with a luxurious layer of oil on top, the mousse was just as it should be — sturdy yet creamy, with a big, meaty, mineral flavor that melted gracefully away. The serving was generous, and rounded out with care: house-pickled onions, garlic, chanterelles and apples, and house made lavash, a big crisp, thin shingle of a cracker.

The walls are lined with glossy white tiles above a polished concrete floor. The extra-wide bar provides room for rows of wine glasses, as does a farmhouse table that fills the room. From some seats you can see into the wine-making facility, where I was able to watch giant tubs of grapes being moved by forklift and prodded by the winemaker himself.

In fact, it’s pretty amazing how much wine is being made in the obscurity of Southeast Portland’s many warehouses. The area’s profile was raised considerably last week with the opening of the S.E. Wine Collective. In a big, handsome hall just off Southeast Division Street, four local winemakers have come together to showcase their wines and generate some critical mass for tastings. The spot is home to Division Wine Making Company, Bow & Arrow, Helioterra and Vincent Wine Company.

The founders of the facility also hope that it becomes an incubator for other small labels.

Just down the street, at Southeast 14th Avenue and Clinton Street, John Dovydenas is setting up shop as Dovydenas Wines, a wholesale-only operation, and not open to the public. He joins a neighborhood rife with small breweries, distilleries and other hidden dens of alchemy.

Hale Pele, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday, 2733 N.E. Broadway, 503-427-8454, halepele.com; Sauvage, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday, 537 S.E. Ash St., [no phone], http://www.sauvagepdx.com