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The cars are hot off the griddle

Overheard at Alessandro's at Southwest Third and Morrison Ñ owner Ty Wells greeting auto mogul Ed Tonkin: 'What's up, Ed, sold any good lemons lately?' 'Hey, Ty,' shoots back Tonkin. 'Made any decent food for a change? Don't know why I keep coming here.' É But don't worry, folks, they're only kidding. The cars are tasty as ever, and the food runs like a top. É As if things weren't bad enough in Blazerland already, the team is in a snit over having to take the bus to Thursday night's game in Seattle. At least that's what the plan was as we went to press. É According to sources within the organization, owner Paul Allen's mom, Faye, needed the team's luxury jet to fly over to Hawaii for a much-needed vacation.

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First of all, Mark Kikel, who's promoting the Portland Comedy Challenge, would like to say it was not a 'jar' of mustard that he ate but five 16-ounce squeeze bottles of French's Mustard. And he drank it, not ate it, on 'The Mark and Brian Show,' which is, of course, a nationally syndicated morning radio show carried locally by KGON (92.3 FM). É That's the Portland Comedy Challenge, folks: Sunday night at Exotica, Monday at the Boiler Room, Wednesday at Roscoe's. É Her Honor the Mayor has let it be known in various quarters that if she had it to do over again, she'd never pick a police chief from outside the city. Wonder who she's referring to? É Or since we're on the subject: When's he going to land a bigger and better job somewhere else? Lord knows, he's been trying ever since he got here.

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After-hours clubs are the in thing for the twentysomething set. According to one estimate, there are about 10 of them operating east of the river. É The doors are guarded, and you can't get in unless they know you or you're with someone they know. Just like the old-time speakeasies. É Sounds like lots of fun Ñ except that some of the regulars are packing. The fatal shooting at 22nd and Lombard last Sunday morning was outside an after-hours club. É If you're looking for the perfect bento lunch in a place with an unlikely name, try the James Bean Cafe on the corner of Southwest Second and Taylor. It's not just that the food is so good Ñ check out the salmon filet Ñ but if you ask for it, you get a free shot of a medicinal tea stewed from ginger, apple, lemon, honey and dates. É Manager Sean Coe of the Korean family that runs the place says Gov. Kitzhaber, who was in recently and ordered the chicken teriyaki, with veggies and brown rice for just $4.25, still hasn't sent them the picture he promised.

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Don't tell anyone, butP-town's top folk music duo, Kate Powers and Steve Einhorn, has gone country in a big way, complete with electric guitar, pedal steel and drums. If the local country music stations have a lick of sense, several tracks on their new CD, 'Now and Then' Ñ produced by Sheryl Crow and former Quarterflash drummer Gregg Williams Ñ should be getting serious airtime soon. É In the meantime, pick up your own copy at Artichoke Music, Kate and Steve's store on Southeast Hawthorne. Not too early to start thinking about, gulp, Christmas presents.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .