Portland loves its Trailblazers, but is that lovin' reciprocal? To Channing Frye it is! He's from Arizona but might as well have been born and raised on the South Waterfront. The "Buffet of Goodness" is so stoked to live in Rip City he even blogs about it! Don B sits down with Channing to find out how one of the nicest guys in the NBA rolls in the five-oh-three.
Don B: I know you've reviewed some restaurants on your blog, what are your top-5 restaurants in Portland?
Channing Frye: “Easy: Pok Pok stands out because it’s so different. That Spanish place… Toro Bravo… love it. People are gonna kill me for this one, but Stanich's. Oh, and Fratelli, I love that place.” “And breakfast at the Screen Door! We waited and waited outside that place and thought “this better be worth it." I got the chicken and waffles. I saw that one person had it, and, this is so stereotypical, but I had to get it, and it was SO GOOD.”
DB: Any other places?
CF: “Veritable Quandary. I love that place.” “And Cha Cha Cha. Great burritos.” “Oh, and Stepping Stone Café.”
DB: Where do you go out? The upscale bars/clubs?
CF: “Hate ‘em. I prefer spots like the Goodfoot and the Gemini – it’s in Lake Oswego so you would expect the crowd to be all… you know... but they’re actually cool and chill.” "Dante's is always interesting too."
DB: Do you ever eat at the food carts?
CF: “One time. I ate at a Mexican cart and it tore my stomach UP! But I heard they’re legit, so I am down to try anything.”
DB: What about post-game food?
CF: “My parents like to go to El Gaucho. We like Fratelli, Buffalo Gap.” “Oh, and the White Eagle Saloon. They gave me a free pitcher of beer when we went in there after a game (laughs). “
DB: This is beer-town. Where do you like to go to drink beer?
CF: “Widmer. I have a good friend there, so my loyalty is to where my friends are. I used to go to Bridgeport a lot. And I tried Deschutes, but I just don’t see the difference between them and, uh, Bridgeport. I see different beers being like Hair of the Dog. I used to go out to the Horse Brass a lot. We used to go when it was all smoky, though, so we had to stop going.”
DB: Okay, this is "Bridge City", what’s your favorite bridge?
CF: “The Ross Island Bridge, it’s the bridge I look at every day.”
DB: That’s right, you live on the South Waterfront. What’s hot down there?
CF: “Not much going on down there right now. Le Hana and this Vietnamese place called [Bambuza], which is good, but not too healthy. I think that when they put that in there, they put it there too early. They should have put something in different from Le Hana. They should have put a sports bar in there, that would be packed 24/7. People get done with work and want to go watch a game, and now all they have is the Buffalo Gap or Gemini.”
DB: Alright, where do you get your gear in Portland?
CF: “Nike? (Laughs). Ok, I get most of my clothes made for me [he is 6’11” and 245lb], but I get my clothes and kicks at Oddball and at Upper Playground, I love that store. Oh, and I got a suit for my wedding at Mario’s. And one of my underground spots is Hot Topic. They have the best funny T-shirts. They used to laugh every time I went in there in Phoenix and in Tucson. They would say ‘um, not to be racist or anything, but you’re the only black person who ever comes in here.’ I was, like, ‘I love you guys too.’ These guys are emo, with painted white faces. They were so scared when I came in. ‘Excuse me sir, do you know which store this is?” “Yeah, I just like the funny shirt section. Not the teddy bears, the pacifiers, or the pants with 36 chains and stuff…’”
DB: Where do you go to watch a game when you’re not on the court?
CF: “Buffalo Gap. I need to buy them a new couch (laughs), but seriously, it’s so old. I told them I’d buy them a new couch… they at least need to put some cushions on that thing.” “Macadam’s is kind of my little sleeper on Macadam because you look at it and it think ‘oh, it’s not going to be all that good’, but the clam chowder is good, the burgers are good, and they’ve got TV’s.”
DB: What about your favorite places to get outdoors and play?
CF: “90% of the time I am somewhere near the Willamette or at that park on 33rd and Russell [Grant Park] playing kickball. I love playing kickball.”
DB: What else do you do in Portland?
CF: “Saturday Market. Oh man. Elephant ears. That’s the best part about it. That, and the fact that I am constantly looking over my back to see if I am going to get stabbed by someone all wacked out on drugs. I was scared… for my LIFE. I thought the dude playing the guitar was going to stab my in my clavicle with his claw.” (laughs)
DB: What do you do for fun besides Saturday Market?
CF: “Anything and everything. See shows at Roseland and Wonder Ballroom. Saw Mickey Avalon at Dante’s. Saw Lupe Fiasco at Roseland. I never went to concerts before but now that I’ve been to these places, I love ‘em.” “I love Uptown billiards. That place is fun. Grand Central is trend setting. I love that place because I can bowl for a while, then I can go upstairs to do some adult stuff, have a drink, and there’s so many TV’s. That place is great. It’s just a good venue.”
DB: What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
CF: “Everybody here is unique. It’s not like ‘I’m wearing this to be cool… I’m wearing it to be comfortable.’ Everyone here is unique and comfortable and loves being outside. I love that on a nice day the restaurants have big sliding doors that open up and everyone can be outside. It’s like an adult college town.” “I also love that people do stuff like Flugtag here. I had so much fun at Flugtag last year. “
DB: What about the MLS deal here in Portland, you a soccer fan?
CF: “No, but it’s cool! I like anything live.” “I would go to a Timbers game.”
DB: What is the one thing Portland’s missing?
CF: “A Major League Baseball team. I love the Beavers, but there are no major names to watch. If we had a team, even if we sucked, people would go to see teams like the Mariners and Yankees come and play our team. Plus it would help the economy and create more jobs to build a stadium. Plus, it gives us some summer sports. “
“Other than that… what’s that Mexican place? Aquí? Well, let’s just say we need better Mexican food. We have plenty of good Thai food, like that place up near PSU, [Baan-Thai], but we need more Mexican food. Oh, and we need a place that has a good breakfast burrito. Tell me where that is. Bacon, egg, potato, and cheese. That’s what I want.”