What does Felida — a neighborhood on the western edge of Clark County, north of the Lakeshore area but south of Ridgefield — have to do with cats? Until last week, I’d have said nothing at all. However, as I wandered through Felida Community Park, I noticed a plaque explaining the unusual origins of Felida’s name.
According to Clark County historian and author Pat Jollota, Powley was the name originally proposed for the area, in honor of F. Powley, who donated land for a local school in the late 1800s. The postmaster at the time thought that Powley sounded too much like Polly, and he didn’t wish for his town to be named after a parrot. If the town could be named for a parrot, said the postmaster, it could just as well be named for a cat. The postmaster countered with Thomas (his cat’s name), Tomcat and Felidae, the Latin word for cats. Felida is the name that stuck.
If you are on the prowl for natural beauty, neighborhood charm, good eats, a little retail therapy and a great cup of joe, Felida is the place for you.
A tasty place to start is Sugarfoot’s BBQ, where you can satisfy all your carnivorous longings — but you must visit by Saturday, which is the food truck’s last day, a tragedy bemoaned by barbecue lovers across Clark County. Sugarfoot’s offers authentic Texas barbecue at 1804 N.W. 119th St., with picnic benches in back overlooking a meadow covered with Queen Anne’s lace.
When you pull into the parking lot next to the Country Store grocery, you’re immediately enveloped in the aroma of slow-roasted meat. You’ll be served sweet and smokey pulled pork and brisket on buns so soft and fresh they’re practically still baking. You’ll get extra barbecue sauce — spicy and addictive — and a tangy vinegar sauce, if that’s your thing. The pickled onions are pink and piquant and the red cabbage slaw is a cooling partner to the rich, warm meat.
Also try the buttery brioche buns filled with meaty mixes, like a Chinese bao but bigger and, well, meatier. If your appetite is whetted and you need to place an order right now, visit sugarfoots-bbq.square.site. Sugarfoot’s also has pork belly, smoked turkey and a passel of sides like cornbread, brisket baked beans, macaroni and cheese and a snappy dill potato salad with bacon crumbles.
Next, you’ll need to walk off all the barbecue, so head over to the Salmon Creek Greenway Trail, with a few parking spaces along the side of the road and an entrance at 13853 N.W. 36th Ave. This 3-mile trail will take you all the way to Klineline Pond, if you’ve a mind to cool off with a swim or do a bit of fishing. If you’d like, you can walk a partial loop at the east end, toward Klineline. The path also connects with the Cougar Creek Trail, a short out-and-back trail, about halfway.
Our family usually just strolls along the paved path for a couple miles before turning around. We’ve walked here in every season — in the first blush of spring, the height of summer, the glorious fall when leaves are golden and birds are active, and in the middle of snowy winter when parts of the creek are covered in a thick layer of ice. We always see something interesting or just plain beautiful, like tundra swans, cormorants or flocks of Canada geese wheeling overhead, their honks drowning out our conversation.
After your long walk, you may need to reward yourself with ice cream. Village Scoops is located inside the wine bar, VX Vinos, at 3602 N.W. 119th St., in a small retail development called Felida Village. It bills itself as a wine, tapas, art and jazz bar, and while it wasn’t yet the time of day for wine and tapas, I did enjoy the vibrant, graffitilike art in vivid 1980s hues (or perhaps I just got ’80s vibes from the dance house mix of Depeche Mode, Eurythmics and Billy Idol that was playing over the speakers).
“Village Scoops” sounds like an ice cream store, but it’s really a domed cooler with eight flavors — enough to hit the spot on a hot Thursday afternoon. I tried the rhubarb sorbet and the chocolate sorbet before choosing the double chocolate mint, a pale green ice cream with both white and dark chocolate chips. I enjoyed my ice cream at one of the many outdoor tables; there’s nearly as much seating outdoors as indoors, pleasantly shaded and ideal for people-watching at the neighboring Mt. Tabor Brewing.
This thriving brewpub, which also has a Portland location, used to operate a downtown Vancouver pub but moved to Felida four years ago. The restaurant serves a mean wood-fired pizza, so good it draws sizeable weekend crowds, so depending on when you go, you might have to wait. That’s no problem, though, as you can order craft beer, wine, cider, hard seltzer or kombucha from the walk-up window. The sandwiches and salads are also top-notch, although I’d recommend that you order whatever vegetable is in season under the “small plates” menu. A couple years ago, I had a plate of wood-fired carrots with romesco sauce that still lingers on the edges of my memory, which is long and detailed when it comes to delicious food.
You could also get takeout for a picnic at Felida Community Park. It’s huge, covering just over 15 acres, with wide stretches of clipped grass dotted with shade trees, three soccer pitches, a picnic shelter and a large children’s play area with all manner of things to climb on. Paved paths (great for walking with strollers) wind through the park. It was quite populated on the weekday afternoon that I was there, although with so much space, it never felt crowded.
After relaxing in the park, you might be ready for a little retail action. The Shops at Erickson Farms aren’t far away on Northwest Lakeshore Avenue, where I browsed the selection of high-end shoes, clothes and accessories at Arktana, which opened in this spot a couple years ago, a sister location for the original boutique in downtown Camas.
You could spend all afternoon in this shopping center, pampering yourself at The Nail Kitchen and Spa or getting your hair styled at Locksmythe Hair Salon and Barbershop.
I needed locally roasted organic coffee for the drive home, so I walked across the parking lot to Creed Coffee. I’d been here a few years before, when it was located in Felida Village, but I love the new digs: Bright, airy and contemporary but comfortable. You could easily spend a couple hours here on your laptop or chatting with friends, especially while sipping an iced London fog with vanilla whipped cream. (If you’re in a hurry, there’s a drive-thru.)
By the time you finish your coffee (or tea), it will be happy hour at Farrar’s Bistro, 12514 N.W. 36th Ave. Farrar’s is something of a neighborhood landmark, billing itself as a genuine farm-to-table restaurant, relying on local farms like Northwest Organic Farms and Millennium Farms, both in Ridgefield. Farrar’s has been in business for 15 years, feeding loyal patrons through the recession and now the pandemic, which the bistro weathered with plenty of outdoor seating and curbside pickup options.
Try the Farrar’s Fashioned, with cognac, orange bitters and Benjamin’s bourbon from Valley Shine Distillery in Mount Vernon, or the Salmon Creek Breeze, a summery combination of tequila, lemon, grapefruit and cranberry juices.