It doesn't get much cheaper than this little hidden taco truck that many obsessive Portland foodies rate as one of the best in town. For those more interested in good eats than decor, there are perfectly seasoned tacos ($1.50 each) of all varieties—including chicken, carne asada and even goat meat—that come stuffed in pillowy-soft homemade tortillas. Plates of meat, rice, beans and six tortillas ($7) are gigantic and can easily serve two. (LAC)
*NEW* 5th Quadrant
3901-B N Williams Ave., 288-3996. Lunch and dinner daily.
You know the 5th Quadrant is going to be awesome as soon as you see the garage-door-style seat dividers that turn a six-capacity booth into one that comfortably fits 14. Ingenious! Almost as ingenious as the incredibly juicy cheeseburger ($8, and you can get it with smoked Gouda—I dare you to finish one), stringy pulled-pork sandwiches ($7.75) or often-creamy soup of the day ($2.75 cup, $4 bowl). Finish it off with the Quad's crispy apple cobbler ($6.50 with vanilla ice cream) or the dessert of the day and one of the New Old Lompoc's hair-on-your-chest brews ($3.75) for a night of total indulgence. (CJ)
*NEW* Acorn Cafe
539 NW 13th Ave., 227-2690. Breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday.
A new Pearl District morning-midday hot spot from the co-founders of Half and Half, Acorn's tiny exposed brick-and-beam nook offers up earthy sandwiches and salads, fresh-baked breakfast and dessert yummies, and a feel-good atmosphere. Highlights: the grilled Forest Fariy sammy ("one of our employees can't spell," WW was told—$6) with mushroom pâté, chèvre and leeks, a flavorful bulgur salad ($2.50) and a snappy ginger molasses cookie ($1.25) with 8-ounce latte ($2.25) served in a sunshine-yellow mug. Smile, already. (SMB)
*NEW* Albina Green
5128 N Albina Ave., 546-3183. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday-Saturday, brunch Sunday.
A rock-star motif pervades this new NoPo hangout, where menus arrive in old LP covers. Signature sandwiches like the Marvin, a messy, delicious pile of slow-smoked pork ($7), require both hands. The Jerry Burger ($7) comes with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and Green Goddess dressing, and vegetarians won't miss out with the Sir Paul ($7), a Boca with mushrooms, onions and cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses. Don't overlook Albina Green's small plates ($4) like spicy garlic prawns and the Lollapalooza salad—and their awesome weekend brunch. Rock on, Al' Green. (CM)
1408 SE 12th Ave., 230-9212. Lunch Thursday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday.
Sit down for a bite at this comfy and colorful garage-style restaurant, at the corner of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and 12th Avenue, and you might think you're eating your meal from the inside of a stuffed chile relleno—of which they have a terrific and spicy version for only $7.95. Enjoy delicious house specialties like Chicken Poco Loco ($9.95) and jalapeño mac 'n' cheese ($7.95). And make sure to top off your dinner by selecting from one of the fine array of cervesas ($2.50 tap, $3.75 micro), which can be quaffed on the covered porch or by the fireplace in the cozy lounge. And don't forget the chips—they're worth the extra carbs. (KSC)
3223 NE Broadway, 445-4700. Lunch and dinner Monday-Sunday.
Though the hookah bar alone is worth the trip, be sure to venture down into the Breeze's low-ceilinged, brightly painted basement to check out the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly Middle Eastern menu. Selections such as lamb kebabs marinated in lemon juice and olive oil ($11.75) and the empanada-like feta cheese sambousik ($6.50) pair up nicely with the large selection of Indian pilsners. And each order comes with a blanket of warm, fluffy sajh draped over a wrought-iron stand in the center of the table—perfect for blocking the view of your dining partner once the hookah high wears off. (KH)
9610 SE 82nd Ave., 788-3066. Lunch and dinner daily.
Unless you live in outer Southeast Portland, this Thai restaurant nestled in the cozy environs of a concrete strip mall is hardly worth the extra gas it takes to get there. But if your evening errands involve a trip to a home-improvement store and a tanning salon, you may as well hit the trifecta by tacking on a late-night date for pad Thai ($7.99) at Arawan. The green curry with chicken ($7.99) is sweet but savory, and the papaya-salad appetizer ($6.99) is crunchy and satisfying. (BS)
*NEW* Los Baez
2424 E Burnside St., 230-0956. Lunch and dinner daily.
The local branch of a Salem-based family empire, Los Baez recently opened in a spartan concrete box on Burnside. Warm chips and fresh-tasting jalapeño salsa arrive almost instantly and provide brain fuel for decoding the excessively long, convoluted menu. A typical dinner plate, at $8.95, combines a creamy bean-and-guacamole burrito with a saucy, if somewhat spongy, chile relleno, Spanish rice, lard-free black or refried pinto beans and homemade flour tortillas. Sure, the Baez atmosphere leaves something to be desired, and the restaurant definitely has an unhip, un-Portland feel, but it's nice to know there's a place in town where you can wear a sombrero on your birthday. (SAC)
1028 SE Water Ave., 546-8110. Breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday.
Located in the shadow of clarklewis in a 'hood rapidly changing from nowhere to somewhere, this compact bakery/lunch counter is a welcome addition. For the best Reuben ($6) east of Goose Hollow or a generous bowl of tomato soup ($4) like Campbell's never made, hustle on down and make sure you save a couple of bucks for a shot at the willpower-busting selection of tarts, pies and cakes. (NJ)
Bella Faccia Pizzeria
2934 NE Alberta St., 282-0600. Lunch and dinner daily.
Yum. If you're the kind of person who would actually consider going to New York just for a foldable slice of thin-crust, be happy—you can get it in Northeast Portland. Bella Faccia's whole pies ($18.50) are giant and perfectly crispy. The Marguerite, with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, is a favorite. Or try a slice of the vegan ($3.25), made with bean paste and topped with soy-marinated tofu, artichoke hearts and other guiltless indulgences. (BO)
132 SW 3rd Ave., 222-3187. Breakfast and lunch daily.
The Bijou is one of those Portland institutions that's been around about million years with the same menu, staff and blue-checkered tablecloths. These days, though, instead of the PDX avant-garde, the joint is filled with young, urban hipsters. Thankfully, these patrons are nice folks just looking for a bite of the famous Bijou breakfast oyster hash ($12.50). No, that doesn't quite qualify as a "cheap eat," but the mushroom hash ($9.75), with its gargantuan garlic taste and salsa-level amount of cilantro, rocks the buds just as well. Of course, lunch is available, too, but the Bijou is all about the—pardon our French—petit déjeuner. (LS)
5137 NE Sandy Blvd., 288-8271. Breakfast and lunch daily.
Given the Texas-sized portions doled out at this local retort to Denny's, it's no surprise this mini-chain with five Portland-area locations also has an outpost in the Lone Star state. The heaping corned-beef Benedict ($9) is an arteriosclerotic grand slam: housemade corned beef, poached eggs and home fries topped with a ladleful of tangy hollandaise. The decor and service mirror the menu's comfort-food focus, striking the right balance between greasy spoon and Grandma's. (IG)
*NEW* Black Sheep Bakery
833 SE Main St., 473-8534. Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday.
When the streets are thick with rush-hour auto traffic, biking downtown can feel like swimming upstream. That's why we love the shot of bike-friendliness this all-vegan bakery and coffee joint infuses into our morning commute with a counterculture take on the typical espresso shack. Featuring a "bike-thru" window where two-wheeled travelers can fuel up with espresso, bagel sandwiches and sweets, all without getting out of the saddle, there's even a "bike-thru special": a 12-ounce coffee, a muffin and a patch kit for all of $6. (SAC)
Blossoming Lotus Portland
925 NW Davis St., 228-0048. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Ascetics and aesthetes alike will find something to love in the all-raw-all-the-time Blossoming Lotus' beautifully composed menu featuring items like cashew hummus ($5) and a spinach salad ($4 small, $6 large) with daikon, scallions and tamari almonds. Substantial appetites are satisfied by the Live Wrap of pepita pâté ($6) with cucumber, tomato and avocado, or the Indian Bowl ($7) of brown rice, greens and curried vegetables. All dishes are vegan, organic and locally grown. Wish you knew how to make this cosmically karmic stuff Now there's a cookbook. (CM)
*NEW* Bluefin Sushi
1988 SW Broadway, 274-7922. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
The new sushi bar on the ground floor of PSU's Broadway Building is nothing you haven't seen before, but you can't beat it for a healthy, beautiful and budget-friendly lunch break. Scan the conveyor belt for fresh salmon sashimi ($1.75), dynamite rolls ($2.75), edamame ($1.25) and even an incongruous but yummy carrot cake ($1.75) for dessert. Efficient staffers ensure you'll never wait for a seat or a refill of the complimentary green tea. As far as college food goes, Bluefin blows the competition out of the water. (SAC)
2225 NE Broadway, 284-4653. Lunch and dinner daily.
Grab one of the five tables in this claustrophobic storefront and get ready to dig into the best injera—the tangy, fermented-flour pancake that forms the serving platter, eating utensil, and primary starch of every Ethiopian meal—in town, topped with piles of lentils and greens or stews of chicken, beef and lamb. Pair a vegetarian ($9) and meat ($11) combo for a stomach-busting culinary tour for two, wash it down with a glass of tej honey wine ($3.50), and feel like the lion of Zion. (BW)
2839 NE Alberta St., 281-3662. Lunch and dinner daily.
This authentic Mexican gem is a savior for folks with thin wallets and intricate palates. While the kitchen prepares incredible fajita burritos, venture into the menu a bit. Try the menudo ($4.95), a spicy soup made with beef tripe and rumored to be a cure for hangovers, or indulge in the carnitas ($4.95), a small dish of meat shreds simmered in water until tender, then braised until nicely brown. Wash it all down with a glass of horchata ($1.50) and walk away feeling prettier than Frida Kahlo. (BC)
BridgePort Ale House
3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-6540. Lunch and dinner daily.
Local-friendly fare like broccoli pizza pie ($11) and smoked sockeye salmon ($12) may be organic and naturally raised, the staff may be friendly, and the beer may be deliciously cheap during happy hour ($2.50), but this recently remodeled alehouse, with its mirror-lined booths and oversized clock, feels a lot more like a swank hotel bar than a longtime Hawthorne brewpub institution—not to be confused with its big brewery brother in the Pearl. And, despite its uncanny similarity to the joint where your high-school friends meet to discuss their fledging careers in the futures market, don't let that dissuade you from joining the throng here: The beer (and staff) try not to discriminate. (KSC)
40 NE 28th Ave., 238-1058. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, dinner Saturday-Sunday.
Chowing down on big bowls of penne and linguine at this stylish Italian cafe is almost as fun as checking out the other diners. Sandwiched between lower East Burnside and the mansions of Laurelhurst, La Buca attracts as diverse a clientele as anywhere in town, with hipsters, young parents, suited elites and the nursing-home set all lured in by the promise of excellent pasta for under $10, even with extra meat and veggies. Try penne tossed with pancetta ($8.50) or a basic pesto linguine ($6.75), and wash it down with a cool Thomas Kemper root beer ($1.75). (BW)
1212 NW Glisan St., 221-0011. Breakfast and lunch daily.
With apple strudel cooling on the counter and chipped mugs that read "Kansas City Here We Come," Byways Cafe sits at the cultural crossroads of Grandma's country kitchen and the Pearl's District's feeble attempts at kitsch. That said, Granny probably never soaked her French toast in amaretto ($8.75) or fried up an Alamo omelette with avocado, peppers and sour cream ($8.50). Classic comfort grub like biscuits and gravy ($7.75), homemade corned-beef hash ($7.95) and blue-corn pancakes with honey-pecan butter ($9.25 full stack) leave visitors as warm and fuzzy as snuggling up against the old broad's bosom. (JM)
1801 NE Broadway, 287-4750. Breakfast and lunch daily.
Don't mind the looong waits for a table during the weekend brunch rush—your reward at this Northeast staple is a heaping plate sure to send you into belt-loosening weekend nap mode. For the two-hour nap, try "Henry's North American" ($8.75), sweet Italian sausage scrambled with three eggs, fresh spinach and fontina. Just want an hour siesta Order the Tex-Mex breakfast burrito ($8.75) of seasoned black beans, fresh salsa, and Jack cheese in a tortilla with three eggs and sour cream. And, to make sure the kids also leave your snooze undisturbed, you can't go wrong ordering them a short stack of buttermilk pancakes ($6). (HS)
6620 NE Glisan St., 254-9842. Lunch and early dinner Monday-Saturday.
American sub sandwiches, often 2 feet long, piled to the rafters with iceberg lettuce and requiring a detachable snake jaw to consume, are sooo overrated. Vietnamese strip-mall revelation Cali Sandwiches switches out massive girth for humungo flavor, stuffing its humble little French baguettes with matchsticks of puckery pickled carrots and radishes, mouth-zinging rounds of jalapeño, heaps of cilantro and juicy layers of meats, from char-skinned pork and sweet lemongrass beef to thin slices of ham and unidentifiable—yet delish—pâté. The sammies are only $2.50 each (wow!) and pair remarkably well with the salty crunch of Fritos (also available at Cali). Nobody's gonna call this very modest joint a looker, stranded in a fluorescent-lit asphalt island across from the Northeast Glisan Fred Meyer. But take a nibble of the Cali Special, packed with pâté, steamed and BBQ pork and ham (sorry, this one's $2.75), and this sandwich shop looks remarkably like heaven. (KC)
Cannon's Rib Express
5410 NE 33rd Ave., 288-3836. Lunch and dinner daily.
Need meat Cannon's got your back—and ribs, legs, thighs and breast. The walk-up shack with picnic seating is perfect for any carnivore (there's a vegetarian menu, too, but who are we kidding ). Newbies should tag-team the sampler ($10.50), which comes with huge, succulently messy ribs, a chicken wing and a hot sausage. Poultry fans can tear into a huge chicken ($7.50) which, like everything else, is swimming in hot or mild sauce. Bring a bib. (APK)
Cha! Cha! Cha!
1605 SE Bybee Blvd., 232-0437. 1986 SW 6th Ave., 294-0677, and other locations. Lunch and dinner daily.
Land a plate-sized burrito stuffed with grilled veggies for $3.75 at this vibrantly painted Sellwood restaurant, the original in a friendly citywide chain that will soon open the fancy-sounding Cha on Northwest 21st Avenue. Ambience warms up during summertime courtyard eating, but Cha3 is homey inside and short on snootiness (kids are welcome here). Order at the counter and in minutes you'll see your taquitos—four corn tortillas topped with meat, chicken or mashed potatoes ($4.75)—or a "plato" of mole enchiladas ($5.95), the most expensive entree. Choices fill a two-page menu with standards like tortas and surprises like the "Cha Salad" of cactus strips tossed with veggies and cilantro and topped with cojito cheese. (AA)
3553 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 736-9381. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday.
Ooh-la-la. This cutesy French bistro/crêperie on the bustling Hawthorne District strip almost always exceeds expectations. Beyond an extensive list of sweet and savory crêpes are nifty quiches good for a man-sized appetite, tangy salads and incredibly awesome soups. The grilled tuna salad NiÇoise ($9.75) makes great brunch food alongside a near-perfect vegetarian French onion soup ($4.25 bowl). The only downside The tiny dining room gets hairy during the weekend brunch rush. (IKW)
1473 NE Prescott St., 287-0171. Lunch and dinner daily.
A slice of Mexico City (complete with telenovelas on the television), Chilango's is a hole-in-the wall market south of the Alberta hullabaloo. It looks like a rundown bodega, until the smell of authentic Mexican dishes hits you—none of that Tex-Mex mall crap here. Try an enchilada plate ($7), perfectly prepared with your choice of meat and generous portions of beans and rice. Tacos ($1.50 each) come on delicious homemade tortillas, while the gorditas ($3) are like savory, meat-and-bean donuts. Mmm...doughnuts. (APK)
Clay's Smokehouse Grill
2932 SE Division St., 235-4755. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.
Smoked-flesh lovers, rejoice! Clay's has some of the tastiest, most tender meats in town. The lively interior is filled with the best smells on Division, and service is fast and friendly. Clay's is a homestyle holdout in an increasingly ethnic and ritzifying Southeast. Unfortunately, prices run a little high for a barbecue joint, like $8 for eight (delicious) smoked wings. But the ribs ($12.75) and brisket platter ($11.75) are spot-on comfort food. Want cheaper Check out weekend deals on 50-cent wings and dollar Buds in the afternoon. (IKW)
*NEW* Corbett Fish House
5901 SW Corbett Ave., 246-4434. Lunch and dinner daily.
These fish and chips are breaded with a light layer of crunchy rice flour to stay true to Wisconsin tradition; happily, this method is also gluten-free for the celiac-disease sufferers in the house (no trans fats, either!) and makes for less of a debilitating gut bomb than the typical heavy, beer-battered variety. The tugboat combo ($14) showcases the varied flavors and textures of fish from around the hemisphere: mild, succulent walleye and halibut; meaty, spicy, chile-fried catfish; and pungent Willapa Bay oysters. And there's no better place to enjoy a Packers game. (SAC)
Cup and Saucer
3566 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-6001. 3000 NE Killingsworth St., 287-4427. 8237 N Denver Ave., 247-6011. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Owner Karen Harding is expanding her ever-growing empire built on hormone-free eggs, veg-friendly entrees and hot lesbian waitresses. Just weeks ago she opened another outpost in the once breakfast-barren NoPo neighborhood of Kenton. The corner cafe, located within spitting distance of a certain city commish's front door, has all of Harding's signature stuff, including large platters of reasonably priced omelettes ($6.75-7.25), "world-famous" scrambles (around $7) and praiseworthy biscuits and gravy ($6.50) that are sure to fit the family budget. Although she doesn't seem to scrimp on quantity, Harding sometimes misses the mark on quality, at least when lunchtime arrives. What's up with the condimentless club sandwich ($7.25) and the blah fries ($3.50) (BB)
*NEW* Dalo's Kitchen
4134 N Vancouver Ave., 808-9604. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
A nondescript industrial building on Vancouver Avenue hides a secret: some of the best Ethiopian food in the city. For just $5.99, you can get a bowl of awaze tibbs—chunks of boneless chicken (or beef) cooked in a rich, spicy sauce. It's served with a round of tummy-filling injera bread, as well as your choice of one small vegetable dish. Vegetarian choices are even more affordable: Two can get full on the vegetarian platter for $8.99, with small bowls of each of the four veggie dishes offered. The stellar gomen (tender, flavorful spinach with onions and garlic) is not to be missed. It's warm and friendly there, too. (MW)
4607 SE Woodstock Blvd., 771-3101. Dinner and late-night daily. Cash or check only.
Cajun specialties abound at the colorful, retro-styled Delta, one of Portland's best-kept cafe secrets. Sweet cornbread is served before every meal, and all dishes are made entirely from scratch, as the restaurant is "dedicated to remaining very generous with the love." Start off with a heaping bowl of Nana's Chicken and Dumpling soup ($5). An authentic po' boy is hard to find in PDX, but the Delta's got the real deal ($7.50-$10). Check out the Southern Sampler ($8) for a taste of the Delta's excellent side dishes—from mac 'n' cheese to stewed tomatoes and okra—and don't miss the blackened catfish. God will strike you down if you do. (LK)
3035 SE Division St., 234-7499. Breakfast and lunch daily.
One of the best of the Southeast brunch set, the Detour always offers a high bang-to-buck ratio. Potato skillets come with toppings like avocado, bacon and goat cheese, or portabella, smoked salmon and peppers for only $5.50. An awesome chicken sandwich on homemade flatbread, the Bortfeld ($6.50), is great lunch fare, especially with a side salad dressed in pomegranate vinaigrette. Service is almost always slow, but what are you in such a damn hurry for, anyway (IKW)
1936 N Killingsworth St., 283-5936. Breakfast and lunch daily, early dinner Tuesday-Friday.
Though not the most consistent joint around, this bright and casual corner cafe offers Portland's most authentic Italian cannoli, pignoli, sfogliatelle ($1.50-$3) and other traditional baked goods. Zeppoli (Italian doughnuts), available only on the last Saturday of every month, have a huge cult following and sell out early. Frittatas ($8.50), Italian-inspired soups ($3.50-4.50) and a large variety of sandwiches and antipasti plates ($3.50-$8.75) round out the menu, with pizza available on weekends. (LAC)
2521 SE Clinton St., 235-0203. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily.\
The food at this famous east-side eatery is more like glorified bar nibbles, making the dimly lit dining room a nice spot to start a late-night crawl. Though best known for burgers ($5.50-$7), Dots has a spicy hummus and pita app ($4.50) that's generous, tasty and unexpectedly exotic. The chicken and green chile quesadilla ($7.50) does the trick like a 10-cent hooker, and the plentiful pollo platter ($7.50) delivers with a heaping plate of seasoned chicken, black beans and brown rice. Wash it all down with a full lineup of microbrews and house cocktail specialties, including the requisite Willamette Valley martini. (LK)
*NEW* Du's Grill
5365 NE Sandy Blvd., 284-1773. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday.
Three words: chicken and beef ($7.50). Sure, you can test-drive the spicy yakisoba noodles ($7.20) and dally with the watery tofu bowl ($6), but ultimately, you're gonna come back for the three words that have made this Sandy Boulevard hole-in-the-wall a teriyaki takeout pilgrimage spot since 1995. A heap of smoky-moist hunks of char-grilled chicken and crunchy-moist morsels of beef—marinated in teriyaki sauce and 7-Up (!)—is laid lovingly over plain white rice and drizzled with rich, sweet-savory sauce. This is a pit stop, not a sit-down destination, although watching tiny co-owner Mun Cha bark orders to her small kitchen staff, pack up 20 or so orders, answer the phone, run credit cards and smile simultaneously is a lot like dinner theater. And, yeah, maybe it would be nice if Du's would add some brown rice to the menu, or switch up the teriyaki's ubiquitous iceberg salad with creamy poppyseed dressing for a side of steamed veggies, but hey, when you get this close to teriyaki perfection, you don't haggle over details. (KC)
133 SW 2nd Ave., 223-4090. 8233 N Denver Ave., 517-0683. 2764 NW Thurman St., 226-0409. Lunch and dinner daily.
The Pathammavong family's restaurant empire just keeps growing, and for good reason: All three locations serve up reliably fresh, tasty, affordable dishes that please both hardcore galangaholics and casual pad Thai enthusiasts in pleasant dining rooms with friendly servers. All entrees ($8.50-$15) are available as hot or mild as you can stand, and most offer a choice of seven meats. While the kitchen always satisfies with classics like tom kha soup ($8-$9) and the usual pads, check out less common offerings like the Thai sausage ($9.50) to get the most out of your meal. (BW)
Escape from New York
622 NW 23rd Ave., 227-5423. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily.
Everybody knows this by-the-slice shop makes the best thin-crust pizza for those PDXers who prefer their slices from NYC (you can also order a whole pie for $14.50). A cozy and somewhat cluttered joint, it's covered in so much ephemera one might think the stickers on the wall are the only thing holding this place together. That said, for just $2.50 you can load up on slices of foldable cheese and pepperoni ($2.75) or a rotating menu of specialty slices ($12.95). Two slices and a drink make for a great (and extra cheap) night out. (NS)
Fat Kitty Falafel
2016 SE Division St., fatkitty.biz. Lunch and early dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Fat Kitty Falafel is a cart. A cart on Southeast Division Street in the parking lot of the Mirador, an odds-'n'-ends furniture joint—but that's beside the point. All that Fat Kitty sells is falafel sandwiches ($5), falafel being a deep-fried ball of mashed garbanzo beans, and sandwich being a thick pita along with cucumbers, tomatoes and tahini sauce. Hands-down, it's the best falafel in the city. Plus, proprietor Al, who holds forth at length about his trials and tribulations with the police, Seattle street kids and Harlem life with a scratchy voice and a happy yet somewhat sassy demeanor, makes the five-minute wait for your sammy an extremely entertaining one. (LS)
Fire on the Mountain
4225 N Interstate Ave., 280-9464. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Friday-Saturday.
A great place for "hangover Sunday," or any other time of the week you feel the need for a speedy but not spendy meal of mouthwatering hot-wing thrills, FOTM boasts an extensive and ever-changing list of wing sauces. Some, like the "soon to be famous" peanut, are a huge surprise hit—others, like the sickly mango, are disappointing duds. Prices range from six wings for $5.95 to 250 wings for $120.95 (that's a whole lotta chickens!). Sweet-potato fries ($4.95) are not to be missed, but stay away from the "el jefe" wings—those things are nuclear hot! (IKW)
North Lombard Street at Greeley Avenue, 289-9866. Breakfast and lunch daily.
The location for this food cart (the parking lot of a video store) may be humble; its offerings are anything but. Quickly becoming one of the best reasons to drive down North Lombard, Flavourspot is the perfect pint-sized pit stop for your morning or midday commute. The waffles, all wrapped in tinfoil for neat and easy consumption, are divine in flavor and variety. Tops on the list The s'more waffle ($3.50) and the sausage and maple ($4). Nutella, cinnamon and honey options also abound. Also plentiful Steaming cups of joe ($1) and specialty drinks, including that old Mormon coffee substitute, Postum ($1.50). (AS)
*NEW* Fleur De Lis
3930 NE Hancock St., 459-4887. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tuesday-Friday, breakfast and lunch Saturday-Sunday.
This bakery may not be the coziest hangout—the former public library has all the atmosphere of a Michael's discount crafts emporium—but Pearl Bakery founder Greg Mistell's new baby is the undisputed bread champion of the Hollywood District. Sandwiches ($6.75, half $3.75) are top-notch: Try the Caprese (fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato with a tasty balsamic dressing) or the indulgent roasted pork loin with caramelized onions. (BO)
*NEW* The Florida Room
435 N Killingsworth St, 287-5658. 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday, noon-2 am Saturday-Sunday.
This NoPo joint has earned its reputation with the Church of the Bloody Mary and Hangover Brunch ($3-$4). Breakfast potatoes are tater tots, fried dough comes à la Voodoo Doughnut, and Bloody Marys ($4-$7.50) are presented in several styles—spiked with tequila, garnished with smoked oysters, speared with pickled okra—and served in pint glasses with or without salt. Daily menu items include sandwiches, salads and finger foods. Sweet and slightly spicy Jamaican jerk wings ($7), salty, dough-wrapped Lit'l Smokies ($5) and deep-fried avocado ($5) are all tasty and popular. In contrast, the insanely sweet blended mojitos and piña coladas will rot your teeth. (LC)
812 SW Park Ave., 546-3166. 115 NW 22nd Ave., 299-6305. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily.
All types eat at Elephants, Portland's most happening highbrow deli. Breakfast is good, from banana muffins ($1.75) to the delectable sour-cherry scone ($1.95), but lunch or a light dinner is sensational, with unique offerings like the Willamette Valley salad ($7.25) of fresh greens, grapes, bleu cheese and hazelnuts and the grilled Caprese panini ($6.25), bursting with fresh flavors. Although you might find more offerings within the ivory environs of the Northwest Uptown deli, the downtown spot comes with added bonuses of imported chocolates, fine wines and beers and cute cashiers. (SMB)
Fong Chong 301 NW 4th Ave., 228-6868. Dim sum, lunch daily, dinner Wednesday-Monday.
This cavernous, self-described "Oriental specialties restaurant" is a thoroughly authentic Chinatown diner, the perfect place to fill your tummy with a tasty dim sum lunch or, on the weekends, with pre-club grub. And it doesn't get much grubbier, in the best sense, than greasy-cheesy crab puffs (10 for $4.95) or a steaming heap of fried Mandarin eggplant ($7.25, no rice). It's unclear whether the puffs contain actual crab—the crustaceans stewing in the doorway tank look very near death. Eighties soft rock and round paper lanterns overhead, foul bathrooms and stained floors underfoot. Impossible not to love. (SMB)
Ford's on 5th
121 NW 5th Ave., 226-2828. Lunch and early dinner Monday-Thursday, lunch, dinner and late-night Friday-Saturday.
From the folks behind the much-missed West Hills watering hole Henry Ford's, FO5 continues its celebration of charred cattle—only quicker and cheaper. Power-lunchers and late-night crowds inhale cheesesteaks ($6.95), bacon bleu cheese burgers ($6.95), Hebrew National hot dogs ($3.50), kiddie pool-sized Caesars ($6) and thick, multi-meated Italian sandwiches ($7.95). There's little for herbivores, but the Caprese panini ($6.50) will satisfy vegetarian friends. Ford's has good news for drunkards: The restaurant stays open until 4 am on the weekends. (MT)
*NEW* Foti's Greek Deli
1740 E Burnside St., 232-0274. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
This bit of Athens on Burnside looks like it's been around for a thousand years, a rare reminder of pre-hipsterized Southeast Portland. There's a beauty to the simplicity of Foti's, a convenience store with a dozen tables to enjoy some good, honest Grecian bites. Grab a Hillas Greek beer for yourself from the fridge and order a gyro sandwich ($4.75) from the full-service deli counter. For something more substantial, try the souvlaki plate ($9.50); both have Foti's trademark tsatziki sauce. Foti's finest feature, though, are definitely the now-antique Tetris, Ms. Pac Man and Capcom Bowling machines out front. (LK)
2338 NE Alberta St., 288-8299. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Sunday.
Francis is a unique destination for indulgent, classic meals with a couple of surprising twists. Chef Christopher Pierce's Benedict special ($10.50) is a breakfast-menu standout—round it out with hash browns or skillet-fried grits ($2) or a plate of seasonal fruit ($5). The beets in a beets-and-greens salad ($7.50) are smoked as well as roasted for an excellent depth of flavor, the meatloaf sandwich ($7.50) is inlaid with bacon and served with housemade potato chips and a chunky tomato-garlic ketchup. A three-bean burger ($8) rides in style on a moist egg-and-butter roll. Save room for Francis' rotating cake ($4) selection. (SC)
Fuller's Coffee Shop
136 NW 9th Ave., 222-5608. Breakfast and lunch daily.
At 10 am on a crisp Thursday morning, here's what we heard at Fuller's Coffee Shop from a gruff guy with car-shop fingernails and a ratchet wrench in his pocket: "I'm gonna have me a bacon cheeseburger, fries and big old thing of tartar sauce." Fuller's, a circa-1947 diner-cum-coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch, appeals to everyone. Why Because Fuller's doesn't take itself too seriously—food excepted, of course. Menu items like the pig in a blanket ($6.75), hotcake sandwich (three pancakes with two large eggs served with syrup, also $6.75) and the breakfast steak ($9) ensure a hearty start of the day for those who enjoy a meal while sitting on a red-vinyl stool at a counter behind an open kitchen. Yes, there's lunch food, but when a place serves breakfast all day, wouldn't you opt for a hotcake sandwich (LS)
1101 SE Division St., 445-9777. Breakfast and lunch daily.
Though folks are often slurping Stumptown coffee and waiting for tables outside of this brunch joint, there's almost always walk-up seating at the bar. And why not With a full menu of cocktails and standard hair-of-the-dog fare—screwdrivers ($4) and Bloody Marys ($5.50)—there's no reason not to get boozy while scarfing down tasty scrambles like the applewood-smoked bacon, tomato, cheddar and spinach combo ($7.50) or the chorizo, chiles and cheddar classic ($8) topped with pasilla chile-infused sour cream! An array of locally made hot sauces—crafted at the hands of a Bar of the Gods cook—offer a dash of tasty heat, too (try the Verde and Conrad variations). (AWM)
*NEW* Gloria's Secret
12500 SW Broadway, Beaverton, 643-2320. Lunch Tuesday-Saturday, dinner by reservation only.
When we called Gloria for a dinner reservation at her cafe, tucked into the ungentrified strip of old downtown Beaverton, she asked, "Why do you want to eat here " Gloria's El Salvadoran food is so lovingly prepared, uniquely spicy and delicious that the world needs to know. A chipotle chicken dinner was perfection. The pupusas ($8.25), delicate corn-flour pancakes, are rolled up with three cheeses, bean paste and meat; the habañero and mango chicken has zip with a slight afterburn, with the fruit tempering the peppers. All dishes come with black beans, rice and salad. Even though there is no alcohol, Gloria's friendly but unintrusive banter seals the deal for a delightful evening. (SC)
18 NW 4th Ave., 223-3838. Brunch, lunch and dinner daily.
Next to a seedy-looking "bookstore" and in a need of a halfway decent paint job, Good Taste has about as much ambience as a Radio Shack on the moon. But don't be fooled—what this divey Chinatown enclave lacks in looks, it makes up for in food. It's the only reason anyone would walk down this street in the first place. Good Taste lives up to its name with hearty (and inexpensive) fare, including tender clay pot brisket ($7.95), rice porridge ($3.95), barbecued duck (half bird, $7.50), and perfect homemade noodles ($4.50). Make a trip here for a great lunch or an alternative to brunch—Good Taste opens early. (MT)
3634 NE Sandy Blvd., 232-4888. Lunch and dinner daily.
The name walks the line between cute and dumb, but when it comes to the food, this strip-mall joint ain't messing around: Bowls of basic pho ($5.95) are huge, unfussy, and quick to arrive. Other dishes, like the stir-fried lemongrass and hot-pepper tofu ($7.25-$7.75), are equally gigantic, rich and spiced in a way that doesn't pander to the unschooled palate. Service is friendly, and the space is a lot nicer than you might expect from the location. (BO)
3957 N Mississippi Ave., 287-8800. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Saturday, breakfast and lunch Sunday.
An eclectic collection of paintings hang from the walls, modern pop plays softly from the speakers, and the dull clatter of dishes can be heard as you make your way over to the long stretch of inviting wooden benches lining the walls. The menu offers up a bevy of down-home dishes, from banana-chocolate-chip short stacks ($4.75) to biscuits ($5.75) covered in—you guessed it—gravy. The French toast, a $1.50 sub side with omelettes ($7.75-$9.75), is perfectly sugary and dense. (AS)
940 SE Morrison St., 234-4086. Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday.
OK, first of all: Yes, there's a Gretchen, and she's adorable. A sweet mom type, she rules her tiny little deli with a firm and friendly hand. Gretchen's Kitchen is a sammy joint, and damn are they good. Not only are these sandwiches enormous, they're an original interpretation of traditional dishes. Check out the "Cobbwich" ($7.50, with soup or salad), a take on the Cobb salad that includes turkey, egg salad and bacon, or the Moo and Blue, a roast beef sandwich loaded with bleu-cheese crumbles. Throw in Gretchen's cheery service, and you have reason enough to come back again and again and again.... (LS)
1012 SW Morrison St., 274-0628. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
When the Nicholas restaurant empire acquired the Long Island Cafe last year, we didn't expect them to put it through one of the most remarkable remodeling jobs in recent memory. Goodbye peeling paint and broken chairs, hello mirrored Mediterranean-temple motif and Bride of Frankenstein heads. Although you can still order pasta and pizza at Habibi, that's not what you're here for—go for the pita, the mezza ($9.75-$11.50) and the incredible shawarma ($8.50-$9.50). For lunch, order a pita sandwich stuffed with your choice of Leb spread ($5) or more shawarma ($5.75). (BW)
*NEW* Hae Rim
11729 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 671-9725. Lunch and dinner daily.
Lunch specials ($6.95) are available weekdays until the late hour of 3 pm at this "comfortably stylish even though it's in a strip mall" Korean joint. The standard bi bim bop rice-and-veggie bowl is a step above average, with vibrant, clean and well-seasoned egg and greens. Other specials include tender bulgogi (barbecued chicken, beef or pork, plus rice and California rolls) and a hearty seafood and vegetable stew, all served with salad, soup and the typical Barbie doll-sized Korean sides, which the friendly waiter-proprietor untypically offers to replenish without being asked. (JAM)
Half & Half
923 SW Oak St., 222-4495. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch and early dinner Sunday.
Kitsch never looked so cool. This little downtown cafe is an eclectic mix of Dolly Parton and aluminum water cups—cute, with grit. Sandwich offerings playfully mock tradition: The Prius ($4.25), a standard egg, tomato and cheese affair, comes layered with onion marmalade and roasted peppers. Then there's the Tree Fairy ($5.75), a grilled combination of pears, Gorgonzola and walnut pesto. Bite into a homemade Oreo cookie ($1.50), then chase it down with a cup of Courier coffee ($1). And don't forget to try the "best pie in the land" ($3) while reading a hipster rag or taking in an always-funky art display. (BC)
2525 NE Alberta St., 808-9601. Lunch and dinner daily.
Why can't all chowder houses be this good, and this unpretentious Family-style joint Halibut's has some of the best fish 'n' chips in town: perfectly battered, golden-fried goodness from the sea, including halibut, of course, or cod (available in half or full portions, $7-$15), giant tiger prawns and seasonal specials like sturgeon or large diver scallops. The clam chowder ($6) is magnificent—smoky, creamy and loaded with clams. To shiver your timbers, a full bar is available at Halibut's II, located next door. (LAC)
4232 NE Sandy Blvd., 249-1021. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
For the past three years, Hama Sushi has beckoned hungry shoppers from the Trader Joe's next door, offering a top-notch traditional alternative to the gloppy krab in TJ's grab-'n'-go California roll. Standbys, such as yellowtail tuna, barbecued-eel unagi and a smoked-salmon roll, are as good as anywhere in town, and the specials board always holds a few more adventurous (or just authentic: California roll with real Dungeness: $5.25) options. Trader Joe's is packing up and pulling its clientele a few blocks away, but no worries: Hama can easily stand on its own. (IG)
2114 SE Clinton St., 235-1035. Carryout 11 am-2:30 am, delivery 4 pm-4 am daily.
Sick of soaking up that last unnecessary cocktail with Plaid Pantry nachos Well, meet the beer drinker's messiah—a pizzeria that delivers till 4 am. With a lethargic and often intoxicated customer base (the place offers carryout and delivery), Hammy's could easily sacrifice quality product for speed and affordability. But it doesn't. Crusts are made from scratch, the produce is organic and bought locally, and the tangy marinara sauce is the product of personal experimentation. The breakfast pizza—with bacon, eggs and roasted potatoes ($16)—satisfies omelette cravings, obviating a wait in line at the Hotcake House. (JM)
1011 NW 16th Ave., 226-1258. Dinner and late-night Monday-Saturday.
You don't have to drop a whole lot of cheddar here to feel like you're Louis XV. This ever-so-not-humble eatery is the place where young hot ones plop down three to 12 bucks and load up on incredibly delicious artifacts of French (crêpes) and Portland (beer) culture. Mais oui, where else can you poach a smoked salmon and white wine Gruyère crêpe ($8) to go with your PBR ($2) They also serve an assortment of salads and steaks (add on a half steak and salad to your crêpe for $9). Better yet, 'round midnight this late-night gathering spot is a great place to watch the mating rituals of the young and horny. Hawt. (BB)
1538 NE Alberta St., 281-1477. Breakfast and lunch daily.
This place has earned its reputation as one of Alberta's best-known breakfast meccas by serving fresh, clean, California-style cuisine in Oregon-sized lumberjack portions. It's a cozy nook, teeming with all sorts of people just waiting for their first bite from the diverse menu (or a cold mimosa). Hashes, including a pepper bacon and cheddar ($7.95), come topped with poached eggs and piled high. Brioche French toast ($6.75) is cut thick and covered in powdered sugar. There's lunch, too, but the breakfast is just too promising ever to pass up. (APK)
3401 SE Belmont St., 236-8325. Lunch and dinner daily.
This family-friendly Lebanese eatery is spacious, the kind of place you go with a group of five or six lively friends. Your best bets for crowd-pleasing fare here are the meat or veggie mezzas ($8-$9), both of which come with piles of tabbouleh, hummus, salad, pita bread and baba ghanouj. The veggie option features a dauntingly packed spinach pie and falafels, while the meat tray comes with a phallic kafta kebab on yellow rice and a meaty pie. If you visit Hoda's alone, the weighty, tahini-dripping super falafel ($4.75) can't be beat. If you have room, don't forget to grab some sticky-sweet baklava ($2.50) for dessert. (CJ)
Horn of Africa
3939 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 331-9844. Buffet lunch and dinner daily, buffet dinner Friday-Sunday.
Saturday Market vets Mohamed and Khadija Yousuf began stuffing locals with the spice-packed cuisine of Northeastern Africa more than a decade ago. Today, in their Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard dining room—where Cheetah napkin-ring holders and a vast, cloud-speckled blue sky painted overhead set the scene—the flavors haven't faded a bit. Sambusas, a.k.a. African hot pockets ($3.50 for two), bursting with warm green lentils or salty, tender chicken, get a dunk in fiery, emerald-green cilantro-jalapeño salsa. Vegetarian and meaty combo plates ($9.75-$12.95) are generous to a fault: grilled beef or chicken thighs and peppers spiked with lemon juice (lukkuu akhaawi) or lightly curried—but sometimes tough—lamb (foon hoolaa hurdii) snuggle up to heaps of neon-yellow saffron rice, veggies and red lentils, and, of course, huge rounds of that spongy-good African bread, biddeena. The best always comes last: a free, fresh saffron-cinnamon sugar doughnut and a few sprinkles of fragrant rose water with which to wash your hands. (KC)
*NEW* Hot Pot City
1975 SW 1st Ave., Suite J, 224-6696. Lunch and dinner daily.
If you don't consume the most fabulous, slurp-worthy soup imaginable at Hot Pot City, it's your own damn fault. That's because, like as with a Japanese shabu-shabu table or Korean barbecue joint, you're probably the one doin' the cooking at this nondescript gem of Northern Chinese cuisine ($7.95 lunch, $13.95 dinner). Newbies are confronted with a sit-down bar peppered with deep, inset steel (hot) pots, a long salad bar packed with veggies, tofu, noodles and raw proteins—beef, fish, chicken thighs, meatballs—and a small arsenal of spoons, long-handled wire baskets, chopsticks and bowls. Let the sweet staff's gestures guide your hand—plunk your favorite vittles into a range of broths (from head-clearing Ma-La soup redolent with Chinese herbs and red pepper to basic beef broths and Thai hot-and-sour bases) and get simmering. If you're not satisfied with the results, a dollop or two of Hot Pot's crazy array of vinegars and sauces should intensify the experience. Wanna get intimate Request a table and share a massive vessel with a steel divider down the middle perched on a tabletop burner, for spicy, wet, double hot-pot action. (KC)
India Chaat House (cart)
804 SW 12th Ave., 241-7944. Lunch and early dinner Monday-Saturday. Cash only.
One of the best Indian lunch carts in town, the all-vegetarian Chaat House (well, chaat van, actually) serves up a mean lunch special ($5) that includes rice, naan bread and one of a rotating array of three entrees (saag, korma and aloo among them). The Aloo Saag ($5) is packed with potatoes and spinach, perfectly spiced. The breads ($1.25-$2) are deliciously fluffy, and all portions are massive. It's a busy place, but well worth the wait, my good friend. (APK)
Industrial Cafe and Saloon
2572 NW Vaughn St., 227-7002. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday.
Pay no attention to the pipes shooting from the ceiling to the floor at this neighborhood burger-and-sandwich joint. They're for decoration only—meant to evoke a "cool industrial feel," a waitress explained. Still, this is no Pearl District purveyor of pretense. The menu of this off-the-beaten path outpost is chock-full of stick-to-your-ribs, B.S.-free offerings, from buttery grits ($4) to macaroni and cheese with ham ($9.50) and juicy cheeseburgers ($7.50) made from hormone-free, grass-fed beef straight from the owner's private ranch in St. Helens. How's that for authenticity (BS)
The Italian Joint
3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-3004. Dinner daily.
This tiny "joint" is, despite its cutesy name, a homey hideaway. Orange sponged walls and strings of lights feel a little fancy, not fussy, and help enlighten the space with a laid-back Hawthorne vibe. Although the claustrophobic pasta house can veer toward the higher end of the cheap-eats scale, its huge portions will fill you up quicker than your wallet empties. Tangy, oversized chicken marsala ($14 with soup or salad) is enough for two iron stomachs, while the super-cheesy veggie lasagna ($12) comes to your plate perfectly browned around the edges. Luckily, this stuff tastes just as good for lunch the next day. (CJ)
518 SW Taylor St., 279-0298. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Monday-Saturday.
Screw bagels and bran muffins—at Java Man, lattes are served with borscht, pierogi and other authentic, housemade items of Russian cuisine. The friendly and informative owner says, "Strong man needs meat," and the Siberian Pelmeni ($6.50)—boiled dumplings packed with beef—hit the spot. Blini ($6.25) crêpes come stuffed with chicken or sweet, housemade cheese and are served with Russian slaw. Save room for pastries, including flaky strudels ($2.25) just like your motherland used to make. (APK)
537 SE Ash St., 230-0463. Breakfast daily, lunch Monday-Friday.
Certain local yokel aficionados claim J&M's got the best scrambles in town, and, by God, they're right! The wonderful garden scramble ($7.50) pairs unusual flavors—leeks, mustard greens, roasted garlic, mushrooms and plenty of shredded Parmesan—so expertly you'll forget all that out-of-fashion meat stuff. Weekend specials like crab cakes Benedict ($10.25) offer tasty diversions, and just about everything comes with perfectly fried, onion-speckled potatoes. Consider the spacious interior, great service, Voodoo doughnuts and huge windows simply added bonuses. (AGM)
John Street Cafe
8338 N Lombard St., 247-1066. Breakfast and lunch Wednesday-Sunday.
The insurance-agency-inspired ambience is easy to ignore as you plunge into an omelet stuffed with smoked salmon and capers (weekends only) or avocado, Jack cheese and bacon ($8.75), served by welcoming-but-not-suffocating waiters. Massive, fluffy, crisp-edged pancakes come with black currants, pears, hazelnuts or almonds ($5.25). Your mother told you not to eat anything larger than your head—ignore her. Not in the mood for breakfast Lunchtime standouts are the Reuben sandwich ($8.75), blackened snapper salad ($10) and veggie-centric pastas ($8.75-$9.50). (JLM)
1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-1848. Breakfast and early lunch Tuesday-Saturday. $5 minimum for credit cards.
While it sits at one of the neighborhood's busiest intersections, Johnny B's, with its checkerboard tile floors and crabby posted notes ("Don't move my tables," "If you're in a rush, you came to the wrong place"), has all the old-school quirkiness of a country diner in the Ozarks, not Southeast Portland. Staples like the ham-and-egg breakfast ($6.95, with hash browns or pancakes), biscuits and gravy ($6.50) and homestyle burgers ($6.50) won't win many points for originality, but Johnny B's will take care of your hillbilly home-cooking fix. (CJ)
1742 SE 12th Ave., 467-4971. Breakfast and lunch daily.
Juniors' cheesy gold decor makes it look like the bastard child of a hole-in-the-wall diner and a Victorian-era flower-shop, but the gaudiness is in no way representative of the tiny breakfast joint's food. The portions of greasy, cheese-heavy potato melts (try the salsa-sour cream one) might not look large, but they're likely to slow down your entire day. Juniors' menu is short and sweet, but most items, like the hearty scrambles and yogurt-topped French toast, have vegan counterparts that are (almost) just as delicious. (CJ)
*NEW* K2 Kebab
3962-C SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-4900. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
A bustling Pakistani-Indian restaurant on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, K2 Kebab is halal, which is sort of the Islamic counterpart to kosher. It excludes pork, carnivorous animals and alcohol. The lambchop kebabs ($10)—four to an order—are marinated and rubbed in garam masala spices and arrive glistening, sprinkled with red onions and cilantro. The most popular lamb curry is the bhuna gosht ($8.50), which contains large hunks of tender lamb in a velvety, rich tomato curry. This is a dish that you have to order naan ($1.50) and basmati rice ($2) with in order to soak up the outstanding sauce. (LAC)
4147 SE Division St., 236-4770. Dinner daily.
Dim track lighting, dark paintings and cast-iron teakettles create an ambience of edgy relaxation at this hip vegetarian enclave. Sip loose-leaf deliciousness from the Tao of Tea ($4 a pot) or cast away convention with a young coconut, served in the shell ($5). Choose wisely, though, as some portions, such as the Thali ($12), might be a little light for the money on an empty stomach. Not all meals are scant, however: Hungry herbivores will not be disappointed by the spicy, anything-but-basic black-bean burrito ($10). (KSC)
Ken's Artisan Bakery
338 NW 21st Ave., 248-2202. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily.
The slim sandwich pickings at Ken Forkish's bakery leave no doubt that the bread is king, and the filler is just that—a few tastes carefully selected to highlight the slabs of leavened goodness they grace. The croque portabella ($6.45), a veggie take on the ham-and-cheese croque monsieur, sets off a hearty country levain with creamy béchamel and the bite of melted Gruyère, while the supple ciabatta under the tangy pulled pork ($7.50) is strong enough to absorb the sauce without buckling. If you're just popping in for a breakfast bite, of course, there's a flaky croissant with your name on it. (IG)
2924 N Lombard St., 283-9757. Lunch and dinner daily.
The exterior of this hole-in-the-wall—quirkily accented with a Mexican-flag trash can—may look innocuous enough, but inside lurks a weight watcher's nightmare: the breakfast burrito ($3.95). We're talking a two-hands-needed wrap stuffed to busting with bacon, eggs, potatoes, onions, refried beans, cheese—and more bacon. It's worth stopping by at any hour for this monster, or for more traditional Tex-Mex offerings like the al pastor burrito of marinated pork ($3.75) or the burrito de cabeza ($3.75), which Spanish-speakers will recognize, perhaps with horror, as tender beef head. (AWM)
9955 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, 646-7767. Lunch Monday-Saturday, dinner daily.
What Koreana lacks in hospitality and atmosphere it makes up for in generous servings of straight-up and honest Korean soul food. Seafood and tofu stew, spicy grilled chicken, or short-rib bento and bi bim bop are among several lunch specials ($6.95) that, accompanied by rice, salad, soup and the usual lineup of side dishes, offer the most bang for your lunchtime buck at this Hillsdale hot spot. Marinated pork and beef bulgogi ($12.95-$14.95), cooked on your own built-in-the-table grill, will appeal to the interactive diner. (JLM)
628 NW 23rd Ave., 242-0055. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Neither NYC-born or -bred, we may not be qualified to speak to the authenticity of Kornblatt's, whose menu boasts: "We offer the finest traditional delicatessen-style food west of the Hudson." But we swear they serve up a mean and meaty pastrami Reuben ($9.95). Everyone loves Kornblatt's bagels (only $1.95 with cream cheese), but this deli's finest feature might be the (free!) vat of pickles at every table. As one waiter mused, "It's more pickles than you can shake a stick at." (PR)
Laurelwood Public House and Brewery
1728 NE 40th Ave., 282-0622. 2327 NW Kearney St., 228-5553. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday.
Pros to the Northeast location: award-winning organic beers, huge sandwiches and a menu with something for everyone—pastas, burgers, salads and even enchiladas. Cons: Small children run free here, leaving endless noise and crayons in their wake. But the smell of a juicy, organic, free-range, shredded barbecue-pork sandwich ($8.75) would drive most carnivores to brave this kid-filled wilderness. Hopefully Laurelwood's upcoming third location in the former home of Sylvia's Italian Restaurant (Northeast 51st Avenue and Sandy Boulevard) will reduce the child-adult ratio—the new digs will be twice the size. And, if all else fails, there seems to be fewer tots at the Northwest location. (PR)
*NEW* Malay Satay Hut
2850 SE 82nd Ave. #104, 771-7888. Lunch and dinner daily.
Run, don't walk, to this most welcome Southeast 82nd Avenue newcomer, located in the Fubonn Shopping Center, the east side's Asian mecca. In a city overrun with great Thai and mediocre Chinese joints, the arrival of Malaysian cuisine—a subtle mélange of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian chow—last year was great news. The Satay Hut's menu combines robust, heavily spiced street food with more subtle curries and stir-frys. First-timers looking for a greatest-hits intro ought to try the roti chanai ($2.95), popiah ($5.25) and Hainanese chicken ($9.95). (NJ)
Marinepolis Sushi Land
1409 NE Weidler St., 280-0300, and other locations. Lunch and dinner daily.
The staff at this conveyor-belt sushi shack may not be able to muster the heartiest welcome when they shout irasshaimase to entering customers, but who really cares More important are the countless dishes—from standards like salmon nigiri ($1.50) to more creative concoctions like the mountain veggie rolls ($1)—which spin in front of patrons like so many colors on a hypnotic Tilt-A-Whirl. It's so cheap you'll squeal like a Japanese schoolgirl at a Hello Kitty emporium. (BS)
*NEW* Mekong Grill
7952 SE 13th Ave., 808-9092. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Home to fresh, pared-down cuisine a notch up from Southeast Asian street food, prepared and presented by brother and sister Tuan and Sarah Nguyen, Mekong serves quick but healthful takeout or dine-in fare along fast-gentrifying Southeast 13th Avenue. You order at the counter here, sans table service, off a somewhat limited menu where nothing tops $8.25, including garlic shrimp skewers over vermicelli noodles. Four to five rice or noodle entrees ($7-$8.25) are served with skewers or chunks of honey-lemongrass chicken, sesame beef, garlic shrimp, pork or tofu. And apps are good, if predictable: crispy eggrolls with fish sauce or two fat salad rolls with a rich, plummy peanut sauce ($3.50). (AA)
Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage
1111 SE Sandy Blvd., 230-1899. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
The decor at this counter-order shop is minimal, and the counters look easy to clean. Wise choices, since a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich ($7) is the sloppiest thing to come out of the Windy City since last year's Cubs. The beef is still dripping with the gravy it's marinated in—which is fine, so long as you order some shoestring fries ($1.60) to mop up the magnificent flavor. (AWM)
Milo's City Cafe
1325 NE Broadway, 288-6456. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Any breakfast connoisseur knows that Milo's serves some of the best eggs Benedict (with filet mignon) in Portland—try getting a table for two on a Saturday morning and you'll be waiting for at least an hour. The dinner menu at this contemporary cafe may not attract the same crowd, but its standard offerings of salads and pasta, like the tapenade-topped Mediterranean linguine ($11.25), are just as tasty. The chicken Parmesan sandwich—a breaded chicken breast with a generous dose of garlicky red sauce on crunchy sourdough—with side salad ($8.95) is simple but satisfying. Milo's is perfect for a low-key meal, but make sure to spring for dessert: The buttery, bite-size crème caramel is worth the extra 4 bucks. (PR)
2271 NW Johnson St., 221-1469. 3962 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-6981. 2735 N Killingsworth St., 286-5123. 4204 NE Halsey St., 288-4778. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Copies of menus, reviews and Hello Kitty love notes (including one that reads, "You never disappoint us when we are stoned") serve as the sole decoration at Mio's original Nob Hill locale, but ambience isn't the reason crowds lurk by the door. Sushi rolls like the Oregon, packed with crab and asparagus and topped with avocado and salmon, are all under $7.95, and combination lunch bentos like the spicy chicken, tofu and California roll are under $6.95. But the secret standouts are the sushi pizza ($7.25) and dynamite ($6.50), both creamy, riceless bounties of seafood. Mmm... mayo-rific. (JM)
3552 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3231. Lunch and dinner daily.
All that's missing from the equation at this music-pizza-beer paradiso are your friends. Luckily, it's BYOBFF every day at this joint, where whole pizzas run the gamut of taste sensations from classic cheese ($12) to the meat lovers' "Heart Stopper," with pepperoni, Italian sausage and Canadian bacon ($15.75). Top it off with a pint of microbrew ($3.50) or a cocktail from the Atlantis Lounge hidden within the restaurant. 'Za is also available by the typical (and not so typical) slice ($2.50-$3.50). (BS)
Le Bistro Montage
301 SE Morrison St., 234-1324. Lunch, dinner and late-night Tuesday-Thursday, dinner and late night Friday-Monday.
Le Bistro Montage always has been, and always will be, about rowdy servers, thumping music and crammed lines. This is the joint for memorable late-night bites and serves as a breeding ground for the skinny-jeans-and-thin-tie set. And LBM knows its stuff when it comes to serving a ramshackle ruckus of Southern dishes that range from heaping platters of jambalaya ($9.95) to legendary and somewhat infamous mac 'n' cheeses: savory, heavy garlic (the "Old Mac," $6.95) and Cajun gravy and jalapeños (spicy mac, $6.95) among them. But don't forget all the other li'l mouthwatering extras, including oyster shooters ($1.75) and rich peanut-butter pie ($5)! (EB)
*NEW* Moxie Rx (cart)
North Mississippi Avenue and North Shaver Street, 285-0701. 8:30 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday, extended hours in spring and summer. Cash or checks only.
How Portland can it get Step up to the faded, oh-so-tidy trailer for updated classics: The Swell—fried egg, prosciutto, provolone, roasted peppers and basil on ciabatta ($5.50)—joins a short list of hot and cold sandwiches and a daily soup ($4.25). Pastries are made on site, and the almond-plum scones, raspberry crumb muffins, perfect pignoli cookies and shortbread (75 cents-$2.25) rival those of Portland's best bakeries. If it's moxie restoration you crave, check out the drink menu: The "Rx Remedy "($4) blends bananas, almond butter and dates; Cold Cure and Fasting "Tonics" ($2.50) set you right. (JLM)
Mudai Ethiopian Restaurant
801 NE Broadway, 287-5433. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
Revert back to being a sloppy kid again and get your hands dirty at this double-decker Ethiopian cafe. Forget about the shabby, Rasta-inspired curtains and makeshift table settings—at Mudai, it's all about the flavorful eats. To get the most out of the hearty African spices, dig your fingers into the Mudai combo platter ($14.95). Scoop up the goods (piles of steaming lentils, puréed legumes and chicken slathered in fiery berbere seasonings) with the traditional spongy and tart injera bread. Mudai's ever-so-slight downfall? You'll have to go elsewhere for authentic Ethiopian desserts. However, it's a small price to pay for such a great meal. (EB)
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