Burger: Super Deluxe
5000 SE Powell Blvd., eatsuperdeluxe.com. 7 am-11 pm daily.
Not many new restaurants create gridlock. When Super Deluxe opened last summer, cars were spilling out of the parking lot and onto 50th Avenue. The hype surrounding the business has neared In-N-Out proportions—the streamlined menu has drawn comparisons, but given the breakfast menu and chicken options, it has some Sonic in its DNA as well. Two of the forces behind Little Big Burger, Matt Lynch and Micah Camden, are once again offering seared beef between two pieces of bread—only this time, they're trying to elevate the quality of sandwich you'd expect to get handed to you while behind the wheel. The single deluxe ($4.75) is thin, but that allows the edges to brown for a satisfying crunch. Drizzled in a combination of mayo and ketchup, it's reminiscent of an old-school Arctic Circle burger slathered in Original Fry Sauce. Super Deluxe reigns as the true burger king of Foster-Powell fast food—ignore the pretender to the crown across the street. ANDI PREWITT.
Pizza: Flying Pie Pizzeria
Portland pizzerias have few unifying traits aside from affectation and pomp. This is fine if you're jonesing for a hyper-regional pie that's some facsimile of what you ate back home, but people who just want a regular-ass pizza that gets the job done have few reliable options. Flying Pie is easily the best of them, offering tender, doughy pizza with a lightly charred crust that's prone to folding gently under the incredible weight of its abundant cheese and toppings. The $4.75 by-the-slice lunch special lasts until 4 pm and consists of one-sixth of an 18-inch pie that's loaded with toppings (25 to 50 cents each) and baked fresh on demand. Add a fountain beverage and a trip to the salad bar for $8.95, and enjoy your pile of ranch-soaked spinach and gooey carbs while seated at a tabletop Galaga set among outdated athletic awards and various macro-brew signage. Maybe Flying Pie is guilty of some level of affectation after all—but if a pizza joint doesn't elicit some manner of nostalgia, then it probably isn't doing its job. PETE COTTELL.
Tortas: Los Alambres
This roadside shack with brightly colored picnic benches and plastic tablecloths on the side of a Southeast 82nd Avenue Mexican market earns high praise for its tortas. The Mexican sandwiches come stuffed with meat enough for the hungriest diner—or perhaps enough for a second meal. The Gringa ($10) is an al pastor preparation of pork, with pineapple, and includes mozzarella. It's sweet, meaty and approachable. The De Luxa ($9), with pork leg, is simple but tasty. Arrive hungry. RACHEL MONAHAN.
Chinese: Master Kong
8435 SE Division St., 971-373-8248. 9:30 am-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Master Kong is Portland's new Chinese food destination for a singular reason—sister-and-brother team Amy and Kang Zhu offer a concise menu of regional Chinese breakfast and lunch hits, centering on the Tianjin and Guangdong regions of China. Iconic to the Tianjin region since the 1800s, the goubuli buns ($7.50) were my favorite dish on the menu. An order comes with five buns, each around 2.5 inches in diameter and filled with hot, juicy, gingery pork. The buns, like all the dumplings at Master Kong, are made by hand daily, and their perfection lies greatly in their cloudlike weight. But don't skip the jianbing ($6.50). Made to order, each crepelike wrap is filled with sweet soy bean sauce, spicy fermented bean paste, crunchy crackers, cilantro, scallion and ginger. Start with the basic, vegetarian jianbing, or add pork belly or brisket for $2. Go mild, all ye afraid of spice. MATTIE JOHN BAMMAN.
BBQ: Baked N’ Boned
In-the-know eaters are fully aware Southeast 82nd is a culinary wonderland, particularly for dim sum and cheap Mexican food. Finding decent soul food on Portland's eastern edge, however, is more of a challenge. With a name like Baked N' Boned, this emerald-colored truck, hidden in a corner of the crowded Cartlandia pod, would hardly seem an exception. But if you're cruising the avenue in search of big plates that far outstrip their price tag, this should be your go-to. The pulled-pork sandwich ($8), in particular, is absolutely hulking, with a haystack of shredded meat and crunchy slaw spilling out of a sweet brioche bun. It's one of those sandwiches you have no hope of keeping together, so make sure you've got a fork ready. MATTHEW SINGER.
Wildcard (Russian): Roman Russian Food Store
10918 SE Division St., 503-408-7525. 9 am-11 pm daily.
You may think Roman Russian Food Store is just a grocery, but the huge Uber driver gnawing a roasted chicken leg at the covered tables out front begs to differ. The store upgraded its front deli case to include an array of roasted meats and vegetables, goluptsi cabbage rolls, pilafs, stews, salads, even whole fried fish (all $4.99 to $7.99 a pound), in addition to the various pastries, meat pies and dumplings it had before the upgrade. The store will offer to microwave your selections for you right in the Styrofoam takeout box, but you can do this yourself in the comfort of your own home. To round out your meal, be sure to pick up a cold Russian beer and a loaf of freshly baked, still-warm bread from the back of the store. HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON.
Just one of the many excellent carts in the beloved Portland Mercado—which also includes an indoor meat market and store—Mixteca serves up massive, burrito-sized tamales. While the tamales are delicious and impressive, the Oaxacan mole in all its earthy, smoky and not-too-sweet glory is the real MVP.
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