902 NW 13th Ave., 971-331-4284, jojopdx.com. 11 am-10 pm daily.
Everything verges on the ridiculous at Jojo. The brick-and-mortar location opened in the Pearl in September, and since then it’s been pure maximalist dining. Servings are optimized for NFL offensive linemen. The fried chicken sandwiches are just as good as the ones at the Jojo food truck, minus the parking lot ambience. Smash burgers feature plenty of char without drying out entirely. And, of course, the jojos are in an elite tier here, staying crispy even when loaded with Tillamook cheddar and caramelized onions.
959 SE Division St., #100, 971-357-8020, barpalomar.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
In September, longtime Portland chef Ricky Bella took charge of the burners in Palomar’s kitchen, reigniting the space by weaving the flavors of his Mexican American heritage with the restaurant’s Cuban staples. It’s best to bounce around all sections of the tight, one-page menu, but there is one nonnegotiable appetizer: Ceviche de camarones, made with leche de tigre, gets its richness from avocado, its texture from cucumber, and tart acid from diced pineapple.
3. Cosmic Bliss
207 NW 10th Ave., 971-420-3630, cosmicbliss.com. Noon-8 pm Sunday-Wednesday, noon-9 pm Thursday-Saturday.
January might seem like a strange time to recommend chowing down on ice cream, but if you think about it, it’s really when you should be indulging in a summertime staple. Once all of the holiday decorations have come down and you’re left with gray, chilly winter days, there’s no better treat to encourage you to dream of July. There’s also a new scoop shop in town worth trying out before the summer rush: Eugene-based Cosmic Bliss, which is good news for those with dietary restrictions. There is both grass-fed dairy and plant-based ice cream, and everything is gluten free.
4. Grand Fir Brewing
1403 SE Stark St., grandfirbrewing.com. Noon-10 pm Tuesday-Sunday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
It was only a matter of time before brewer Whitney Burnside and chef Doug Adams went into business together. The husband-and-wife team opened Grand Fir in the former West Coast Grocery Company space in mid-November, and there was a line around the block to get in on the first day (evidence of how highly anticipated this project has been). Adams’ famed smoked meats (braised elk, Calabrian chicken wings) anchor the food menu and pair perfectly with Burnside’s beers.
5519 NE 30th Ave., 503-946-9465, yuipdx.com. 4-9 pm Monday-Saturday.
There’s no picking your own protein or six different spice levels to choose from at Yui. The elimination of the “choose your own adventure” element we’ve grown so accustomed to with Thai takeout brings new life and specificity to each dish here. A notable signature item is the krapao wagyu kaidao, made with ultra-tender and generously salted minced beef. But don’t pass up the boat noodle soup, which is enormous and loaded with meatballs, crispy pork, scallions, and morning glory greens.