1. Pho Oregon Beaverton
12870 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton, 503-747-0814, phooregon.net. 10 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm Sunday.
Pho Oregon, Portland’s 20-year-old Vietnamese beef noodle soup standard bearer, has opened its second outlet after nearly two years of planning. If an early visit was any indication, it was worth the wait. The must-have pho order, the No. 1, is a quart-sized cauldron of aromatic awesomeness with thin rice noodles as well as bits of beef tendon, tripe, quartered meatballs and more. When the urge for hot soup wanes, the menu seems to ramble endlessly with choices, from rice plates to grilled meats to stews.
2. Salt & Straw
Various locations, saltandstraw.com. 11 am-11 pm daily.
More than a decade ago, cousins Tyler and Kim Malek began changing people’s taste for ice cream—daring them to go beyond Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors—by opening Salt & Straw and working with unique ingredients. The company, which has expanded considerably since then, is marking its 12th anniversary this month by unlocking its flavor vault and bringing back dormant varieties. That means for a limited time you can get old favorites, like black olive brittle and goat cheese, honey marshmallow rocky road and mango habanero IPA sorbet as a scoop, or in pints and milkshakes.
3244 NE 82nd Ave., 971-429-1452. 11 am-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
With a menu full of panuchos, salbutes, relleno negro and menudo, it feels sacrilegious to start with an ode to Manuel “Manny” Lopez’s burritos, but we’re gonna do it. We love these burritos passionately. Go for the asada, which is seasoned and grilled, layered with black beans made with lard and spices, and given the usual sour cream, cheese and guac treatment. But the true God-tier move is the layer of crispy griddled cheese, which adds salt and crunch, resulting in deep satisfaction.
8268 SE 13th Ave., 503-327-8916, kaedepdx.com. 4:30-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday. Seating by online reservations only.
Kaede, a 16-seat “sushi bistro” in Sellwood, shifted recently from takeout service to dine-in and reservation only, making the bar the best place to be. It’s where you can sit with a cup of sake in hand and become entranced watching co-owner Shinji Uehara slice fish flown in from Tokyo and gently hand-mold the rice for nigiri. There’s no omakase meal here, but the nigiri premium will get you eight chef’s choice rice-and-fish delicacies. And keep an eye out for anything that’s rare in our neck of the woods, like the bright pink Japanese alfonsino fish we had during our visit.
5. Bumper Burger
17980 SW Baseline Road, Beaverton, 503-828-7340, bumperburger.com. 11 am-6 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-6 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Bumper Burger has declared war against price creep on America’s favorite sandwich. Founder-cook Mat Norton sells his quarter-pounders for truly jaw-dropping rates: $3.50 for the entry-level hamburger, $4 for one with a slice of gooey American cheese, and for the extra-hungry, there’s the $9.50 People’s Meal, which features the double-patty 50/50 Burger. No matter what sandwich you order, always get the made-fresh-daily pimento cheese. The pleasantly piquant spread adds velvetiness to every bite—and it costs only a dollar extra.