1. PURE GREEN
7117 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-272-1960, @puregreenportland. 7 am–9 pm daily.
For those on the last gasp of a New Year’s resolution, scoot on over to Pure Green. The West Coast’s first location of the New York-founded juice bar serves tasty health food that might inspire you to keep it up a little longer. Open in Sellwood-Moreland since December, Pure Green offers smoothies that are a hefty 20 ounces and cost about $10 a pop. The Tropical Breeze and Pure Piña Colada flavors both had tasty Hawaiian vibes but without that shock of refined sugar like you might get at other smoothie chains. Additional menu options include cold-pressed juices, made-to-order oatmeal bowls, and avocado toast with bread from gluten-free bakery Bastion down the street.
626 SE Main St., 503-502-2038, jejupdx.com. 5–11:30 pm Wednesday–Saturday.
The owners of Han Oak and Toki have brought us Jeju, a twist on Korean barbecue that makes it less about an all-you-can-eat munch fest cooked yourself at the table, and turns it into a considered affair. In assuming the former Renata space, a grand buildout in inner Southeast, the Jeju team inherited the Italian restaurant’s wood-fired oven and have put it to excellent use. A seat at the bar near the oven provides a front-row view of crispy rice bowls and meat dishes sliding in and out, as well as additional warmth from the hot fire. We’re nuts for the banchan, mandu dumplings and the ssam platter. Skirt steak, rib-eye, pork coppa and housemade sausage are served sliced, ready to be tucked into lettuce or chicory, slathered with ssam-jang, and topped with herbs before stuffing the packet into your mouth whole cloth.
3. SALVADOR MOLLY’S
1523 SW Sunset Blvd., 503-293-1790, salvadormollyspdx.com. 11:30 am–9 pm Tuesday–Sunday.
You can learn a lot about a person in a very short time after they bite into the Great Balls of Fire at Salvador Molly’s. These are the almighty fried habanero orbs of cheese that look innocuous enough sitting in a calm pool of devilishly, um, stimulating habanero sauce on a bright piece of Fiestaware and come three or five to an order. It starts with a nice innocent crunch, followed by a watery eye or two (bonus if there’s runny mascara). They’ll laugh it off at first. “Well, that was surprisingly kicky,” they’ll blubber. Or maybe they’re the type who licks their fingers clean of all the molten goodness and goes in for another—i.e., a keeper.
2005 SE 11th Ave., 503-880-5682, lorangepdx.com. 5–10 pm Monday-Saturday.
Behind an easy-to-miss orange door in a 1905 home lies one of Portland’s best new restaurants. L’Orange feels cozy and well suited for a bohemian dinner party thanks to its fantastical wallpapers, white lace curtains and colors of each room. Meanwhile, the menu is focused and hyperseasonal and—perhaps most importantly—won’t break the bank. You can work your way through much of it if you’re willing to share. On our visits, we were impressed with a deviously indulgent riff on French onion soup with a gravylike broth and Gruyère cheese skirt, the Lyonnaise salad with smoky pork morsels, and the supremely underrated sturgeon that was kissed by smoke and served over a bed of vegetables.
5. JAMAICA HOUSE
8307 N Ivanhoe St., 503-462-9710. 11 am–8 pm Monday–Saturday, 1–8 pm Sunday.
The jerk chicken is the classic move at this St. Johns oasis of island cuisine, served super smoky with just the right kick of spice. But ordering the oxtails or curry chicken, both fall-off-the-bone braised just right, and sharing is even better. Savor the excellent cabbage cooked in coconut milk until it’s more succulent than you ever thought possible for a cruciferous vegetable. Split a beef patty, a breaded and lightly fried Jamaican meat pie, and every little thing is gonna be all right.