1. Xinh Xinh Vietnamese Bistro
970 SE Morrison St., 971-229-1492, xinhxinhbistro.com. 11 am-8 pm Monday-Tuesday and Thursday, 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11:30 am-8 pm Sunday.
Tucked inside a small strip of businesses on Southeast Morrison, Xinh Xinh is best known for its banh mi and soups, but the real ones know that the move is the crunchy salad. Served with a slightly sweetened fish sauce dressing, you’ll find yourself slurping down the grated cabbage, onion and carrots. Peanuts add even more crunch, while basil adds depth. It is an epic salad.
3601 SE Division St. Lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, dinner 4:30-8 pm Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 am-6 pm Sunday.
When he dreamed of opening a loncheria in 2018, David Lizaola imagined serving classic Jaliscan lonches on lime- and beer-enriched birote. When he couldn’t find birote in Portland, he pivoted to ciabatta—and while it may not be traditional, it’s still damn good. In the Hot Oli, Lizaola gives his pork loin an adobado treatment by massaging the cuts with a blend of guajillo pepper, herbs, alliums and warming spices. It’s a perfect sandwich.
4055 Mercantile Drive, Suite 180, 503-305-5298, tastylakeoswego.com. 5-10 pm Thursday-Friday, 9 am-2 pm Saturday-Sunday.
The Tasty brand lives again. The latest iteration of Tasty opened early this month in Lake Oswego’s new Mercato Grove development, helmed by two Toro Bravo alumni. If you ever treated yourself to a steak dinner at Tasty n Alder or took a culinary trip around the globe with shared plates at Tasty n Sons, you’ll be reminded of those experiences at the new suburban location. The menu features large cuts of protein, including a smoked paprika pork coppa and a grilled cowboy steak, as well as European-inspired bites, like Catalan-style shrimp and the always-popular patatas bravas.
4. Buddy’s Steaks
5235 NE Sandy Blvd., 215-694-8095, buddyssteaks.com. 3-8 pm Friday and Monday, noon-8 pm Saturday-Sunday, or until sold out.
What’s a cheesesteak without cheese or steak? Vegan cheesesteaks are all over Philadelphia, but Buddy’s exists because co-owners Buddy Richter and Angela D’Occhio hadn’t found any meatless cheesesteaks that lived up to their own pre-vegan, Philly native memories. The “steak” is made in house by Richter, and the cashew- and coconut-based whiz is available as either “provolone” or “cheddar,” which is an especially radioactive-looking orange.
5. Birrieria La Plaza
600 SE 146th Ave., tacoslaplaza.com. 10:30 am-7 pm Wednesday-Friday, 9:30 am-7 pm Saturday, 9:30 am-5 pm Sunday.
The birria boom has hit Portland, and the persistent traffic jam outside Birrieria La Plaza signals that it’s the chosen one at the moment. Birria is a rich and aromatic consommé that’s used in every step of production at this bright red food truck. Tacos, quesadillas and tostadas are all familiar offerings that gain a new (and messy) dimension of juicy flavor when dipped in the deep red birria. Load up as many as you’d like à la carte, or go for the Plato La Plaza (includes a mulita) if you’d like to sort out which item pairs best with the broth.