The information on this page is obsolete. Altportland, as a blog, is on extended hiatus. Thanks for visiting, and please see this as a piece of history, reflecting when it was written.

thank you!

Restaurants in Southeast Portland

Apizza Scholls

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd
apizzascholls.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
Tuesday - Saturday, 5 pm-9:30 pm

Okay, full disclosure: I know the owners socially. I met them after eating at their place several times and being wowed. That said, oh... my... g-d! This place, for me, is like dying and going to heaven! There's Anchor beers on tap, and wines by the bottle or glass—not cheap, but nothing outta line expensive. Bring a couple friends so you can order lots. Begin with a meat or veggie or combo plate. I haven't tried the veggie plate, but man, it looks good. And the meat plate is good. Salami (from Salumi, I believe) to die for. Next, the caesar salad. Garlicky, beautiful, and adorned with anchovy if you wish it. This is one of the three best caesars in town. And the plate is huge, an abundance of riches.

Hope you didn't fill up on appetizers cuz it's time for the 'za. Now, there are lots of arguments about what style pizza this is—is it Italian, is it Connecticut, or New York? I don't know from pizza, I just know that it doesn't get much better than this. Certainly not in Portland, at least. Thin crust that is perfection, crispy and wonderful, baked hot-hot-hot, topped with sparing amounts of exquisite ingredients.

Everytime we go, we order one pie (for two of us—it's good sized) and wish we had ordered a second. Because it tastes so good!

Drawbacks: parking can be a problem. And this place is popular—forget about going during restaurant prime time unless you don't mind waiting in line. The service is sassy and casual (which I appreciate). It's a small place, and it's easy to spend a lot of money because, gosh, you gotta get the caesar, and the meat plate is so good...


filled under restaurants in SE Portland
February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Arleta Library Bakery Cafe

5513 SE 72nd at Harold
(503) 774-4470
arletalibrary.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
(Breakfast & Lunch) Weekdays 8-5 (closed mondays)
Brunch Weekends 9-3

Arleta Bakery
arleta library
scones with homemade peach-rosemary jam
More photos of Arleta Library
Arleta Library is my new favorite place for breakfast. Here's why.

It's a tiny place, and as the name suggests, it is a bakery, and the baked goods shine. Be sure to grab some cookies or a muffin or coffeecake to take home with you, because you won't have room after their mondo breakfasts.

They serve Stumptown coffee, apparently french-pressed. Be still my heart!

The brunch menu on the weekends is short: just 10 items: a hash, biscuits-n-gravy, a fritatta, three scrambles, pancakes, french toast, quiche, and some roasted veggies. And really, I'd rather see a short menu of stuff that is really good, rather than a long menu with a few (or more) duds.

The menus are available online via PDF, so you can follow along at home. Prices range from $7-$9.50.

Sicilian Hash is their signature dish, and the only thing one of my breakfast companions orders. It's made up of slow-braised high-end beef (Painted Hills) sauteed with peppers, onions, and potatoes and topped with a lovely scrambled egg.

Portland’s Best Biscuits-n-Gravy actually probably is. It's an exercise in excess, to be sure, but both the gravy and the biscuits are consistently good. Sweet potato biscuits (! - it works!) are doused in sausage gravy with pork loin. The pork loin is completely gratuitous and unnecessary, but wonderful. These, like most entrees, come with library fries, wedges of delicious pan-cooked potatoes, crusty and seasoned and actually done.

I haven't tried the The Grand Torino, a salmon fritatta, but boy, it sure looks impressive. Nor have I tried the Florentine (a scramble with spicy greens, basil, ricotta, parmesan, and breadcrumbs) or the Portland (a scramble with wild mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar, and crumbled bacon), the Hawthorne (roasted seasonal veggies sauteed with potatoes and cheddar), Pane Dolce (batter dipped and griddle-fried brioche with seasonal fruit), or the Quiche of the Day, but it's just a matter of time.

But I have had the Tuscan (a scramble with roasted red peppers, Italian sausage, and romano cheese). The flavor was incredible, though it was infested with onions. But my pals who love onions love it too, and I bet I could just ask for it without the onions.

The masterstroke may well be the buttermilk semolina griddlecakes which don't sound so special, do they? But add berries and crumbled bacon (!) to the batter, and you might have one of the best combos of sweet, savory and salty that you can find for under 10 bucks. And even without bacon or berries, these are some great pancakes.

They serve Grand Central bread, and make some of the coolest jams imaginable; recently peach/rosemary was one weekend's option, another roasted nectarine.

The staff here is friendly, and if you come in a couple times, you're greeted as a regular: sweet! They also have a couple tables out front, and on a tiny back patio.

Of the 10 entrees for brunch, four are vegetarian. I haven't tried ordering vegan here.

Of all the places to have breakfast in Portland, two of the best are here in this neglected area of Foster-Powell/Mt Scott. And one of those is definitely Arleta Library.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
August 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bar Carlo

6433 SE Foster Rd
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Tues-Sun, 8-3

Bar Carlos
inside Bar Carlos
In the former Russian Food Restaurant space is a pleasant cafe with lots of windows that overlook the gentrifying spector of Foster. You know it's gentrifying when suddenly, there's a Filipeno restaurant, there's a comics book store, there's a Taqueria Urapan, and now, Bar Carlo.

This is the place to get breakfast. Now. Because soon, everyone will know, and there will be lines. So go now, so you can appreciate it, appreciate the casual, pleasant atmosphere, the best Stumptown coffee outside of a Stumptown cafe, and really, some of the best breakfast food in town.

The menu is short, one page. Weekends are fully devoted to yummy breakfasts involving eggs and cheese, for the most part. Vegans will be hard pressed to find anything here they can eat, but there are about 10 options (out of 16) for vegetarians. The menu is made up of about 5 scrambles, 4 omelets, and a handful of house specials like french toast, sweet and savory crepes, and several breakfast sandwiches ($4-$8).

Weekday menus have an abbreviated list of scrambles, omelets, and brekkie sammies, as well as lunch sandwiches.

Start with a cup of Stumptown Coffee. It's self-service, take your cup up to the bar and refill, and lordy, is it good!

We've had Carlo's Scramble, a nice combo of italian sausage, red pepper relish and mozzarella, which is lovely and really tasty. Surprise, Natalie You're in Peppersville! Sandwich gets the award for the longest name, and quite possibly the best breakfast sandwich in town: eggs, roasted red peppers and jalapenos, onions, cotija cheese and avocado spread. In competition for the best breakfast sandwich is Carlo's King Melt: eggs, bacon, mild peppers, mascarpone and tomato-basil relish, yum. And the Omelette del Sur, a baked omelette full of roasted jalapenos, cotija, salsa fresca and either mushrooms or bacon is also filling and delicious.

Most items are accompanied by fruit (a couple small pieces), Grand Central toast, and roast potatoes that are among the best in town. They are easily on the level of Genies or Simpatica.

Of course, everything is not perfect in paradise. Our most recent visit was punctuated by loudish Nu Shoes (80s disco-pop) on the stereo. The buns used for the sandwiches are soft and don't have a lot of integrity. And, it's on Foster, fer heavens sakes, far from my beaten path.

But, in spite of these things, this is my new favorite breakfast spot. Thanks to Chris from Belmont Station who shared the wealth!


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
April 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Best Baguette

8308 SE Powell
(503) 788-3098
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Best Baguette
the menu at Best Baguette
I love the banh mi at Binh Minh. I love it. But it closes at 5pm everyday of the week, which for me makes it not a very viable option outside the weekends.

Unfortunately, I love banh mi 7 days a week. What's a girl to do?

Well, Best Baguette offers the answer. They appear to be a chain (at least, the place is designed down to the seams) that offers fast food banh mi, sandwiches, vietnamese appetizers, dim sum, gelato, and asian drinks, including bubble and milk teas. But wait, it gets better: they have a drive thru window!

Interestingly, the menu is entirely in english. They offer 15 types of banh mi which include all the typical ones, plus a Saigon Bacon sandwich, a Vegetable sandwich (greens and pickled veg), pork roll and egg (Saigon style), and the one untranslated sandwich, nem nuong (which is a char-broiled pork paste). The prices range from $2.25 to $3.50, and the sandwiches are foot-longs. They also have french sandwiches ($3.75-$5) and croissant sandwiches ($2.50$4.75).

They bake the bread on premises so your sandwich is all warm and freshly made. That said, the ficelles they bake appear to be commercial par-baked ones, like the kind you find that Safeway uses. It makes a very soft bread, and one with no tooth to the crust. Vietnamese baguettes and ficelles do tend to have a softer crust, but usually not this soft. The picked veggies come in a little baggie so you can add as much or as little as you'd like. They were stingy with the jalapeno.

Not realizing they were foot-longs, we ordered a half-dozen, including a parisian ham and cheese (ugh), a pate, a grilled beef, grilled chicken, and bbq pork. As noted, I hated the parisian ham & cheese. It used american cheese— that is so wrong! The pate had an unidentified white lump in it that might have been cheese, so while the pate itself was fine (a little thin, but hey), I shyed away from the white lump. But the grilled meats and bbq pork were fine. They weren't Binh Minh, that's for sure, but in a pinch, it's a banh mi, and it doesn't come wrapped in cellophane.

So, we ordered a half-dozen sandwiches, a couple viet coffees, and the total came to $18. I think they comped us a coffee and threw in an extra baguette.

They have a good selection of gelato, and a huge selection of drinks. Not just the avocado, jackfruit, and durian shakes, but a huge selection of Asian (and not Asian) sodas and the like. Jarritos, for example.

Anyways, this is a great option if you're jonesing for a banh mi after 5pm.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland, 97266, Foster-Powell, New Chinatown
May 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Binh Minh : Authentic Vietnamese Sandwiches

7821 SE Powell
(503) 777-2245
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Bihn Mihn Sandwiches
Inside Binh Minh
Sandwiches at Binh Minh
When it comes to banh mi, or the addictive little vietnamese sandwiches on french bread, Binh Minh is the name to beat. As of yet, I haven't found anyone who has. And lucky for us, there is now a second location, located in the former Nam's Deli.

If you aren't familiar with banh mi, they are sandwiches with some sort of meat on a french roll, like a hoagie. They all contain mayo, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and a couple slices of jalapeno. Meat fillings include cold cuts, pate, BBQ pork, steamed meatball, fried egg, and lemongrass grilled chicken.

The menu board at the SE Binh Minh is more abbreviated than the one in NE, but you can still get all the sandwiches there. Just ask.

On our recent visit, we got 2 BBQ Pork (Banh Mi Xa Xiu) and a Lemongrass Chicken (Banh Mi Ga Nuong), a pate chaud, and an egg roll (cha gio) with a couple of pops (less than $11). The bread at Binh Minh is baked right there, and is excellent: warm, crusty, with the tug of the mildly crunchy crust and the yielding (but not too yielding) bread.

Our BBQ pork was excellent, of course. Just a fine example of Vietnamese BBQ pork. But, even better was the lemongrass chicken, which was moist and really flavorful. The pate chaud was warm, the crust was flakey and got everywhere (as it should), and the combo of the crust with the pate was a rich, lovely treat. And the egg roll, while very small, was a nice representation of a Vietnamese egg roll.

Unlike the NE Binh Minh, the lighting and surroundings are pleasant and not at all cramped; there are plenty of tables to sit down at and enjoy your sandwich(es), though I'm told that they are packed at lunch.

The really bad news about Binh Minh is that they are only open til 5pm everyday. But the good news is that they are open everyday.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
April 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biwa

215 SE 9th Ave (at Ash)
(503) 239-8830
biwarestaurant.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Biwa
from the Counter
yakimoni
More photos of Biwa
Biwa is a relative rarity in Portland: a Japanese restaurant that doesn't feature sushi. In reality, there is no sushi on the menu at all. Biwa is all about Izakaya food, the simple food that accompanies alcohol in Japanese bars.

Star amongst these is yakimono, or grilled things on sticks, and it is where Biwa really shines. Yakimono ranges from $3-$8, and ranges from miso-grilled scallops, chicken thigh (classic yakitori), lamb genghis kahn, beef hanger steak, to shitake mushrooms, shishito peppers, corn in shoyu and tofu with miso. There is not a loser in the bunch.

Biwa is also the only place in Portland to make their own ramen and udon noodles. Housemade noodles make a big difference, and Biwa has the best ramen and udon in town($7-$16). And of the four different udon variants, you can get all of them vegetarian or vegan. Just short of half the menu can be served vegetarian or vegan.

Rounding out the menu are a number of salads include sunomono (cucumber salad, $7-$9), chijimi, a korean style griddle cake with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce ($7), yakionigiri ($2, grilled rice ball!), and gyoza ($6). Most dumplings around town, whether they are chinese, korean or japanese, are a mixture of meat and cabbage, kind of like a meatball. But Biwa's gyoza are all about the pork, and man, are they ever good.

They serve sake in the traditional way, and they have 8 of the 9 sakes on the menu available by the glass ($6-$19). They also have sake flights, beer, wine, and some nonalcoholic selections.

It's easy, really easy, to run up a big tab here. Dinner for two usually costs about $60, whereas lunch runs $30 and some change for two.

The lunch menu is a bit more limited, same prices but not a lot of yakimono.

Monday is nabe night (hot pot). They set up a hot pot on a burner right on your table. When we were there, it was $20 per person and you got seafood, a huge platter of crablegs and shrimp and salmon and god only knows what else, with vegetables and cellophane noodles. The broth, the meat and the noodles change every week. I can't wait to try that.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
August 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Bob's Red Mill

5000 SE International Way, Milwaukie
(503) 607-6455
bobsredmill.com/wholegrainstore.htm
googlemap
get there via trimet
breakfast & lunch M-Sat

Breakfast Neon

I have a crazy affection for Bob's Red Mill. I love their products, and a visit to their Whole Grain Kitchen makes me giddy. On one hand, it's so damn wholesome that it should just bother me, but I have to admit I find geeky earnestness enticing. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's the fact that I see Bob of Bob's Red Mill there everytime I go in for breakfast.

You go into the Whole Grain Store, and the counter to order food is back and to the left. Don't be surprised if there's a line and you have to slowly inch by the breads. Sooner or later, you'll get to the front and you can order.

After you order, you take your number and claim a table, either on the first floor, on the patio, on the second floor. Water, coffee, and pop are self-serve, and the stations also include maple syrup, butter and honey. Someone will deliver your food and make sure you have everything you need.

The breakfast menu has 15 items, the vegetarian (vegan, really) brekkie menu has 10. Prices range from $3.95-$8.29, with the median price being $6.29. Breakfast meats include turkey ham, turkey bacon and garden sausage.

We made a visit recently for a cheese omelet and eggs & grits. First of all, the coffee is worse than it used to be, which is to say it sucks. If I had been on the ball, I might have noticed the Republic of Tea packets at the hot beverage station, though the only caffeine-free option was chamomile.

If you don't get there early, the line to order will snake by the baked goods, which is dangerous. All sorts of breads, rolls, cornbreads, etc.

You order at the counter, and they'll ask you then and there if you'll be eating upstairs or on the main floor. It's not a bad idea to send one of your party to suss this out before you get to this point. There's more seating upstairs, and the downstairs does get full at times.

You get scratch biscuits as an option for bread. They are a smidge sweet, crumbly (but not flakey), and tasty enough to eat without having to slather them with butter or jam. The jam is little packets of Freezerves, which, for jam in packets is pretty damn good.

On some dishes, you get your choice of cottage potatoes or hashbrowns. The hashbrowns are standard diner-issue, and really good.

We asked for the eggs scrambled soft, and they were cooked to order. The accompanying grits weren't as good as I remembered them, and if the menu didn't say they contained cheddar cheese, I'd never know that it was there. But still, they were grits, corny, appreciative of butter and salt and pepper. The omelet was a little tough, a little browned, and not terribly cheesy.

I tried the vegan french toast awhile back, and I'd never have known it was vegan. Generally, everything is pretty darn good here -- not gourmet, but wholesome.


filled under
January 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Cafe Castagna

1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd
(503) 231-9959
castagnarestaurant.com/index.php?section=cafe
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
lunch (Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30-2) and dinner (7 nights a week)

Cafe CastagnaCafe Castagna is one of my favorite special occasion places, and I love to invent special occasions so we can go there. The triangular room can get a bit loud, but the service is attentive and good, and the food is just reliably great.

In nice weather, you can sit outside looking at the side street and the giant flowering artichokes. Wonderful!

The menu is made up of a dozen or so starters, priced from $5-$13, including salads (their caesar is one of the best in town), and everyone's favorite aranchini (fried risotto balls that are filled with melty fontina cheese).

The cocktail list is short (though you can get most anything that isn't blended) and fun, with inventive drinks with great names. The Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba, get it?) is made with thyme-infused vodka, and is one of the most interesting things I've tasted in months (in a good way). A tart cherry fizz is about what you'd expect, and what a good idea! There is an extensive wine list, including ten by the glass, but no beer on tap. They do have about 15 beers to choose from, however.

There are always a couple pizzas, plate-sized, crispy-crusted and quite good (not Apizza Scholls good, but good all the same), around $11. Again, inventiveness is the order of the day: when we were in, they had a flammekuechen pizza—and our resident deutschophile enjoyed it alot.

Entrees range from comfort food to comfort food, $11-$21. I had their hamburger and fries with cheddar and bacon. Everything about the hamburger and fries is just great. They have a good bun from Pearl Bakery, a good-sized but not huge hamburger patty seasoned and cooked to order, it's a good balance of bread to meat (to cheese to bacon, if you choose), accompanied with tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and homemade zucchini pickles. And then there are the great french fries. Other standards on the menu include the baked penned with cheese, which is a huge serving and one of the better mac-n-cheeses I've had in a restaurant, and the flat-iron steak with fries.

There are always new things amongst the entrees and they're also really good. The hungarian goulash was delicious, perfectly cooked, though it came with a really bland polenta (which perked right up with the goulash sauce). Lamb with white beans was a casseroley dish, with lovely lamb (and I'm not a lamb fan), and the most luscious beans. As a testament to how good that was, that plate went back to the kitchen clean—all excess bean liquor was sopped up with the Pearl baguette slices on the table.

Drawbacks: hmmm. It's loud at times, it's popular, and some of the plates (especially in the starters) are smaller than others. Your server can be very helpful with this, letting you know what is tiny and what is generous—if you ask.

All in all, this isn't a cheap dinner -- for two, it generally runs us $50 before tip, but it's one of my favorites.


filled under veggie, food in SE
July 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chinese Delicacy

6411 SE 82nd Ave
(503) 775-2598
googlemap
get there via trimet

Chinese Delicacy
Seafood & tofu hotpot
When you see the sign for Chinese Delicacy, you might notice that it includes chinese logograms and korean hangul. You might notice that all the Asians have kim-chi with their meals, and that they do a brisk walk-in and carry-out business. The recipes seem typically chinese, so what's going on, exactly?

ExtraMSG has noted that they serve the food of the ethnic Koreans in China. The thing is, you don't see that much reflected in the menu. I'm told once you're trusted, or once you're persistent enough, you get some pretty damn incredible stuff that isn't on the menu.

This was our first time, so we ordered off the menu. We ordered BBQ pork, a good-sized serving with dipping sauce for $5, and potstickers. The potstickers were crunchy and thoroughly steaming hot when they came to the table—we inhaled them, in spite of the temperature.

The atmosphere is post-fast food. A couple of fridges are in the dining room, and everything is clean, but not showy. Signs in chinese and korean advertise specials, while crabs scuttle around their tank.

I had the seafood & bean curd in clay pot, which was excellent and very mild: a lovely flavorful sauce, fresh seafood perfectly cooked, lots of veg and tofu which had absorbed the sauce. My copilot ordered the seafood noodles with gravy, a new-to-us concoction of broth, egg noodles, more perfectly cooked, perfectly fresh seafood, egg, and of course, a moo goo gai pan-like sauce—very mild, curious, and quite good.

They offer two free refills on sodas as well as beer, wine and sake.

At the end of the meal, I offered that the kim-chi really looked good, and it was like I had said the magic words. Oh! Just ask for it next time, the waitress said, clearly pleased that I had some lick of sense. Next time I will ask about the signs, oh yes...


filled under 82nd Ave, Chinese food, foodies love it, east county, asian food, korean food, smoke free, food in SE
March 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chinese Village

520 SE 82nd (at Stark)
(503) 253-7545
googlemap
get there via trimet

Chinese Village Restaurant sign
Sometimes, you see the over-the-top neon, and you just gotta go there. That's me, at least. Latest in my tour of Chinese-American dives is Chinese Village. From the outside, other than the neon, it doesn't look all that interesting. Walk into the dining room and try to get used to the odd blueish light from the translucent koi and dragon ceiling tiles. While this place is a little down about the heels, it's nowhere as bad (or as baroque) as the Pagoda. And while I wasn't expecting a lot, we were pleasantly surprised by the food. Mar far chicken wings had great presentation (and were tasty), and the shrimp we had in several dishes was fresh. Crispy chicken was just that, with delightful skin and tender meat. And the Singapore Fried Rice Noodles were stocked with good mushrooms. The menu features something for everyone: combo plates, chow mein, foo yung, even American food. Go next door to the lounge if you can't take the blue ambiance—it's loud and smokey, but they have booths under little fake rooves that are too goofy. Would I go out of my way for this? No.

filled under Eat Food in Beautiful SE Portland
December 7, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Clay's Smokehouse Grill

2932 SE Division St
(503) 235-4755
clayssmokehouse.citysearch.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Wed.-Sun. 11:00am-10:00pm

Clays is a little place, with a couple picnic tables out front, and a number of tables and booths built for people who tend to routinely overeat. It's not fancy, and everything is nicely mismatched and vaguely, humanly, kitschy.

The menu is impressive: smoked BBQ hot wings as a starter ($8), chowder/chili/gumbo ($3.75-$4.75), salads ($3.75-$10.25), sandwiches ($7.75-$9.75), BBQ platters ($10.75-$14.75), and even veggie delights (their words, $7.75-$9.75). BBQ purists will freak: there's catfish and salmon, and that's wrong. But I'm not a purist—I don't care unless someone makes me eat it.

When I was there, they had a bunch of beers on tap:

  • Bayern Doppelbock
  • Widmer Hefeweizen
  • Amnesia IPA
  • Anchor Steam
  • Bud
  • Jamaican Red

I ordered the brisket platter, and my companion the BBQ sparerib platter, and naturally, these are huge portions, piles of meat smothered in a sweet, not terribly hot sauce, with chunks of potatoes in ranch sauce (aka, home fries with garlic sauce), a vinegary slaw, and not-quite Texas toast.

My brisket seemed a bit lean, and the sauce bugged me, but it was nicely cooked. It just blanches before fattier, crustier briskets like Campbells or LOW. The pork ribs, however, were sweet, juicy, and moist, very tasty ribs. The slaw was sharp and complex. The potatoes—eh. Value for the meal, though, was very good.

Our service was incredible. Our server was the sort who was there when you needed him, and if he was there when you didn't, you sure didn't know. It was the sort of effortless seeming service that you should get with a very good meal, and here in Portland, frequently don't. So that was a tremendous pleasure.

I'm curious about the wings, and I've heard great things about the cold smoked seafood platter (like a lox platter, just not), and the turkey in the garden salad.

The highlight for me was the dessert. We got the apple crisp ($4.75), topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, and wow! It was just a modest crisp, nothing fancy, but so very good, a combination of soft and crunchy and creamy. Next time, I'm gonna leave more room for that!


filled under
May 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

East Burn

1800 E Burnside
(503) 236-2876
theeastburn.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
11- close (?) 7 days a week

East Burn

As a bar, I don't think I can say strongly enough that I love this place. They have 18 beers on tap, and many more in bottles. They have a cute little basement bar that will remind you of the rec room you wish you had had when you were a kid, complete with board games, skee ball, and slot cars. They also have a karoake video jukebox, though I don't have the details on when that gets turned on (or if it ever gets turned off).

The upstairs looks like a dining room, though the Bender Brothers claim that the first floor and basement should just flow into each other. Truth is, they don't really. The dining room still feels very formal, with its cloth napkins. But they do have the cutest little make-out room.

But the best part is the patio. It's rooved, so you can sit outside while it's raining buckets and enjoy the ambiance. They have heaters, so you can stay warm. But big deal, lots of places have a roof and heaters. Okay. This place has two things that really set my heart a flutter.

One, they have tables whose seats... are swings. You know, like swingset swings. Dude! And, they have tables with a fire ring in the center.

The food is good though not great, but the portions aren't all that big, and the prices are a smidge high. Apps are $5-$9, salads $7-$12, sandwiches $7-$9, and entrees $11-23. Fries are homemade, and really not bad.

Yesterday, we went there for lunch. An order of calamari (in rice flour batter, very nice), a steak salad, an order of fresh cooked chips, and a hamburger set us back $33 before tip. The calamari was really the star of the meal to my mind, though the salad was nice (would have been better if the meat had been cooked to order, and the salad actually tossed with the dressing). The chips tasted like kettle chips (and indeed, they weren't hot or greasy. So how do I know they haven't come out of a bag). And the burger was good, though it too would have been much better if it was cooked to order. I mean, why have the waitress ask if the cook is going to ignore it?

A week before, we went in and had a bowl of soup and a spinach salad. The bowl of soup was homemade and really filling. The spinach salad came out on an appetizer plate -- for $8, I was expecting a little more food.

There are a few veggie options, and the web site welcomes you to tell your server of special dietary requests.

Just be forewarned. This place is great to hang out in, they have twenty-something different wines by the glass, they even have a late night menu (though since they don't have a closing time, does that really do any good?) but the food doesn't match the rest of the package.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
January 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBacks (0)

Genie's

1101 SE Division St
(503) 445-9777
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
8-3pm
breakfast & lunch
sassy diner with sweet food

Genies
Inside Genie's
Genies is one of the best breakfast places in town. Really. And that explains the crowds that descend upon it, ensuring a wait unless you are very early, or very late.

And, it's also a great lunch place. On weekdays, breakfast is served all day (which is to say, until 3pm), and you also have a selection of sandwiches and entrees like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese.

I had their excellent, unpretentious, burger. It's substantial, but not too much—maybe a third of a pound, cooked to order. The bun is squishy but not bad squishy, and the burger is dressed with the usual lettuce, tomato, onion, and.... whole-grain mustard aioli. I was a doubter, until I bit in. It's a good burger—one of the best in town.

It comes with fries or salad. I can't speak to the salad, but the fries were thin, double-fried, a slight hint of batter, perfect.

Another argument to come in on the weekdays is the Heuvos Rancheros. It's just an wonderful combination of eggs, tortilla, nicely-seasoned beans, and sauce, the sort of good meal that sticks in the corner of your mind for a long time.

Some people like the cocktails, ranging from $4-$6, including the EmergenC Elixir (orange vodka, EmergenC, muddled lemon, and a splash of cranberry juice). There are coffee and champagne cocktails too. Beer in bottles, and Caldera pale in cans, but no beer on tap.

I first fell in love with the roasted potatoes. Potatoes can be the most lovely food, but so often at breakfast they are lackluster, undercooked, underloved. Not these potatoes, oh no. Little wedgelets, crispy, tender, delightful, I could eat a bowl of these plain.

But no reason to do that with all the wonderful stuff on the menu. There are 19 different egg-variables, from the traditional eggs, potatoes and toast to omelettes to scrambles to benedicts, $5.50-$9.25. The basic ingredients are good, even free-range groovy, stuff, and it's all kept simple enough so there's some semblance of balance.

Take for example, the classic benedict. The hollandaise is lemony and luscious, topping the soft poached egg, the local canadian bacon (yumm!), the crispy english muffin, and begging to be draped over the potatoes.

Another example of being caught off-guard is the white chocolate chip & toasted hazelnut pancakes. One, you could feed several people well with one plate. Two, the white chocolate serves as the secret agent taste that makes the pancakes irresistable. Three, real maple syrup and a bowl of butter bricks wait on your table.

They also have some sandwiches, which I may never try. The menu is amazingly vegetarian friendly, with 14 different options, and you can sub in tofu for eggs for a buck. Oh, and they serve Stumptown coffee. No espresso.

The two dining rooms are a little cramped, with the back one like a basement bar, and the front like a bright and cheerful diner. The rooms have both booths and tables, and there are a couple of outside tables for good weather as well.

Just know, you'll probably be waiting a bit to get in, and you'll be waiting outside. But you can have some coffee while you wait.

After having been there for lunch, I am so bummed that they aren't open for dinner. But I guess that's good for my wallet.

Press:



filled under restaurants in SE Portland, Jeannie's, genies, breakfast, division, drinks
October 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Horse Brass Pub

4534 SE Belmont
(503) 232-2202
http://www.horsebrass.com/
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
lunch and dinner daily, weekend British Breakfast

If you look at the microbrew movement in Portland, Horse Brass is right there at the beginning. According to their website:

Established in 1976, many of Oregon's own craft brewers have been regulars here, enjoying the likes of Guinness and Fullers ESB well before the craft beer movement.

It's a British style pub with 50-some odd beers on tap and a full bar, including single malt scotches. They offer a british pub menu including full breakfast on Saturday and Sunday (9-noon). Smokey doesn't begin to describe it.

The food menu is stocked with sausage plates, scotch eggs, ploughman's lunches, fish & chips, and pasties, all of them good.

Terran writes,

I think the Horse Brass deserves a listing in food as well under beer - their Bangers & Chips is one of my favorite low-budget lunches in town. Two tasty sausages dipped in sweet hot mustard with greasy potato chips, and a pint of hard cider on the side...mmm.

The breakfasts, particularly the english breakfasts, are a groaning board of food. They do offer American breakfast as well as everything ala carte, but if your cardiologist will allow, do try the full traditional english breakfast with its fried eggs, Irish back bacon, baked ham, English banger sausage, Heinz beans straight from the can, tomatoes, fried potatoes and fried bread.

They pull out the big screen to show English Premier League Soccer live.

If you're a craft beer lover, you've got to go to Horse Brass. Unless, of course, you can't stand smoke.


filled under taverns with megataps, bars, taverns, restaurants in Southeast Portland
April 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Junior's Cafe

1742 SE 12th Ave
(503) 467-4971
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
breakfast

Junior's Cafe
Junior's Cafe
Juniors Cafe was one of those places that I'd bring folks from out of town. Or we'd get up early to beat the crowds there. The selection of breakfast dishes could make everyone happy, and the place was so comfortable, it was like home, but with better furniture.

Then I had a fight with my significant other there once, and suddenly, we weren't going to Juniors anymore.

So we went back to check them out after all this time.

Now the great thing about Juniors is that they have vegan and omnivore food. But unlike some other places, you won't feel bent out of shape if you order either, because they're both good. Or were. I delighted in ordering the vegan spuds with cheese and bacon—yum!

The menu feels a lot different, even as they've retained a bunch of the names. They have eggs, scrambles, omellettes, tofu, breakfast sandwiches, french toast, potatoes, and etcetera. Prices range from $4-$8.50, so it's pretty reasonable. They use groovy eggs and other unspecified foods.

Anyways, this last time around, I ordered the migas scramble and my sweetie ordered french toast. The migas came with the eggs browned. We were the only people in the restaurant, and they burned my eggs? The french toast was oddly bitter, so bitter that my companion ate one corner and left the rest (I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him leave food on his plate). It came with one small link of sausage (bland chicken stuff) cut in half.

The potatoes that came with my eggs weren't as greasy as the last time I had been in, but they managed to be completely underwhelming. Now, admittedly, I'm a potatoes snob, I like them just so... but my better half also hated them and refused to eat them.

So, in all, Juniors has gone through some changes over the years, but this time, it's really a change for the worse.


filled under Restaurants in Southeast Portland
March 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ken's Place

CLOSED; Now Fin
1852 SE Hawthorne


filled under
May 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kenny & Zuke's

Ken's Place
1852 SE Hawthorne
(503) 236-9520
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
9:30-2:30, Saturdays
Jewish (but not Kosher) soul-food

The Reuben
The Reuben
Pastrami & Eggs
K&Z's will be moving to the Ace Hotel downtown this summer.

They are not serving pastrami right now, until they reopen in September.

However, the deli will continue at Ken's Place until June 2nd with an expanded menu that includes our own Corned Beef, Pickled Tongue, Pot Roasted Brisket Open Sandwiches, Blintzes, Borscht and some other delicacies.

June 2nd is the last day in the SE Hawthorne location.

Full disclosure: I know these guys.

If you've had Pastrami King's pastrami in the last couple weeks at the Hillsdale Farmers Market, you know it's sublime. Well, they've given up on the market and moved their operation back to Ken Gordon's restaurant, Ken's Place, and it appears to be an unqualified success.

Before a couple weeks ago, I didn't understand why people get so excited about pastrami. I was thinking it was a waste of a good brisket. But now I understand, and now, I crave it.

It's a true brunch menu: pastrami & eggs, corned beef hash, latkes, a big salad, handmade bagels with lox, reubens, pastrami sandwiches, and baked knishes. We sat at the counter watching everything get made, and, wow, everything looked better than the last!

We began with a toasty warm potato knish ($2), which could be a meal in itself. One of my favorite things to do in NYC is go to Yonah Schimmel on Houston, and Nick's knish is even better than I remember having at Yonah Schimmel's.

We ordered a reuben ($10.25) and the pastrami & eggs ($8.75). Watching the reuben being grilled was almost painful, it was so beautiful. And while I would have preferred having eggs with sliced pastrami, the frittata was delicious and quite addictive. The guy next to me ordered the hash, which I would have liked to eat off his plate, and his daughter the bagel and lox. Whoa! Even the big salad looked like a decadent treat. We washed these down with Dr. Brown's cream and cel-ray sodas, the latter tasting like celery without the annoying strings. They also serve Stumptown coffee and eggcreams made with Dagoba chocolate. Yum!

Meals run from $6.75-$11.75, and we brought half of ours home. You can also get pastrami by the half pound, chopped liver, potato salad, cole slaw, and full or half-sour pickles.

The downsides here is that with everything looking and sounding and tasting so good, a nosh plate with little bits of this and that would really help. It's not a cheap endeavor, especially if getting breakfast there also means bringing a half pound home to nosh on later—and you practically have to! And the service, while friendly, is a little uneven at this point. Still, I'll be back.


filled under Eat Food Now in Beautiful SE Portland, hair of the dog, brunch, breakfast, se, the many faces of Ken Gordon
| Permalink | Comments (1)

Legin

8001 SE Division St
(503) 777-2828
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Legin Restaurant
at Legin
We trekked here one Sunday for dim sum. Arriving at 9:55, we were pleased to notice others standing by, keeping the vigil at the front door. At 10am sharp, a manager unlocked the door, and let the hordes in.

When you go to Legin for dim sum, you want to be seated in the dim sum dining room, usually Dining Room C. Sit elsewhere at your peril.

You can't complain about the quantity and variety. We were seated and there were lots of carts with lots of steamer baskets of goodies, so we began with shaomai (pork dumplings) and hargau (shrimp dumplings). These were warm, but not hot; the shrimp fresh, the wheat starch wrapper a little gummy.

We tried many things. Tripe (okay, I didn't try that), taro dumpling, cheong fun (rice noodle rolls), a dumpling with shrimp and chinese greens, and chinese broccoli. For the most part, these were okay, though I've had better versions elsewhere in town, in particular at Wong's King and even at Fong Chong.

While enjoyed a great variety of dishes, only one was served hot, the very last plate of shaomai. There were several dumplings that I usually enjoy (like scallop, or shrimp in rice ball, or the fried meat dumplings) that tasted mostly like library paste.

And yet. The humbao was light and fluffy, really much better than what you usually find in Portland.

Consistency is an issue here. From week to week, you may find things better or worse.

Prices appear to be higher here. We were a bit restrained and it cost $13 a head.

So, in the end, do you have to wait in line, or have a hard time finding something to eat? These aren't likely at Legin. You may find better dim sum elsewhere in town, but this, for the most part, isn't bad.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland, Dim Sum in Portland
September 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Libbie's Restaurant

11056 SE Main St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 653-2044
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Libbie's in Milwaukie
No. 5, Biscuits, Gravy & Hashbrowns
Long ago and far away, a reader recommended Libbie's. But it took me a while to actually make it to downtown Milwaukie.

Libbie's subtitle is The Home of Comfort Food. This is certainly true, at least at breakfast, which is served all day long. Actually, breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served all day.

The menu is simple: 10 large omelettes ($7.50-$13), purely starchy things ($1.75-$7), and 11 egg specials ($6.25-$12). Coffee is a buck seventy-five, and it sucks.

The omelettes are all your favorites: farmers, vegetarian, denver, spanish, and they all come with either pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or potatoes and toast. Potato options are home fries and hashbrowns.

For starches, they offer pancakes, french toast, and waffles (though waffles are only available until noon), oat groats, and hot cream of wheat.

The egg specials include the usual cafe breakfast, biscuits & gravy, corned beef hash, chicken fried steak and two other steak & eggs variants.

We ordered two of the egg specials: the number 5, biscuits, gravy & hashbrowns; and the number 11, Rick's special, home fries grilled with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, bellpeppers and ham, topped with cheddar cheese and 2 eggs any style.

These are giant plates of food, far more than anyone should eat at breakfast. The gravy is mild with small chunks of sausage -- it tastes fresh, not floury, but not well seasoned. The biscuits are buried but appear to be tender and fresh. And the hashbrowns are at the top of their game: two crusty, golden brown sides surrounding the soft warm potato inside.

I think the Rick's might have worked better with hashbrowns rather than home fries, for that contrast in text, however it was awfully good with the home fries.

If you're looking for an old-school greasy-spoon breakfast, Libbie's is pretty darn good. Just stay away from the coffee.


filled under Eat food in SE Portland
September 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Father's Place

523 SE Grand Ave
(503) 235-5494
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

My Father's Place
My Father's Place, restaurant side
I love My Father's Place: it's totally unpretentious, cheap, and good. They don't serve espresso, but they do have a full bar and beer on tap. And, more importantly, breakfast served all day.

The specials board rarely if ever exceeds $6. Now this is a special I can get behind! They have a pretty standard breakfast menu, but with a sense of humor. You can get the classic bene, or a country bene (biscuit, sausage, egg, gravy). You can get the veggie omelet, or the hobo (all the meats plus onions), or the combo, which is described as veggie + hobo = smiles. And you have your choice of the best hashbrowns in town, or O'Briens. The most expensive item is that combo omelet/scramble at $8.

The sausage gravy is better than a lot of places (though the winner is still the Overlook for sausagey taste). I wouldn't drink the coffee there. But when you consider that PBR ($1.75), Hamms ($2), and micros (Sierra Nevada Pale, Terminal Gravity IPA, Full Sail Amber, and Widmer Hefeweizen- $3) are on tap, who needs coffee?


filled under Hair of the Dog that bit you, food in SE
August 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

New Seasons Market Deli

all over town
http://www.newseasonsmarket.com/

At the New Seasons Deli

This may be the best cheap lunch or dinner in town.

Of course you can buy groceries at New Seasons. But at their deli, you can also get hot food. Yay!!

We've been long time fans of the New Seasons deli, ever since we figured out that eating before shopping means we spend a lot less. But really, the food prices here can't be beat.

For example, tonight we tried the hot wok ($6.95 and up). Yum! You get a metal bowl and fill it as high as you can with goodies: noodles, rice, garlic, ginger, tofu and veggies. You can also add chicken, beef or shrimp, or white or brown rice to your wok bowl for a little extra. Now, choose from the 8 different sauces: most are vegan, a good number are gluten-free, so you have options. You can also get them to ratchet up the heat. Just a few minutes later, you have a huge hot meal on a plate. Grab a drink from the cooler, stop at the cashier, and then make your way to the dining area, stocked with condiments and magazines and lots of tables.

You can get a huge salad for $6.99 from their salad bar. Or if you prefer, they can make a caesar for you ($3.95 and up). They have 2 pastas each day, one veggie, one meat for $4.95 (and up). And two soups a day, one veggie, one meat.

You can get a bagel with lox, or cream cheese, or whitefish spread, or tofu paté (warning, not vegan!), or hummus, and veggies. You can even get your bagel toasted!

And then there are sandwiches. You can build your own from coldcuts, or tuna or chicken salad, or even grilled veggies. They have hamburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, chickenwiches, even groovy hot dogs. And there's some specialty sandwiches as well.

If this isn't enough, there's always rotisserie chicken and chicken quarters, always pizza, always some type of roasted potatoes, and always some other yummy stuff. Chips and sweets are close at hand.

While the chicken and pizza leave me cold, the hot wok, salad bar, and sandwiches are consistently great, as good as you'd get in a restaurant -- but cheaper.

The only drawback is, if you're hungry and you're having them make you a sandwich or some other type of non-instant gratification, waiting may make you crazy. But no crazier than shopping with an empty stomach.


filled under Eating in Portland
April 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Nicolas

318 SE Grand Ave.
(503) 235-5123
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

from MeBigGuy:

What...no Nicolas's Resturant? Is there a reason, did I miss it, or what? I love their Lentil Soup.

And from George (4/3/2001):

First, it is Lebanese. Second, they bake their own pita bread. Third, it is very cheap. Four, it is funky, even after the remodeled interior. Reminds me of the village in Greece. Fifth, if you are vegan, your can eat like a king here. Same if you eat meat. Sixth, their Mezza's are a real deal. Usually can split between two people. We often eat as a family of four for under $20 here (drink water). Their Mjadra (lentils and rice) is usually great.

I've heard a rumor that Nicolas is finally accepting credit cards. But here's the deal. I totally understand why folks feel nostalgia for the place, and why they used to flock there. And hell, they still flock there. Any time of the day you end up practically sitting on the lap of the person next to you.

Still, you can find better food (with hot house-baked pita, with vegan options), and alcohol, and credit cards, at Aladdin's Cafe, YaHala, or Karam. At Karam, you can even have whole wheat pita bread. And if you desire funkiness & cheapness, Aladdin's Cafe has it in spades.


filled under Eat Now in beautiful SE Portland
December 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oasis Cafe

3701 SE Hawthorne Blvd
(503) 231-0901
Lunch, dinner, coffee
pizza, espresso, gelato

Oasis Cafe is definitely westcoast pizza -- by the slice, or delivered, you can get all sorts of crazy pizzas. Were you really meant to have apple or scallops on a pizza? Well, the jury is still out, but it's tasty. As far as eating a slice in, the time it will take varies anywhere from immediately to a half hour. Pizza delivered can take far longer than that. But it is good. The people watching possibilities are immense, both from inside the cafe and out on the picnic tables, and the gelato is well worth the detour if you're in the area.


filled under Eat Now in beautiful SE Portland
August 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Otto's Sausage Kitchen & Meat Market

4138 SE Woodstock Blvd
(503) 771-6714
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Mon-Sat 9:30am-6pm

Otto's Sausage Kitchen and Meat
Otto's grill
more photos
If you happen by Otto's, and you get a whiff of the smell of the sausages on the outdoor grill, it's hard to continue on by. The smell is sooo good.

Reedies and other Woodstock denizens can happen by during the week, but for the rest of us, an Otto's visit means Saturday. And if nothing else, you can identify Otto's by the crowd of people in front.

You can just stay outside, grab a soda from the tub and buy a sausage, but it's worth it to go in. First of all, they have beer on tap:

  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Otto's IPA (made by Raccoon Lodge)
  • Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown (a seasonal)
  • Pilsner Urquel
  • New Belgium Skinny Dip (a seasonal)
  • Deschutes Obsidian Stout
  • Thomas Kemper Root Beer
They also have a cooler of specialty sodas like
  • Vernors (in glass bottles!)
  • Thomas Kemper sodas
  • Stewart's
  • Red Rock
  • Cricket
  • Henry Weinhard's
  • Green River
  • Boylan's
  • Crush
  • Big Red
They also have a selection of bottled beer and wine. Purchase that, and then head outside.

The menu will list the sausages on the grill. There's usually wieners, smoked pork sausages, and chicken sausages, with regular, potato or whole wheat buns. For $1.50-$3, you have lunch. Or half a lunch. Whatever. Load up on the limited condiments and take a seat outside if there is one. Cuz there aren't any tables indoors.

I know far more esteemed critics have called Otto's one of the best 10 hot dogs in the U.S., but I don't think it's quite that good. They're tasty dogs but they pale compared to others in SE.


filled under hot dogs, weiners, wieners, sausages, beer, woodstock, portland, oregon, roadfood, tube steak, Otto's Sausage Kitchen
June 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Palenque (El)

8324 SE 17th Ave (Sellwood)
(503) 231-5140
Lunch, dinner
Mexican/Salvadorian

The prices are reasonable, the helpings generous. The Mexican menu is capable, but the Salvadoran dishes are why you go to Sellwood—and can be cheap if you play it right. Pupusas are the highlight, though they have other dishes as well along with that vinegary cole slaw. Has anyone been there recently?


filled under Eat now in beautiful SE Portland
August 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pho Green Papaya and Sunset Factory Teriyaki & Deli

402 SE M L King Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 231-1431
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm

food at pho green papaya
pho at pho green papaya
I was having a bad day, and I needed comfort food. What could be better than pho? And so I ended up at Pho Green Papaya and Sunset Deli.

Now, you might be familiar with them already. Up until recently, they were simply Sunset Deli, a shack-like building on MLK across from Sheridan's, and next to Taco Del Mar. I admit, it seemed a little too divey for even me.

But with a new paint job, Pho Green Payaya looks almost respectable. A covered deck on the side would be nice in warm weather, and it would be removed from the hustle and bustle of the tiny, newly painted interior.

The original Sunset Deli menu (teriyaki, salads, sandwiches) is still in place, and for vietnamese lunch, you've got some limited, not terribly cheap, options. We started with vietnamese iced coffee and their salad rolls, which they call fresh spring roll: filled with bbq pork (xa xiu), shrimp, vermicelli noodles, & mint. The presentation on these was gorgeous, and they really were the highlight of the meal. Though definitely not the best salad roll in town.

Next came our entrees, beef pho and lemongrass chicken. Like I said, the viet menu is short: 3 pho variants (beef, chicken or vegetarian, with no choices for meat), udon (huh?), curry, fried rice, papaya or mango salad, and lemongrass chicken or tofu. The presentation on these were also really lovely. And for a $6 small bowl of pho, it ought to be lovely.

The pho was disappointing. It came with a very small salad plate (though the broth was studded with lots of herbs), and the meat and rice noodles clumped to themselves. By the time the pho got to the table, the meat was an unidentifiable grey mass. And the broth was salty and thin, not rich and robust.

And the lemongrass chicken was also underwhelming. The sauce was tasty with that nice lemongrass citrusyness and slightly spicy, but the chicken itself tasted plain. The green beans were nice and crisp though. It seemed overpriced.

So, beautiful presentation, a little expensive for what it is, and okay but not memorable food.


filled under restaurants in SE Portland
October 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Pho Saigon Noodle House

2850 SE 82nd Ave
(503) 775-1373
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
7 days a week, 10-10

pho sai gon
pho bo vien tai
BBQ Pork Wonton Soup or Xup Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu
More photos here
With a name like Pho Saigon, it's hard to know if you're eating at a chain, or a mom-and-pop pho joint. For instance, is this Pho Saigon related to the Pho Saigon which had been in the Global Food Court downtown, or the one in Vancouver, or the one in Beaverton?

We went seeking pho, soup and bun. Pho Saigon is a pleasant restaurant with booths and tables, a large flat-screen TV, and a lot of lobsters on the wall. The menu is Vietnamese and Chinese, with most items given in English, Vietnamese and Chinese. I was a bit surprised at the prices: a small pho was $5.50, and a large was $8. But no matter.

We ordered salad rolls, fried prawns, a pho with meatballs and rare steak, BBQ pork wonton soup, BBQ pork bun, a thai iced tea, and a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.

The drinks, of course, came first: small, strong, and not terribly sweet. I prefer doing my own sweetening, so that was right up my alley.

Next, the salad rolls, which were very decent, stuffed with shrimp and BBQ pork. The dipping sauce was very thin, which made for a drip hazard. I decided to get okay with a drip (or three) on my shirt.

The fried shrimp were, well, not the best example of the craft. The shrimp were firm, sweet, and mediumsized, covered with a thick batter, which was still doughy and undercooked. They came with a classic chinese sweet and sour dipping sauce. The person who ordered them didn't end up eating them in the end.

Then came the entrees. The BBQ pork wonton soup was totally full of wontons and chinese BBQ pork—it was the winner of the table. The wontons were filled, it seems with BBQ Pork, so they were at the bottom, covered by an impressive array of BBQ pork slices. The person who ordered that slurped happily, ignoring the glares from the other side of the tabel.

The pho was a small bowl with both meatballs and sliced eye of round. I had ordered it children's style, without onions, but that had been lost in translation: they may well have given me extra onions. There was a salad plate that was small, but with very fresh ingredients with a full salad plate. The beef broth was okay, though definitely mild and a little underspiced, not the rich broth that I relish.

And the bun, or vermicelli bowls (a rice noodle salad with a fish-sauce dressing), was deemed okay, but terribly mild. It came with adorably cut carrots, and pickled daikon. And while it was deemed okay, the eater picked at it.

Now it could be that we just got lucky, and came in on a bad night. In spite of the parking lot being full, there were only a few tables full in the restaurant. Friends, with better palates than mine, certainly, have liked it. Next time through, I'll stick to the chinese noodle dishes.


filled under Restaurants in SE Portland
November 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pho Van - The Street Foods of Vietnam

1919 SE 82nd Ave.
(503) 788-5244
phovanrestaurant.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
7 days: 10am-9:30pm

the Pho Van sign...
The dining room at Pho Van on 82nd
The original Pho Van continues to recreate itself. A new remodel has rendered the space more sophisticated, but the prices are about the same. You can still get pho, salad rolls, and bun (rice noodles with veggies and protein), but you can also get some new interesting things, like beef 7 ways (bo 7 mon) and roasted whole catfish (ca nuong). Admittedly, the catfish and beef 7 ways are special occasion dishes ringing in around $30, but they do serve two easily.

Soups are $5-$7.50, entries $6.50-$8.50. One of my favs is the cha gio chay, spring rolls with tofu and taro root, with soy-ginger dipping sauce. If you really want to impress someone new to Pho Van, order Banh xeo, an impressive crispy rice flour crepe filled with pure yummyness (shrimp & pork)—as big as a dinner plate and golden brown delicious. Bahn xeo is always impressive, but Pho Van's version is quite possibly the best in town. Okay, I've not had anything I don't absolutely love there. It's so yummy, I try to come up with excuses to go there, across town, several times a week.

One of Pho Van's greatest strengths are their ability to work with groups. This is a place that doesn't get flustered with a crowd. And they take reservations for parties of six or more.

This is also a great place to take your unadventuresome midwestern relatives: the place is so beautifully designed, so clean, so stylish, that how can your Applebee's loving mom not approve?

Pho Van is well-known to Eastside pho enthusiasts. It's hard to go wrong with a good bowl of pho, and Pho Van does some of the best. The prices are good, the service is fast, and, it's a great place to take someone who isn't sure about pho. Unlike most of the other eastside pho parlors, Pho Van is gorgeous and lovely and tremendously aesthetically appealing. With the new menu strict vegetarians won't have to go hungry, though their options are limited. Dinner for 2 including appetizers, beer, and tip came in at $25.


filled under Eat Now in Beautiful SE Portland
October 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pho Van Hawthorne

3404 SE Hawthorne Blvd
(503) 230-1474
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Pho Van HawthorneLet me start right up front with my biases. I love Pho Van on 82nd, and would eat there every night of the week if I had the cash and someone to go with me. It's certainly not the only vietnamese restaurant I go to, but I love the combination of good food and serene atmosphere. And, they have a vespa and a bike rickshaw inside!

I had heard some less than steller reports about the new Pho Van on Hawthorne, so I went to check it out. Parking was a hassle. We get inside the doorway at 5:15, and there's already a crowd of people standing there. The space in front of the host/hostess stand is small, cramped, and dominated by a giant palm which is totally in my face while I wait. There's one host, and he's taking a phone order from some indecisive person.

After maybe 5 minutes, we get seated. Not too bad. The menu is the same as Pho Van's lunch menu—so an assortment of pho and other soups, appetizers, hand rolls, rice dishes, and bun. The place is close to full, and loud, with sound bouncing off the concrete floors, reverbing off the walls.

First comes the crispy vegetarian rolls, stuffed with all sorts of goodies including taro. They're greasy. But we're hungry, so we don't say anything, and it's not like anyone is checking up on us other than to come and shake our partially full beer bottles to see if they're empty. Yeah, thanks.

Then the main course come. I ordered one of the handrolls, with shrimp and chicken grilled on sugar cane: it's wonderful, but it's all cold. Is it supposed to be cold? I don't remember.

The bun, however, is supposed to be a constrast of cold crunchy vegetables, warm soothing rice noodles, the brace of fish sauce. It's all cold as well. My meal partner, who has worked at viet restaurants in the past, is very displeased with the bun. The noodles are clumpy, the beef is weird, etc. And so, ten minutes or so after the food is delivered, the waitress comes by to ask if everything is okay and gets an earful. She says, well the noodles are supposed to be cold. Hmmmm. She comps his meal, but it's clear she thinks we're PITA. My meal partner claims it's one of the worst vietnamese meals he's ever eaten, and leaves most of it there.

Maybe it was a bad night. Maybe we just had bad luck. Admittedly, I'm totally charmed by the 82nd Ave Pho Van. And while I'll go back to see if it was just bad luck, I'm not terribly motivated to make that soon.


filled under Eat Now in beautiful SE Portland
March 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Red & Black Cafe

400 SE 12th Ave at Oak St.
http://www.redandblackcafe.com/
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Big news! The Red & Black is reopening in the old location of (the greatly missed) Anne Hughes Kitchen Table. They have an all-new, all vegan menu. Over opening weekend (1/11/2008-1/13/2008), the hours will be 9am-3pm, but next week they will be 9am-9pm.


filled under Restaurants in Southeast Portland
January 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)

Saigon Kitchen

3829 SE Division St
(503) 236-2312
Lunch, dinner
Vietnamese/Thai

You love this place, or hate it. I love it for the charcoal appetizers, and for the vegetarian curries. Approach other items with caution. A couple of people eating family style, only drinking tea, and watching it, can still get out the door under $8 each, but for most of us, that is too much restraint. What's good here?—well, just about everything I've tried. Salad rolls, while pricey, are delight rolled up, and they have a vegetarian as well as shrimp and pork version. Just about anything with gluten or mock chicken is worth going out of your way for. Indeed, the vegetarian Thai menu rarely fails—panang, Peanut curry, and more. There are microbrews, and bottled imports, as well as iced coffees and teas.


filled under
April 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Simpatica

828 SE Ash St
(503) 235-1600
simpaticacatering.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Sunday Brunch, 9-2pm

Simpatica Dining Hall sign
chicken & waffles
It seems like the last 5 years have brought an explosion of limited-time-only events. I'm thinking about the Ripe dinners, LOW BBQ night, and, okay, I can't really think of anything else but Simpatica. So maybe explosion is the wrong word. But it's a different restaurant model than I grew up with.

And really, that's a good thing. It makes that meal a special event, which is nice given that I, and perhaps you, eat out entirely too much.

So. Simpatica. I've only been for brunch, but it's one of those things that stands out. Not only is it the best breakfast you've had all week, it might be the best meal period.

First of all, all the meats come from Viande, which conveniently enough is their meat shop. Yum.

Every week, the menu changes. Prices range from $8-$10. Some things stay, like belgian waffles, chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravy. So, with something like chicken and waffles, where the fried chicken is the best in town, and the waffles come with a fruit or berry based syrup (or regular maple syrup if you'd prefer), it's easy to get into a rut, and order it every week. A wonderful, magical rut!

But you are rewarded for trying the new stuff too. There's always a frittata, a hash, and crepes. There's always the breakfast sandwich, the cheeseburger, and the philly cheese steak.

I've had the cheese steak: best in town. The cheeseburger may well be the best too—if only it came with french fries. And, I've tried everything else that was close enough for me to stab, and everything, everything has been superb. Every meal there has been memorable and delicious.

They serve Stumptown Coffee, bloody marys, mimosas, wine, beer and cocktails, to ease your way into the morning.

So what's the drawback, other than it just happening on Sundays? Well, Bon Appetit named Simpatica one of the Top 10 hot new restaurants in the US for 2006 (June 2006), and so the lines waiting for breakfast have just increased. Now everyone knows about it. Gee, thanks!

The room is loud, and in the best of circumstances, you have your choice of a 4-top or a communal table. That said, you may meet some new folks.


filled under Weekend Brunch in Portland, Restaurants in Beautiful SE Portland
June 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Slow Bar

533 SE Grand Ave
(503) 230-7767
slowbar.net
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Slow Bar is a sophisticated small room, with some tall womblike booths, a comfie seating area, a couple tables, and of course, a lovely long bar which dominates the room. It can be smoky, but early on in the evening, it's not too bad for those of us who have given up the cancer sticks.

Originally, the focus at Slow Bar was hard alcohol, and I think it's fair to say that it's still important, but us beer drinkers have been recognized as well. Taps now include:

  • Widmer
  • Droptop Amber
  • Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Inversion IPA
  • Lagunitas Censored
  • PBR
  • Murphy's Irish Stout
  • Pilsner Urquel
  • Stella Artois
  • Widmer Hefeweizen
There are bottles as well.

In honor of the bar's heritage, I got a strawberry margarita, made with house infused tequila. Yum. The drink menu had prices from $5-$7.50.

The food menu is short, irreverent, and fairly inventive. I have to love a place that offers fries with "melted stinky cheese". They have appetizers ($3.50-$7), and other stuff like ceviche, pizzetta, pasta, and sandwiches ($5-9.50). A handful of the options are vegetarian, and another couple involve fish.

But the best part, really, is happy hour. 3-6pm. $2.50 off well drinks, $1 off beer.

Happy hour also has a short food menu, with prices ranging from $2.50-$5.50. That includes olives, spicy mixed nuts, hand cut fries (with or without stinky cheese), green salad, ceviche, asparagus tempura, southern fry, and 3 pizzettas.

We ordered a couple of southern fries (hushpuppies, buttermilk fried chicken, a spicy honey butter, and a dijon dipping sauce), a ceviche, and a plate of fries.

The southern fry ($7.50, or $5.50 happy hour) is not a huge plate, but there's enough artery-clogging food here to at least slow you down. The chicken is all white meat, and in tenders-like chunks, then batter-dipped and deep fried, and honestly, I felt like I was eating fancy chicken fingers. Which isn't a bad thing. The hushpuppies were a little leaden, but they were nicely made inhalable with the spicy honey butter.

The ceviche ($7.50, or $5 happy hour) was a success as well—nothing that would compare, say, with D.F. or Taqueria Neuve or Andina or Autentica, but tasty and generous. And the hand-cut fries ($4.50, or $2.50 happy hour) are just that. They're obviously hand-cut into small planks and single-fried, so they aren't crisp, but in spite that, they're really tasty.

And because everything on the happy hour menu seemed so cheap, we just kept ordering, and that is how we came to spend $35 on a happy hour meal. We had a great experience, however, and we'll be back.

The one weird thing is the music situation. They have a great punk rock jukebox, and they'd be playing something cool off it, and then suddenly some other "music" would cut in. WTF?


filled under bar, smokey, TV, burger
June 16, 2006 | Permalink

Stickers

6808 SE Milwaukie
(503) 239-8739

StickersMicha writes (10/2001),

They seem to want this place to be more of a restaurant and less of a drink-appetizer hangout. Double happy hour seems to be gone. There are more families and kids in there these days than there used to be. I've always enjoyed the noodle dishes myself. Back in August they had a lamb kebab on the menu, which seemed to be straying outside their Southeast Asian boundary. But I tried it and it was excellent. There's also tandoori chicken, massaman curry, and plenty of noodle dishes. They now have a small kids' menu, too.


filled under
April 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tabor Hill Cafe

SE Hawthorne at 38th
lunch, dinner
diner deluxe

Tabor Hill gets slagged a quite a bit and I'm not sure why. Yes, it used to have other owners (who have gone on to create the John Street Cafe), and yes, it's just a diner. Yes, it's not at all trendy... you won't spot hipsters or activists or folks showing off their new squeeze. So, what do you want?

What I want, and why I come here is simple. Hash browns. Golden brown goodness accenting any egg dish you could want, most in the four dollar range. The menu indicates home fries, and you'll need to actually specify hash browns when you order.

What they have is standard diner fare, at standard diner prices. It's not pretentious. I haven't been there for lunch or dinner, but my gosh, any place with kielbasa and decent hash browns is okay with me.


filled under
April 22, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Takahashi Restaurant

10324 SE Holgate Blvd
(503) 760-8135
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Wed-Sun, 5-9pm

the Takahashi
tofu agedashi
sushi
The sign reads "Japanese folk restaurant", and that's how it seems. Homestyle food. In this case, yummy Japanese homestyle food—noodles, rice dishes, teriyaki, tempura, and of course, sushi. Cashwise, this is one of the cheaper sushi joints in town, and cheaper yet if you go on Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday (the former being super discount night).

There are several things that divide Takahashi lovers, and Takahashi haters. One, they're out way out east. The fish quality isn't phenomenal. And finally, they make some Americanized sushi.

That said, the Takahashi is adorable. It has, of course, the sushi bar, where you can watch Mr. Takahashi and a collection of younger men at work, and that is definitely the best place to sit if there's just a couple of you. There are also tables, of course. A miniature train runs (sometimes) on a track above the dining room, and Japanese gee-gaws are everywhere.

The real high points of the Takahashi are the ala carte tempura choices, cooked sushi (for folks who don't care for raw fish), and low prices—especially on Wednesdays, when everything is discounted.

When you are seated, you'll get your tea and hot scented towels. I'm never sure what to do with the towels, but I like the idea.

You have your choice of three menus. The first is the goofy, hand-written laminated menu of appetizers and entrees. There are fried, rice, yakisoba, pot stickers, miso soup, sukiyaki, udon, a number of combo plates and ramen—I admit, however, that I come to the Takahashi for tempura and sushi, and it's those menus that I pay attention to.

As you might expect, the tempura and sushi menus are forms to fill out, on your table. The tempura choices are many: 16 different vegetables (including tofu! who knew? $1-$1.50), 10 types of seafood and fish ($2.50-$3, softshell crab, $8), and chicken ($2), and beef ($3). So if you'd only like to order, say, kabocha (japanese squash), onion ring, nasubi (japanese eggplant), lotus, several types of mushrooms, banana, kisu (japanese whitefish), snapper and chicken, that's what you get—two pieces of each.

The sushi menu is a great primer for Japanese food newbies: everything is spelled out. They offer nigiri (sushi on pillows of rice, $2.50-$5 for 2 pieces), and maki (sushi wrapped in rice, and then rolled in nori, $2.50-$7), and the menu indicates if the fish is raw or not. Nearly half the menu is cooked maki or nigiri.

There are also specials, which generally top out at $3.50.

Purists will be upset, surely, about the use of sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, chicken tempura, mayonnaise, and especially cream cheese. But, hey, you can get natto here.

Vegetarians have a lot of options in the tempura menu and 9 options on the sushi menu (tamago nigiri [egg & sugar omelette], kappa maki [cucumber], avocado nigiri, inari [fried tofu pocket stuffed with sushi rice], natto handroll [aged soybeans], picked daikon radish maki, shea maki [avocado, cream cheese & cucumber], spicy daikon radish sprouts, and su maki [avocado, cream cheese & asparagus].

They offer hot and cold sake, naturally, Japanese and American beers, and wine: plum or white.

The downside to the Takahashi, other than the drive, is the service. It's really erratic, going from great one visit to awful on another. The other night when we visited, it took 45 minutes to get our sushi and tempura, and from the guilty look we got from the waitress, it wasn't the kitchen's fault. It gave us lots of time to try origami (directions and paper are on each table) and learn it wasn't our style.

This is why it's best to sit at the sushi bar. You always have entertainment and your food comes faster.

The prices are great, but it still ends up being expensive unless you show some control. This last visit cost us $50—not the most we've spent here, and not the least.


filled under
November 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tennessee Red's Barbecue

2133 SE 11th Ave.
(503) 321-1710

Haven't been here in ages. How about you?


filled under
April 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thanh Thao

4005 SE Hawthorne
(503) 238-6232
Lunch, dinner
Closed Tuesdays
Vietnamese/Thai

While this was one of the original Vietnamese restaurants embraced by lily-white Portlanders, some may find it greasy now. There is a huge selection of thai and vietnamese food here, all pretty darn tasty. Lunch specials too.


filled under
April 22, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Toast

5222 SE 52nd Avenue (between Mitchell & Steele)
(503) 774-1020
toastthepossibilities.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
8-2, Wednesday - Sunday
5:30-9:30, Wednesday - Saturday

Toast
more photos of Toast here
We went back to Toast, and while we know lots of people who really like Toast, we sure aren't crazy about it.

The reports on dinner are shining... though we've only been for brunch.

Don't get me wrong: they have great service, they have some great ideas, and if you like onions, they've got lots of those. We love that you start your brunch with tiny gratis scones, and we love the non-alcoholic mixed drinks. We love the excellent Courier coffee and the fact that decaf drinkers aren't treated like second-class citizens.

The big winner for us was the Bad Ass Sandwich (fried eggs, bacon, and shaved gouda on toast, with potato rosti, $7.50) for its pure simplicity. This is a sandwich that you eat with a knife and fork, and if you feel that leafy things should not be included in breakfast items, best to avoid this. The eggs were overeasy and nice with a little pepper; the bacon crisp; the gouda unnoticeable. This came with an oniony rosti, which, either you like these things or you don't.

Other things didn't work as well. For example, the sausage turnover ($2.25) which hasn't been available twice, and when we were able to get it, the pastry was hot, and the meat was cold. The pastry itself was flakey, and the flavor on the turnover is good, though we would have been happier if the whole thing was room temperature.

One of us ordered That’s a Flapjack (Two flapjacks, maple syrup, fruit and griddle ham, $7.50), and went home hungry. The chopped apples were great, but the ham was greyish.

The Benedict oh ($9) is soft poached eggs, really underwhelming housemade sausage patties, chard, and housemade english muffins with a bit of bearnaise sauce.

The Golden Pig is pork belly with three basil scrambled eggs & crispy shallots on a slice of toast, which sounds good, but really wasn't out of the ordinary.

This restaurant does not fear white space, at least on the plate. Part of me thinks, it's kinda nice that the breakfasts are smaller, that this place doesn't want to overwhelm you with lots of food. I could afford to eat a little less, you know? But if I'm going to eat less, I want what I eat to really be good.


filled under Restaurants in Southeast Portland
November 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10)

Vincente's Gourmet Pizza

1935 SE Hawthorne
(503) 236-5223
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
gourmet pizza

the Vincente's complexPizza by the slice. Pizza by the pie. Microbrews on tap, and wine. Huge salads. Now expanded, so... there. And obviously, it's good -- in my top three favorite pizza places in town. And reasonable -- a slice for under $3, a salad for about the same, a beer for about the same.


filled under Food in SE, pizza, pizza by the slice
April 19, 2002 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wild Abandon

2411 SE Belmont St
(503) 232-4458
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Carrie writes (7/2001),

It's one of my all time favorite restaurants! Its friendly, intimate and a treat to all in the pdx community, both queer and straight. They seve cocktails and have a brief yet quality wine menu, and offer vegetarian options. Favorite dishes include polenta with portabella mushrooms, seafood pasta and even the filet mignon!

Everyone I know loves this place. Yet the one time I went there, my meal was inedible. I keep meaning to give them another chance, but the thought of spending the money just isn't appealing.


filled under Weekend Brunch in Portland, Restaurants in Beautiful SE Portland
April 18, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wong's King Seafood Restaurant

8733 SE Division St
(503) 788-8883
wongsking.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
dim sum 7 days a week, 10-3
dinner 7 days a week, 11-11

Wong's King Seafood Restaurant

I think all reviews of Wong's King are obligated to begin thusly:

There are other Wong's King, owned by the same family, but the only one you have to take seriously is Wong's King Seafood on SE Division in the new Chinatown. The ones in Sellwood, Sandy and Estacada? You'll get a decent American Chinese meal. But if you are looking for serious high-end Cantonese, get thee to WKS.

Dim sum, a competitive sport.

We knew that the place packs for dim sum on holidays, maybe even on non-holidays, so we got there at 9:30. We were not the first ones there. By 9:45, there were clumps of families there, shivering in the chilly morning, waiting for the doors to open. By the time the doors opened at 9:50, the lobby, filled with chairs, filled with hungry clients.

Word to the wise: have your whole party there when you're seated: if you hold seats for your flakey friends who don't show, you'll be personas non grata in the dining room. I know this sadly from experience. You can get away with this stuff at Fong Chong, but not here.

Within 10 minutes of being seated, every table in the large banquet hall is full. And the carts have already begun. I would have loved to have one of those picture menus so I could accurately name what we had. But everything we had was really good.

Some of the things we had:
-shumai
-shrimp dumplings
-chicken paws (feet)
-congee
-BBQ duck
-sesame balls
-han sui gok (pork in sweet sticky rice then deepfried)
-sticky rice in banana leaves
-spareribs
-ginger chicken
-humbow
-wu gok (mashed taro in sweet sticky rice then deepfried)
-shrimp dumplings with chives
-BBQ pork pastry
-shrimp paste on sugar cane
-deepfried shrimp balls
-shrimp in rice noodle
I admit being too greedy with the eating to take notes.

Whenever we needed something, be it a fork, 10 glasses of water, a glass of 7up, more shrimp in rice noodle, soy sauce and chili oil, we just asked one of the cart ladies, or one of the staffers gliding around the room, and our wish appeared in a matter of moments.

So we ate to a Mr Cresote level, all of it delectable, and for ten people, it was $86. So it was $10 plus change per person.

Eating off the dinner menu is a little more intimidating.

There's 150 things, and it's hard to tell what to choose from the descriptions. The trick here is to remember that they're known for their seafood, and that they have a healthy trade in BBQ.

A great start to a meal is ordering a BBQ plate (we've had the duck, pork and duchess chicken and they were all good) and some soup. Even old standbys like wonton and hot and sour soups are really something altogether better.

We ordered several seafood dishes, one a suggestion and another a memory of another meal at WKS, and they were both very good—not what we had expected, but something better entirely.

Most entries ring in within a couple bucks of $10 and portions are generous. For $50 including tip and a beer, two of us ate to bursting, and brought some food home.

Other Press:


filled under Restaurants in Southeast Portland, Dim sum in Portland
April 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ya Hala

8005 SE Stark
(503) 256-4484
yahalarestaurant.com
googlemap
get there via trimet
Monday-Saturday, 11-9
high-brow Lebanese

Ya HalaYa Hala is my favorite Lebanese restaurant. There, I've said it. I know you can get whole wheat pita at Karam. I know it's cheaper at Nicolas. But it's hard to beat Ya Hala. Yes, it's in Montavilla, dangerously close to 82nd. They serve lots of interesting home-style food, beautifully presented, in generous portions. Until recently, lots of menu items are ones you rarely see in these parts: beef artichoke hearts, bamyae or makloubeh. Add in the fresh-from-the-oven pita bread, and gosh. Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores can eat together happily. The atmosphere is one a midwestern parent could love. There is beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Street parking is easy, and you can pick up some spices or other middle-eastern goodies in the attached store. You know you want to!


filled under
July 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zach's Shack

4611 SE Hawthorne
(971) 235-9888
zachsshack.net
googlemap
get there via trimet
find a bike route
lunch, dinner, and late night (11-3am)
hot diggity dawg!

Zach's Shack Hot Dogs
In the back patio at Zach's, everyone dives for the food
more photos
Zach's is no longer a shack; it's more of a dive. And it's all about hot dogs. Hot dogs, with toppings. Fries, with toppings. Pop, wine, and beer.

The hot dog here is all-beef with a satisfying snap, served on a toasted bun. You can substitute veggie and turkey dogs for no extra charge; or a red hot, cheese filled, or sausage of the day for a buck more (when we were there, it was linguisa). The red hot is a nice variation, with enough spice to make you take notice. You can get the usual salad dog, chicago stylee, or a Coney Island, as well as more unusual toppings like olives, salsa, cucumbers, sour cream, and cream cheese. Try a red hot St. Peppers if you are a bit of a tiger. Prices range from $2.50-$4.50.

So, fries. With cheddar, big chunks of jarred jalapeno, chili—yum. The fries are krinkle-kuts, and not a huge serving. The chili—ah, it's okay, not great—more like a chili sauce than chili. The cheese fries aren't as good as others in town, but still, cheese fries! ($2.50-$3.50)

Of course, a frosty beer is the best side to a dog. They have four beers on tap (when we were there, they were Lucky Lab's stout, Sierra Nevada Pale, Lompoc's C-Note, and Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale, for $3 a frosty glass. Bottled beers are also $3. Happy hour, from 4-8 everyday, means drafts are 50 cents cheaper (and PBR a $1.25).

You can eat on the Hawthorne sidewalk, inside, of course, or on their back patio. Non-smoking until 10pm.

Sadly, the quality tends to dip when Zach isn't around, but if he is, this is a great cheap eat.


filled under zack's, zack's shack, zach's
April 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

HOME!

CONSUME!

airwaves art ATMs
cameras cinema cyber
farmers markets gas stations groceries reading
record/CD shopping
splash thrifts & resale video yarn stores 'zines

EAT, DRINK!

beer food

LIVE!

houseparts navigation neighborhoods parents renting queer

VISIT!

accommodations Oregon Convention Center PDX airport things to do

MISC!

home events links site map

Archives

All the individual entries