‘Tis the season to get the heck out of the rain and snow and cold, and get ye to warmer climes. (At least the lucky and/or smart people do that.) So it’s no big surprise that one of my friends happened upon one of the Stumptown Lunch signs at a Five Guys in Orlando. Coolest of beans!!!
[Thank you, Bernstein! Enjoy your vacation in the sun, and I’ll probably see you in freezing D.C. sometime soon.]
P.S. We’ve been on a mini hiatus due to LOTS of IRL changes going on. We’ll be back in the New Year with more reviews, videos and all-around fun Stumptown Lunch stuff!
Here’s to a splendid 2013!
I became a huge fan of YouTube dudes ManHauls awhile back while researching BirchBox Men reviews. Bucky and Matt made me seriously LOL, so I subscribed to their channel. When they did a ‘lil video about their impressive hot sauce collection, I immediately noticed it was missing something important: Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce!
I knew I needed to remedy that massive missing piece in their collection (die-hard ‘Bama fans, or not), so I sent them of a bottle.
What I didn’t expect was that they’d make a sweet video about their thoughts and feelings on the sauce. Check out the video above to see how many ManHauls “beards” they awarded Secret Aardvark!
Of course, if you live in Portland and don’t already know about Secret Aardvark, you’re not just missing the boat, you’re missing the mf’ing yacht of hot sauces. It’s truly the best around…even if a bottle will set you back about $6 and it can be hard to find.
Secret Aardvark has two other saucy varieties: the Drunken Garlic Black Bean and the Drunken Jerk (not to be confused with the PDX bridge-and-tunnel crowd at Blitz or Splash Bar or The Crown Room or Barrel Room or…OK, OK, just jokin’).
Also, be sure to check out ManHauls’ awesome beauty guru wives over at EleventhGorgeous!
CRAP! You mean summer is over? Already?? I didn’t get into my bikini one time all summer and now it’s time to start layering on those socks/turtlenecks/sweaters/raincoats?!
Well, I guess fall isn’t all fail. There is college football [Ed. note: Go Ducks!] and…um…ummm…. OK, maybe just college football.
Seriously, dear readers, I was not made to live in a cold, dark, rainy climate, but somehow I’ve lived in Portland many years of my life.
Anyhoozles, I guess if you need to adjust to chilly temps and never-ending overcast skies, there’s no better way than making something warm, tasty and in season. Hot apple cider with brandy? Nope…I’m talkin’ SPAGHETTI SQAUSH! (But now I really want that spiked hot apple cider, too.)
I’ve only recently re-introduced myself to spaghetti squash. I had it as a kid, but completely overlooked it as an adult. And, honestly, I regret I’ve waited this long. The flavor is mildly sweet and can be mixed with a variety of ingredients—from simple to really complex flavors. It’s also very filling, but low in carbs and calories.
And, no, it doesn’t really taste like pasta spaghetti.
When looking to purchase your very own spaghetti squash, look for ones that are the most yellow in color, still very firm and about 3-4 pounds. Spaghetti squash is considered a “winter” squash and they keep well in dark, cool pantries/cabinets. So stock up!
BTW, click on the pics for a bigger, better view.
How to make the perfect spaghetti squash:
– Buy one medium-size spaghetti squash
– Heat your oven to 400 degrees
– Make lots of puncture wounds in the squash with a paring knife so it doesn’t explode in the oven! (This may or may not be a myth, but Stumptown Lunch plays it safe.)
– Line a baking dish/pan with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes to an hour (just until the outside is soft to the touch—with an oven mitt on, duh!)
– Remove from oven; let cool
– Slice lengthwise
– Scoop out the seeds with a spoon; discard those gnarly parts in your compost/trash
– With a fork, carefully scrape out the spaghetti-like “innards” of the squash—place them in a bowl and set aside
– Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a skillet on medium heat
– Two cloves of minced garlic (or more if you like garlic)
– One finely diced shallot
– One teaspoon of red chile pepper flakes
– Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste
– Once the shallots are soft and the garlic starts to brown, remove from heat and carefully mix in the spaghetti squash
– 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
– Two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (dried basil will work, just use less)
– Fresh ground pepper
There are tons of variations for this simple recipe, and I’m looking forward to trying out all sorts of different ingredients this fall! Next time I’m trying it with Feta, black olives and diced tomatoes.
[Recipe inspired by Food with Dottie]
Lonesome’s Pizza (Old Town/Delivery/Take-Out)
350 West Burnside (at Dante’s)
Portland, OR 97209
Delivery Area Map
Ph: Eastside 503-234-0114/Westside 503-274-9570
Hours: Su-Wed 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Th-Sat 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Website | Menu | Twitter | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$$
Whenever I’m having a particularly bad day, and I can’t even fathom the thought of eating on my nervous/upset stomach, who do I call? Well, I should probably call my therapist, but that’d be a $150 bill, so I call Lonesome’s Pizza instead.
Ok, ok…it’s not just bad days that have me ringing up Lonesome’s. They’re my go-to mini pizza party for celebrating a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon or satisfying that insatiable, emotional PMS craving or finding an unexpected $20 in the dryer or, really, any reason works for me.
You might be thinking: ‘I’ve never heard of Lonesome’s Pizza…how can it be any better than the hundreds of other ‘za joints in this town?’
How? They just are.
There is one slight issue. Lonesome’s is take-out or delivery only and the delivery area is limited, so be sure to check HERE to make sure you’re in their delivery zone. If not, you might have to start making plans to move. (I’m only in by about a block, and I’m forever grateful for that.)
Lucky for everyone who lives and/or works in the Lonesome’s delivery area, they are NOW open for lunch. This is the best news ever! [Note: In my personal opinion.]
Not only do they dish out probably the most unique pies with the craziest names around, but they also serve up art and music. Every pizza box introduces you to an artist or musician, and the large pizza boxes include a complimentary CD. Broaden your artistic horizons while you chow down—Pizza Hut and Dominos certainly don’t offer that!
OK, now on to the food. There’s a reason I would order from Lonesome’s every night if my wallet and waistline allowed it—the pizza is damn good!
Personally, I’m addicted to the John Stamos vs. the entire Comanche nation (yes, I warned you about the names)…or more simply: the #11. It’s an Alfredo base topped with mozzarella, bacon, artichokes and parsley. I typically add prosciutto as well. To. Die. For. (Or to die from. The menu states it’s “a happy heart attack.”)
Other household faves include:
#14: Lando Calrissian vs. that tank from Tiananmen Square, which is the Alfredo base topped with mozzarella, chicken and broccoli.
#5: Hasselhoff vs. Velcro headboard restraints, which is a white pie with ricotta, mozzarella, walnuts, bacon, rosemary and potato slices.
#13: Tesla the inventor vs. Dokken the band, which is a Lonesome’s original consisting of Ethiopian spiced red sauce, braised lamb and goat cheese.
[Another Note: I’m currently drooling as I write these descriptions.]
Prices for the 17” specialty pizzas are currently $19 to $24, and they are HUGE! Smaller versions of the pies (10”) are $9 each (and the perfect size for lunch). You can also custom build your own pizza, with toppings including “unicorn balls”—I’m not sure if that’s considered a meat or a veggie topping.
As if pizza weren’t enough, Lonesome’s offers up some hefty sides as well. And by hefty, I mean holy-shit huge! The “wings” are actually chicken drumsticks doused in your sauce of choice. The breadsticks are equally indulgent. You can also order salads and sandwiches.
And, because this is Portland, there are plenty of veggie, vegan and G-Free options.
Overall, I love Lonesome’s Pizza. It’s just soooooo good. If you’re lucky enough to live in the delivery area (or willing to pick up take-out), give it a try. You can thank me later.
NOW open for lunch!!!!
Unique Portland business
Great art and music offerings with each pizza
Massive drumstick “wings”
Limited delivery area
I’d get really fat if I ordered from them every day
939 NW 10th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
Hours: 6 a.m to 8 p.m daily
Website | Menu | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$-$$$
First of all, let me be perfectly clear about something. I suffer from standing-in-line-might-cause-me-to-die syndrome. (It’s a real thing, I think. Maybe.) So, I dare you to try to find a time during the day when there ISN’T a long-ass line at Lovejoy Bakers. I do like this place for the convenience, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to wait and wait and wait for my death…oops, I mean a sandwich.
OK, I know that’s not exactly fair, but are you freakin’ kidding me about the lines at this place?! On a good day the line is 10-people deep during non-peak hours, but at a busy time it’s pointless to wait. For as much as they charge for a sandwich here, you’d think there’d be a better, faster, more efficient system.
Beyond the line problem, there’s also the seating problem. Once you’re through the line there is (surprisingly) fairly limited seating…and a lot of it is communal, which is—at least I find personally—annoying. On nice days there’s outside seating, but this is Portland! It rains…a lot. Like 20 months of the year.
OK, for the good stuff. The sandwiches are good. I also think the bread at Lovejoy Bakers is excellent. (I’ve dropped by to pick up a baguette in the late afternoon for dinner a few times.)
I prefer to order the smaller Bistro sandwiches (currently $4 to $7.50). Why? The regular sized sandwiches are kinda expensive (currently $6.25 to $9.50) and come with a side of probably the most tasteless and watery coleslaw I’ve ever tried.
Sadly, coleslaw is the ONE AND ONLY free side option with a full-size sandwich. The other option, a side of chips, will cost $1 extra. I think that’s pretty lame. There’s a Subway across the street where you can get a foot-long sub, chips AND a soda for far less than a sandwich at Lovejoy Bakers…and with less attitude.
Oh, did I mention the attitude? Yes, there is a weird vibe at Lovejoy Bakers. Snobby for sure. You can’t just order a fountain soda (i.e., Coke, Sprite, etc.) you have to order a bottle of fancy-schmancy all-natural soda. I know it’s the Pearl District, but c’mon, not everyone who lives or works in the area wants to shell out extra dollars for a soda! (Note: the self-serve water is free.)
This MIGHT be OK if there didn’t seem to be some confusion behind the counter at times—or almost every time I’ve been there. I’d chalk it up to the long lines, and the frustration/confusion that all those hungry customers might cause, but then I saw people behind the counter standing around chit-chatting on a super busy day—ignoring me trying to inform them the self-dispense drip coffee was out and getting no response. Or that cold winter day they didn’t make my peppermint café mocha at all and had to ask after a looong wait! Not cool.
It’s sort of hard to believe Lovejoy Bakers is partially owned by the same people who founded Pizzacato in Portland, which I really love.
Overall, the sandwiches are tasty, but there are a lot of other issues to contend with before you sit down with your Lovejoy Bakers lunch. If you like long lines, annoying hipster attitudes and bussing your own tables, you might like Lovejoy Bakers. But I think I’ll skip it from now on.
– Tasty sandwiches
– Fresh bread, which you can order to take home
– Breakfast sandwiches served all day
– They offer smaller, cheaper “Bistro” sandwiches
– THE LINES!
– Can be hard to find seating
– Expensive for a sandwich
– The service is often below average, and you have to bus your own table
– Coleslaw is the only free side option—and it’s mediocre at best
1411 NW Flanders Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
Hours: Su-Th: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; F, Sa: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Website | Menu | Twitter | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$-$$$
I’ve been meaning to write this review FOREVER…or maybe it just seems that way since Portland’s Mellow Mushroom has been open since October 2011, and it’s become the one of my regular pizza destinations in the Pearl District.
I really like the mellow-groovy vibe of the place. It’s sort of a ‘60s-hippie-meets-Portland-hipster attitude. I’ve been to MM for lunch, happy hour and dinner, and I’ve never been disappointed. Great service, friendly bartenders and, of course, lots of yummy, cheesy options to pick from!
Fair warning: The portions are large. Even the smallest pizza size can probably feed two people at lunchtime, especially if you’re starting with a salad or an appetizer. Likewise for their sandwiches and calzones. Come REALLY hungry, share or expect to have leftovers to take home.
On my visits I’ve typically stuck with the pizza menu (well…and the appetizer, beer and wine menus, too).
During lunch hours (usually from open to 2 p.m.) you can order pizza by the slice. You start with a basic cheese slice and can choose the toppings of your choice. I like this because it means your slice is made-to-order, fresh and hasn’t been sitting under a heat lamp all day.
While you can go with a build-your-own pizza (with tons of topping options), the specialty pizzas are probably my main draw to MM. Sure, there are your standard combo pies (the Hawaiian, the Mighty Meaty, the Mega Veggie types), but they also have some very creative options. The Caesar is actually topped with a Caesar salad. The Red Skin Potato Pie is like a deluxe baked potato on crust.
Speaking of the crust, the pizza crust at MM is pretty close to what I would call perfection. I’m not into deep-dish or anything too doughy, so the crunchy, crispy, yet still soft and chewy, crust is delightful. (Proof: I almost never eat the outer edge of my pizza crust, but MM’s is so good I devour the entire slice!)
MM is also well known for their massive beer selection—they offer more than 100 options! Seriously, I think any beer aficionado would be more than satisfied here. Of course, if the enormous beer menu is a wee overwhelming, just ask your server…they know their stuff. Definitely don’t be shy to ask for recommendations.
Some of my personal favorite things about MM are the appetizers, which are commonly discounted during happy hour.
The cheese bread is almost too good to be true—and huge! It’s a loaf of French bread smothered in cheese and served with a pot of marinara to dip in. Ermahgerd!!! So good.
My friends and I have also tried the fresh baked pretzels, which our server warned us would take a little longer than the typical app, but—let me tell ya—they’re well worth the wait. There are sweet or savory flavors to choose from (I personally love the garlic butter and Parmesan).
Overall, MM is a funky-fun place to grab a pizza and a brewski (especially in the pricey oasis that is the Pearl District). It’s great for groups and families, and on nice days there are a few outside tables—perfect for summertime people-watching!
– Good pizza with excellent crust
– HUGE beer selection
– Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options available
– Some outside seating in good weather
– Awesome cheesy bread!
– They only offer pizza by the slice at lunchtime
– No delivery service…yet
– As always, the parking situation in the Pearl District sucks (but the streetcar is close-by)
The Portland area certainly has a plethora of Mexican food options, but sometimes it seems very few of them are worth your hard earned dinero. In the heart of downtown Beaverton sits an almost DayGlo-colored painted building that advertises their video lottery machines. It’s not exactly the place you’d expect to find some of the tastiest Mexican food around…but it is.
Mexicali Express has actually been around for a couple of decades (they were originally located on West Burnside where Gaya Gaya Sushi is now). From my experience, local fast food places tend to diminish in quality over the years, get run out of business by the national chain behemoths or attempt to expand on their own.
Happily, Mexicali Express has remained almost exactly the same for the 20+ years I’ve been eating there, so I feel a little nostalgic every time I walk through the doors. The décor is FAR from fancy, and the relatively recent addition of a video lotto lounge doesn’t help—but you’re not coming here for haute cuisine; you’re coming here to nosh!
The menu is typical Mexican fast food: Tacos. Burritos. Nachos. Quesadillas. Fajitas. Enchiladas. You know the stuff. But this is no Taco Bell. The freshness and quality of the food is remarkable considering the slightly rundown location.
I almost always go with a burrito, a taco AND the Mexicali fries (which comes to about $6 total). I’m not usually a fry person, but there’s something special about those lightly seasoned potato discs that I can’t resist…especially dipped in ketchup. Yum!
Practically everyone I take to Mexicali mentions the tortilla chips and taco shells with delight—they’re light, crispy, and offer the perfect crunch. I always suggest ordering a side of chips and salsa or guacamole for your table as a starter. (Sorry, no free chips and salsa appetizer here.)
The food is full of flavor and seasoned well, but they do serve almost everything on the mild range of the spicy scale (of course, some items can be ordered with a more spicy sauce option). If you need that extra kick, they do offer an extensive fresh salsa bar with a boatload more options than you’ll find at your local Baja Fresh (that place is so bland and boring, right?).
Mexicali Express opens at 9 a.m. for breakfast (you can order breakfast burritos until 1 p.m.) and stays open until midnight daily. They also offer a convenient drive-thru. The service is fantastic, and I get the feeling that this is a family run operation because you tend to see the same faces behind the counter again and again.
Overall, this is the perfect place to hit up for a quick, fresh meal that won’t break your budget. Simple. Fresh. Fast. Delicious.
– Fresh, fast food
– Very reasonable prices
– Fresh salsa bar
– Friendly service
– Open late and there’s a drive-thru
– The video lottery area is a little weird
– The building is a bit of an eyesore
10500 NW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
(Inside Uwajimaya Food Market)
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Video
Lunch Money: $
I’m just going to make a modest prediction here: cream puffs are the new cupcakes! Yeah, I might be getting a little ahead of myself with this prediction, but at least at my house cream puffs are the creamy-crispy baked good of choice these days.
Part of the resurgence of cream puff popularity has to do with the arrival and expansion of Japan-based Beard Papa’s in the United States…and now the Portland area has a location, too!! Rejoice!
The first Portland-area Beard Papa’s opened in March inside the Uwajimaya Asian Food Market on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (across the street from Target).
I’d been salivating for a couple weeks before I had the time to make it out to Beaverton for a taste, but it was worth the wait. Although, I did get there in the early evening and noticed that their last batch of puffs was quickly dwindling as the long line ahead of me placed their orders. (The guy in line ahead of me pulled out a $50 bill and I thought all chances of scoring some precious puff were lost. Alas, there were just enough left for me!)
Beard Papa’s offers a variety of puff selections to pick from: the original, the éclair, the Paris-Brest, the cookie crumb and the coco. After you pick your puffs, you have your choice of creamy custard fillings: vanilla bean, Belgian chocolate or the selection of the week. The filling of the week varies and range from strawberry to caramel to green tea.
Then stand back and watch as your puffs get plumped with that delicious creamy custard filling. They fill after you order to keep your puffs fresh, because nobody wants a soggy puff!
These fist-sized tasty treats certainly make a delightful snack, decadent breakfast or darn-good dessert. And Beard Papa’s cream puffs aren’t too dangerous for your wallet or your waistline. Each puff is currently $2.50 to $2.75 (with discounts on orders of 6 or 12) and contains about 220 calories.
Try one; you’ll be hooked!
– Delicious treat that’s perfect for breakfast or dessert
– Very fresh and tasty
– Affordable indulgence
– They do sell out of certain “puffs,” especially in the evening
– Currently only one location in the Portland area
What are you doing Thursday evening? No plans?? Why not come out, have some fun and get some cool stuff!?! [Um, some FREE stuff!! Keep reading….]
This Thursday happens to be Last Thursday, that one special day of the month the Alberta Arts District turns their charming little neighborhood into a spectacle of art and entertainment for all ages to enjoy. Even better, DRY Soda’s Savor the Flavor Tour is making Last Thursday their official Portland stop that night!
So what better place for me to hang out with my pals from DRY Soda and meet up with some of my other favorite pals: YOU GUYS!! I’m officially inviting all of you to come hangout and enjoy the festivities with us, rain or shine—but let’s hope for some sunshine!
Not only that, but if you stop by the DRY Soda Truck and tell us the “secret” password (see below), you’ll get a special treat from Stumptown Lunch and DRY Soda!
Could anything be cooler than that?
Well…the DRY Soda Truck is going to be parked right outside Salt & Straw (they make delicious small-batch, homemade ice cream that even Oprah loves), so you can pop in and buy yourself a couple of creamy scoops for dessert! That’s pretty darn cool, too! (Again, let’s hope for sunshine….)
Here’s the information:
When: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Where: DRY Soda’s Tour Truck will be parked just outside of Salt & Straw
Map: 2035 NE Alberta Street
Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
Secret Password: Put A Bird On It!
The Lunch Lady
Mac! Mac & Cheesery
3936 N. Mississippi Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97227
Hours: Sunday-Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri/Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Website | Menu | Facebook | Twitter
Lunch Money: $$
How many times have I attempted to try Tasty n Sons in NoPo? Three. How many times has the line been too long for my famished belly to wait for a table? Three.
Usually this is met with an annoying shrug and slog back to the car in the rain to seek out a less exciting lunchtime eatery…but this time was different.
This time I was prepared with an equally enticing eatery in mind as a backup plan. Mac! Mac & Cheesery has actually been on my “must eat there” list since they opened back in September of 2011, especially knowing one of my best friends (who was with me for lunch) is a self-confessed mac ‘n cheese addict.
Walking in, I immediately noticed the place was very clean and airy. The walls are lined with retro lunchboxes, which is a very cool, unique decorative touch.
Although I knew the place’s specialty was mac ‘n cheese, I have to admit I was still a bit overwhelmed by the number of options! There are 16 versions of mac ‘n cheese on the menu as well as a daily special or two. Wowza!
Because you order at the register before you sit down, you might want to grab a menu and take a look first (there’s also the menu on a chalkboard on the wall as you walk in). This was actually the hardest decision of my entire day! There were almost too many tasty things to pick from! The Caprese (mozzarella, basil and tomatoes), the Green Eggs and Ham (ham, spinach and a fried egg) and the Cordon Bleu (roasted chicken, Swiss and prosciutto) were on my short list, but then the hostess told us the specials….
POUTINE mac ‘n cheese?! Yes, please!! (Who can resist poutine? Not this Lunch Lady, that’s for sure.)
I’m pretty sure my lunch pal was equally overwhelmed by the number of mac ‘n cheese options, but he ultimately decided on the Cheeseburger version (ground beef, onions, bacon, Cheddar and topped with BBQ chips).
The two macs and two sodas rang up to be $21 before tip. Not bad at all.
We were given a number for our table and our drinks and headed upstairs to find a seat. We were happily surprised to see that the TV upstairs was tuned to the Timbers match and a few tables were occupied with legit Timers fans. I’m sure it helps that Mac! Mac & Cheesery offers a full bar!
The wait for our food was not long and our mac ‘n cheeses arrived on oversized, deep-dish plates. My eyes were as big as saucers when I saw the amount of mac ‘n cheese sitting before me. Seriously huge portions!
The first thing we both noticed was the massive amount of cheese. Mac! Mac & Cheesery must go through many, many pounds of the gooey stuff on a daily basis because calling it “cheesy” might even be an understatement.
Both macs were delicious. I loved the fried cheese curds atop my Poutine mac and the chips on the Cheeseburger mac added a tasty crunch to each bite.
Needless to say, and despite the enormous portions, both plates were practically licked clean!
Along with the mac ‘n cheese, the menu offers an array of sandwiches, salads and soups. There are plenty of veggie options and even a vegan mac and gluten-free pasta alternative.
Overall, Mac! Mac and Cheesery was fun and fantastic place to grab a hearty, quick and inexpensive lunch. Indeed, I keep thinking about the different types of mac ‘n cheese I want to try when I go back (I just wish they had a sampler option so I could try more than one at a time)!
– Yummy comfort food in hearty portions
– Outside seating on warm days (great for people watching on Mississippi)
– TVs for sporting events
– Full bar and daily HH
– Parking is always a hassle near Mississippi
– This is NOT diet food
– Wish there were a sampler option