Photo Gallery: Cosmic Soda Pop & Candy Shop

Cosmic Soda Pop & Candy Shop
(formerly Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop)
817 SE 34th Avenue (between Belmont and Morrison)
Portland, Oregon 97214
Map It!
Ph: 503-894-8980
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Candy money: $$
Rating: ★★★★½

With more than 200 varieties of unique and hard-to-find bottled sodas, more retro candy than you could ever desire, a counter-service soda fountain with floats, malts, shakes and egg creams, how could you go wrong?!

Also, did I mention the shrine to Portland icon “Ramblin’ Rod” (the charismatic hero to children growing up in PDX from the ‘70s to the ‘90s*)?

Seriously, what could be more fun than that??!!

Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop, which opened in January in the Belmont Dairy Building, offers a convenient trip back to your childhood and a place for modern kids to explore some sweet treats from the past.

There’s free Wi-Fi and lots of space to peruse the products or simply sit, relax and enjoy a fountain drink.

This is a great place to stop on a rainy afternoon or a cool destination for a weekend bike ride…or just pop in anytime you are looking for some fun!

My only complaint is that I found TOO much candy I wanted to buy, and they don’t currently seem to offer baskets to carry around as you explore the store—but you can stash your growing candy pile at the counter while you shop.

[*Note: I was a Ramblin’ Rod Smile Contest winner, but my sugar-conscious mother never let me drink the Pop Shoppe grape soda I received as my prize. I guess I can have all the Pop Shoppe grape soda I want now!! Take that, Mom! ☺]

Review: Sushi Train (Tualatin)

Sushi Train
19239 SW Martinazzi Avenue
Tualatin, OR 97062
Map It!
Ph: 503-885-2545
Facebook
Lunch money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★★★★

[Note: I originally reviewed Sushi Train more than three years ago (where does the time go?), so I felt I should update everyone on one of my fave “secret” sushi spots.]

I honestly have no idea how I discovered Sushi Train a few years ago, but it has become a favorite destination with a special place in my stomach (and the stomachs of several of my closest friends). You see, Sushi Train is a tiny place in the middle of a strip mall in Tualatin…yes, you read that right, Tualatin. As in the ‘burbs Tualatin. Yet, anytime I’m craving good, quick sushi, this is my go-to place.

Sure it’s quite the hike for many of us PDX urbanites who both live and work in town, but—trust me on this—it’s well worth the almost 30-mile round trip trek! If you already live or work in the Tualatin area then you are just a tad bit luckier than the rest of us sushi lovers.

As the name infers, Sushi Train is a conveyor belt sushi spot. The dining area is a mix of counter seating and tables, but even with a group I prefer counter seating…it’s just more fun!

The sushi at Sushi Train is not only very fresh and tasty, but some of the plates could almost be considered edible pieces of art. One thing that I especially like about Sushi Train is that there is typically lots of variety on the “train” to pick from. Of course, if you don’t see what you want on the conveyor belt, just ask one of the many chefs and they will quickly whip up whatever you’re hungry for.

While there isn’t much explanation as to what the plated items are (and that can be a little confusing if you don’t have sushi a lot), you can usually identify what’s on a plate by matching the plate’s color on the menu charts. Or start by perusing the sushi menu then look for matching item on the belt. This is especially fun if you are in the mood to try something new.

Plates range from $1 to $4, so it’s easy to fill up without spending tons of cash. I can usually get out of there completely satiated for less than $10. Even if you have a huge appetite and your finished plate stack goes sky high, you’ll probably be surprised how reasonable the prices are. Continue reading Review: Sushi Train (Tualatin)

Review: Boke Bowl (SE Industrial District)

Boke Bowl
1028 SE Water Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
Map It!
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Menu
Lunch money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★★★½

Portland has a lot of noodle options. Like, A LOT of noodle options. So when the buzz-a-thon about Boke Bowl opening their first permanent location began to spread via Twitter, I knew I was going to have to check it out…stat.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Boke Bowl craze actually dates back to September 2010 when the owners launched their first pop-up dinner, and since that first special event Boke Bowl has won the attention and affection of many a foodie and non-foodie alike.

I really didn’t know what to expect for my first lunchtime visit to their new SE Water Avenue location (just across from clarklewis and next door to Bunk Bar), but I did expect it to be crowded. And it was. We arrived just before noon on a Tuesday and the line stretched the length of the front windows…but luckily there is a good amount of standing room inside (otherwise that’s a big dealbreaker on rainy PDX days).

You order and pay at the counter and then (hopefully) find a seat. There’s a massive menu displayed on the wall and the ordering process is straightforward. Pick a dashi (Japanese-style stock) flavor, choose anything you would like to add on and you’re done!

Boke Bowl also offers a couple side dishes (kimchi, assorted pickles, etc.), steamed buns and desserts just in case that oversized bowl of noodles, veggies and deliciousness wasn’t quite filling enough.

I went with the pork and chicken dashi, which includes smoked pulled pork ($9) and my lunch pal went for the seafood miso dashi with shrimp ($10). We also indulged our sweet tooths and opted to get the chocolate with coconut cream Boke twinkie.

We were lucky enough on that visit to find a place to sit right away. There are several single tables, but the most common seating option is the communal long tables. While the communal style might seem a little awkward at first, you never really feel that your dining neighbors are too close for comfort. Continue reading Review: Boke Bowl (SE Industrial District)

Review: Hawaiian Time (Pearl District)

Hawaiian Time
505 NW 14th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
Map It!
503-459-4040 ‎
Hours: Sun-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m./F-Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Facebook Page | Menu (PDF) | Lunch Money: $$
Rating: ★★★★½

Aloha my lovely Stumptown Lunch brahs! Are you ready to grind into some epic “plate lunch” awesomeness?

Plate Lunch: A combo menu item that is a traditional part of Hawaiian cuisine. While some options will vary, the standard plate lunch consists of a main entrée, two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

We’d been hearing about the Hawaiian Time location in the Pearl District almost constantly since we arrived back in PDX last month. This is mainly because our best bud, Matt W., is a regular and he’s constantly bragging about having just eaten there on the way over to Stumptown Lunch HQs. (BTW, yeah, thanks for NOT bringing us some all those times, Matt!)

So, after a recent visit to Powell’s, we decided to hoof it a few blocks to try some of the Polynesian meat treats for ourselves.

The verdict is in: What the heck were we waiting for?!?!

To say it was good would be an understatement. To say it was delicious would still be an understatement. To say that we could eat at Hawaiian Time every single day would be absolutely accurate. Seriously. It’s that good!

Walking into the former-gas-station-turned-tiny-restaurant-joint, we were surprised by how simple and straightforward the menu was. Meat, more meat, side of meat, marinated meat, grilled meat, seasoned meat…oh, and steamed rice and that notorious mac salad. Yes, there are one or two vegetarian options, but serious veggie-only types won’t have much to pick from here.

If you are going for one of the plate lunches you’ll have three sizes to choose from. The regular size has one generous portion of your choice of meat, two scoops of rice and a scoop of mac salad. The smaller “dakine” portion contains a little less meat (but not by much) and one scoop each of rice and mac salad. If you are really hungry (and I mean REALLY hungry) there’s the “alii” portion, which includes a whopping 11.5 ounces of meat, three scoops of rice and two scoops of mac salad. Best be off-the-Richter hungry, son! Continue reading Review: Hawaiian Time (Pearl District)

HH Review: On Deck Sports Bar & Grill


On Deck Sports Bar & Grill
910 NW 14th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
503-227-7020
Business Hours: M-Th 11 a.m.-11 p.m., F/Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Happy Hour: M-F 3:30-6:30 and 9:30-close, Sat/Sun 9-close
Website
Map It!
Twitter: @ondeckpdx
Rating: ★★★★☆


While the ever popular On Deck Sports Bar and Grill is open daily for lunch, we find ourselves gravitating to the smartly decked out Pearl District hangout for happy hour—especially now that summertime weather is gently breezing in and the cold, rain and wind is headed out (at least we hope).

Whether it’s a sunny day just chillin’ at one of the spacious tables on their sprawling patio or catching an afternoon Major League Baseball game or an international soccer match, the happy hour food and drink specials are even more of an incentive to come out and cheer on your favorite team.

First and foremost, On Deck is about sports—lots of sports. If you’re looking for somewhere to catch “the BIG game” or even some of the more obscure sporting events, On Deck is a great place to gather. There are 25 flat screens all over the bar and a 68” plasma TV, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to catch all the action.

Monday through Friday On Deck offers happy hour from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and then again from 9:30 p.m. to close. On Saturday and Sunday happy hour is from 9 p.m. to close. Food prices range from $2 to $5, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Drink specials range from $2.75 domestic pints to $3.50 well drinks to $5 Captain & Cokes. Continue reading HH Review: On Deck Sports Bar & Grill

Review: Wong Kee Dim Sum CLOSED

Wong Kee Dim Sum Restaurant
28 NW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
503-229-1888
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★☆

Believe it or not, until a few weeks ago I’d never had dim sum. How could that be, you ask? Well, I don’t know. I frequently eat at the Chinese restaurants in Chinatown and many of them offer dim sum. Maybe it was an unexplainable fear of all those tin containers. How would I know I was picking the “right” thing to eat?

Then my friend Matt mentioned how amazing the dim sum is at Wong Kee—in fact, his entire family would occasionally drive all the way from Corvallis just to eat there when he was a kid. So I had to take him up on his offer to try it out.

I’ve had the regular menu at Wong Kee before, so I knew the food would be great, but I was very excited and delighted to try so many delicious dim sum treats all in one sitting. Continue reading Review: Wong Kee Dim Sum CLOSED

Review: Skyline Restaurant

Skyline Restaurant
1313 NW Skyline Boulevard
Portland, OR 97229
503-292-6727
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★½

Foodies around the world know the name James Beard, one of the most acclaimed American chefs of all time, so it’s a little odd to see a browned-with-age newspaper clipping framed on the wall at Skyline touting Beard’s professed devotion for this tiny retro diner’s burgers.

I happen to share Beard’s devotion to Skyline, and I have been visiting for more than two decades. Even though I don’t live as close as I did growing up, the food and atmosphere keep calling me back and Skyline never fails to satisfy.

Established in 1935, you would guess by looking at the former drive-in that very little has probably changed since the days when teenagers cruised up through the West Hills to enjoy some late-night hamburgers and milkshakes.

The drive-in service is gone, but the burgers and shakes survive. The dining area is a smattering of cozy booths and a handful of stools at the counter, all of which tend to fill up quickly during peak hours. The wood paneled walls are covered with children’s crayon drawings, mementos collected over their years in business and lots and lots of business cards (some pinned to the wall four or five deep). All of which add to the charm of this bygone-era establishment, but also take into account that their bygone-era approach means this is a cash only restaurant. (They do have an on-site ATM.)

The menu is plentiful and retains a definite diner feel with some modern upgrades (like the vegan black bean burger), but the main draw to Skyline is the burgers with their toasted, buttery buns. Continue reading Review: Skyline Restaurant

Review: Thai Food Café

Thai Food Café
833 N. Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR 97217
503-285-8745
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★½

Oh how I miss living in my old neighborhood. Not only did I live in the cutest of cute lil’ bungalow, but I was just a short walk or even shorter drive from all the hotspots of North and inner Northeast Portland. So when I got a tip that the relatively new Thai Food Café on North Killingsworth was ab fab, I knew it must be investigated.

Unfortunately, I somehow woke up to discover my left mandibular second molar (that’s one of those back teeth used for chewing) had slightly cracked in my sleep (how does that happen?). Regardless, I wanted some Thai food, cracked-tooth pain or not. (OK, OK, the tooth really isn’t that bad!)

I met up with my awesome friend Steph for a late lunch in the super-sunny dining room and we were immediately welcomed with cups of warm tea—perfect just coming in on a cold winter day. The hosts were incredibly nice and very attentive to our needs.

We were pleasantly surprised by the lunch specials. There are 15 lunch options, ranging from Pad Thai to curry dishes to stir fries that you can order with a meat, veggie or seafood selection. If you choose to add vegetables, tofu, chicken, pork or beef it’s just $6.50, if you want shrimp, squid or scallops it’s $8.00. They also offer soy meat and seafood options for veggie and vegan patrons at similar prices.

I went with Pra Ram with chicken and Steph tried the Pad Thai with chicken. Just after we ordered our entrees we were served a complimentary cup of delicious coconut soup. What a treat! It was creamy and full of flavor. Continue reading Review: Thai Food Café

HH Review: Tiger Bar

tigerbar1

Tiger Bar
317 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97209
(503) 222-7297
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★½

tigerbar2 tigerbar4 tigerbar31

The first time I visited Tiger Bar also happened to be the night of SantaCon, so I won’t mention all the debauchery that I saw go down there that night. Let’s just say the patrons got to see a lot more drunken Santa skin than they probably wanted to….

That aside, I decided to try the place again—this time for happy hour with friends—and my opinion about the place changed completely. We wandered in and took a seat in one of the large, cozy booths near the back of the bar. Due to my first impression, I was expecting typical greasy bar grub.

But one look at their mouth-watering happy hour menu, and I knew the place was doing something right. During happy hour (4 to 8 p.m. daily), Tiger Bar offers absolutely delicious food at nicely reduced prices—the best deal is the burger/Gardenburger or teriyaki chicken sandwich for only $5 (add $1 for cheese) and they come with my beloved sweet potato fries or a salad! Continue reading HH Review: Tiger Bar

Review: Sushi Train

sushitrain1.gif  sushitrain2.gif

Sushi Train
19239 SW Martinazzi Avenue
Tualatin, OR 97062
(503) 885-2545
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★★

sushitrain3.gif  sushitrain4.gif  sushitrain5.gif  sushitrain6.gif

Yes, gas prices are officially through the roof, so a lot of people are eating out less frequently let alone taking a relatively long drive just to eat out. But if you are a sushi fan, you might want to hop on I-5 and head to Tualatin for some delicious Japanese eats!

At least one person I know asked me not to write this review, as he didn’t want the secret of this little suburban strip mall sushi gem “outted” to the general public, but I couldn’t resist. This place is a little hard to find, but well worth the trip.

I am a fan of train-style sushi restaurants, as you might have guessed by my review of Takahashi, so I was thrilled to have a new place to try out. Honestly, I was completely skeptical at first. Good sushi in Tualatin? I definitely had my doubts. When I saw that the place was sandwiched between a Radio Shack and a Schlotzsky’s Deli, I had even more doubts.

But once I walked through the door and sat down at the counter, any doubt I had completely vanished. Not only was the sushi fresh and extremely tasty, but many of the rolls were almost too pretty to eat! Continue reading Review: Sushi Train

HH Review: Henry’s 12 Street Tavern

henrys_1.gif

Henry’s 12th Street Tavern
10 NW 12th Street
Portland, OR
503-227-5320
* Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 6 pm
Map It!
Rating: ★★★☆☆

henrys_3.gif  henrys_4.gif  henrys_5.gif  henrys_6.gif

OK, Henry’s has a great happy hour menu, but it’s almost too much trouble finding a seat to even bother going! I can understand the mad rush at Portland City Grill (which is also owned by Pacific Coast Restaurants), but I get so sick and tired of walking that endless circle around the bar at Henry’s looking for a free table or an even less comfortable place at the bar.

Honestly, my friends and I have left without waiting numerous times, because, like PCG, they don’t have any organized way of getting paying customers a table as people leave. Yes, I understand first come, first serve, but this is just chaos without the great view or the ambiance of PCG. Continue reading HH Review: Henry’s 12 Street Tavern

Review: IKEA Cafe

ikea_1.gif

IKEA Café
10280 NE Cascades Parkway
Portland, OR
503-282-4532
Map It!
Rating: ★★★★☆

ikea_2.gif  ikea_3.gif

Welcome to the world of IKEA. Yeah, Stumptown finally has our very own mega-shopping paradise, and along with that comes the meaty-goodness that are IKEA’s Swedish meatballs!

But there is more to the IKEA café than just the meatballs. The selections include baked salmon, daily entrée specials, a variety of sandwiches, a salad bar and an array of desserts—my favorite is the Daim torte. They also offer kid-sized portions of the meatballs as well the not-quite-Swedish mac and cheese. Continue reading Review: IKEA Cafe