Review: Beard Papa’s (Beaverton)

Beard Papa’s
10500 NW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
(Inside Uwajimaya Food Market)
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
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Ph: 503-924-1101
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Video
Lunch Money: $
Rating: ★★★★½

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!

PROS:
– Delicious treat that’s perfect for breakfast or dessert
– Very fresh and tasty
– Affordable indulgence

CONS:
– They do sell out of certain “puffs,” especially in the evening
– Currently only one location in the Portland area

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Review: Sushi Train (Tualatin)

Sushi Train
19239 SW Martinazzi Avenue
Tualatin, OR 97062
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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
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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)

Stumptown Lunch News: Grand Openings

Hello Lunch Lovers,

We’ve been away for a little while; this economy has even the Lunch Lady pinching her precious lunch pennies.

But we have two new lunch spot openings to report.

If you are in the Pearl/Old Town area, Chez Joly has officially opened their doors. They are located at 135 NW Broadway and are open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and offer brunch on Sundays.

Chez Joly is a moderately priced French bistro, which will be a fantastic addition to the neighborhood.

In other grand opening news, Sushi Land’s latest location across from Bridgeport Village in Tigard is now open, too! The newest train-style sushi spot is located at 7194 SW Hazelfern Road. Sushi Land is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

We hope to check out both places in the near future.

Cheers!

HH Review: Dragonfish Asian Café

Dragonfish Asian Café
909 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205
503-243-5991
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Rating: ★★★★½

It’s rare that I go to sushi places where you order off the menu, as I’m a diehard sushi train fan. But the Sushi Hour at the upscale Dragonfish Asian Café is absolutely worth a visit.

Sushi Hour is their version of happy hour (4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close daily), and it’s a terrific way to sample the restaurant’s upscale fare without breaking your budget. Located in the lobby of the Paramount Hotel, the restaurant on one side and the lounge, where Sushi Hour is offered, on the other.

The best part of Sushi Hour is that you can enjoy an array of the selected nigiri, sushi rolls and small plates for possibly less than a single entrée over in the restaurant. There is a minimum drink purchase requirement, but the specialty cocktails, beer selections and the sake and wine lists should easily cover that.

On our recent visit, my HH friend and I were pretty hungry and ordered four out of the five sushi roll options, a couple pieces of nigiri, two orders of pot stickers and a plate of the caramel ginger chicken. If that sounds like a lot of food, it was! But the food was so good we ignored our filling bellies and chowed down. Continue reading HH Review: Dragonfish Asian Café

Review: Hot Pot ‘n Sushi

Hot Pot ‘n Sushi
10127 NE Cascade Parkway
Portland, OR 97220
503-284-6075
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I had to take my boyfriend to the airport, so why not stop off for a little sushi on the way, right? We had previously spied Hot Pot ‘n Sushi on a trip to Cascade Station a few weeks prior and decided to test it out.

Hmmmm. What to say about Hot Pot ‘n Sushi? It pretty much sucked.

The sushi was boring and they didn’t offer a large enough selection. I kept waiting for their House roll to roll on by on the track but never saw one. I didn’t even see one California roll. What? I’ve never seen that before. They also pretty much only served sushi rolls, I only witnessed a handful of nigiri dishes and they didn’t look all that appetizing. Continue reading Review: Hot Pot ‘n Sushi

Review: Sushi Land

Marinepolis Sushi Land (Lloyd location)
1409 NE Weidler Street
Portland, Oregon 97232
503-280-0300
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Rating: ★★★½☆

There are a handful of Sushi Land locations around the metro area and they all feature the train-style conveyor belt of small sushi plates.

I have now visited two of the Portland area Sushi Land restaurants. Typically I go to the Pearl District location when the nearby Sushi Takahashi is too busy. But recently an eastside friend suggested we check out the Lloyd District location.

There isn’t too much difference between the Pearl and Lloyd locations when it comes to the food, but the Lloyd location does seem a little less upscale than the Pearl. There might be more seating at the Lloyd location, but it has more of a “diner counter” feel to it than the Pearl location.

It wasn’t too crowed when our party of three arrived, so we seated ourselves and dove in! The friendly server came by quickly to take our drink orders. Continue reading Review: Sushi Land

Review: Sushi Train

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

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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

Review: Kauai Island Grill

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Kauai Island Grill
811 NW Murray Boulevard
Portland, OR
503-643-4820
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Rating: ★★★½☆

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A little bit of Hawaii is the perfect pick-me-up during a rainy Stumptown lunch hour; so, today I trekked to the Westside to sample some tasty teriyaki treats. But Kauai Island Grill’s menu goes way beyond teriyaki, they offer traditional Hawaiian fare–where else can you find SPAM on a menu?

The restaurant itself is pretty much a hole in the wall, and you’ll want to get it to go because seating is minimal (by minimal, I mean there are just two small tables and a counter with stools). But looking beyond the seating dilemma, this place is charming and seems to be a family-run joint with a following of regulars who are happy to spend the wait for takeout chatting with the women behind the counter. The wall is covered with family photos, kitschy Hawaiian pictures and even a couple of autographed photos (hello, Peter Jacobsen!). Continue reading Review: Kauai Island Grill

Review: Sushi Ichiban (formerly Takahashi)

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Sushi Ichiban (formerly Sushi Takahashi)
24 NW Broadway
Portland, OR
503-224-3417
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Rating: ★★★★½

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If you ever decide to all gonzo and try to stalk the Lunch Lady, there is one surefire place you can find me: Saturday at lunchtime at Sushi Takahashi on Broadway. But you’ll have to look hard because I’ll probably be camouflaged by the throngs of other cheap sushi lovers who flock here on that golden day of the week.

Yes, there are three Sushi Takahashi locations across the metro area, but I’ve only dined at the Broadway location—and I’m perfectly happy with that. You see, the Old Town location is just steps away from my urban weekend hideaway, and when I know there is delicious sushi on special within a just-roll-out-of-bed-and-pull-on-a-hoodie distance, I am SO freakin’ there!
Continue reading Review: Sushi Ichiban (formerly Takahashi)

Review: Todai Sushi and Seafood Buffet CLOSED

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Todai Sushi and Seafood Buffet
(Inside Pioneer Place)
340 SW Morrison Street, 4th Floor
Portland, OR 97204
503-294-0007
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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It’s not everyday I get to enjoy endless sushi, salads, noodles, teriyaki chicken, multiple desserts and more all in one place! So I was extremely excited to try Todai—I actually skipped dinner the night before just so I could get my fill at the massive buffet.

Yes, Todai is an oasis of seafood delights. All over the bright and clean dining area, patrons roam, their oversized plates piled with tasty treats. One person might have piles and piles of sushi, while another might be enjoying a bowl of udon and yet another could be snacking on shrimp.

Ahhhh…. It was a feast for my sushi-and-seafood-loving eyes from the very moment I stepped inside. Continue reading Review: Todai Sushi and Seafood Buffet CLOSED