Review: Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches (Hillsboro)

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
18033 NW Evergreen Pkwy
Hillsboro, Oregon 97006
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Ph: 503-567-3444
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Website | Menu | Facebook | Twitter
Lunch Money: $-$$
Rating: ★★★★½

Just a few years ago (like two years ago, actually) there were no Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich restaurants in Portland at all, now there are seven* of the shops in the metro area.

I know, I know. You’re thinking: “Why do we need another sandwich shop in town, and it’s a chain place on top of that…?”

Here’s why: Jimmy John’s is really good, really fresh AND really affordable.

As far as the chain shops go, Subway might have their $5 Footlongs (and those uber-annoying commercial jingles to go with), but they’re the low man on the totem pole as far as a sandwich spots go these days. Quizno’s toasts their subs, but the service is soooo sloooow and the food is still just blah. Big Town Hero? They used to be good (about 10 years ago), but as their prices have gone up, the quality seems to have gone down.

Jimmy John’s is really changing my expectations of what a “fast food” sandwich place should offer. With their delish made-daily French bread, fresh ingredients and quick service, it’s really hard to overlook this relative newcomer to the Portland sandwich scene…and with sandwiches going from $3.75 (plain) to $5.75 (loaded), it’s REALLY hard to beat their prices. (NOTE: Prices may vary depending on location.)

I was itching to get out of the city, so a friend and I high-tailed it to Tanasbourne for some retail therapy and lunch. While there are plenty of lunch places in the NW 185th area, I knew there was a Jimmy John’s nearby and I’d been craving a big, cold cut sub for ages. Jimmy John’s was next to our next retail target, Target, so it was a done deal.

Being a newbie to JJ’s, I quickly studied the menu, and decided on the 8” #5, The Vito: Genoa salami, provolone, capicola, onion, lettuce, tomato and zesty Italian vinaigrette on their famous French bread roll. My shopping pal, who’s familiar with JJ’s due to Midwest roots, went for the #10, Hunter’s Club: roast beef, provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayo.

Within seconds our sandwiches were ready to eat! It’s really, really speedy service.

While the sandwiches at JJ’s aren’t all that bad for you to begin with (it’s really easy to get the nutritional information), you can have your sandwich prepared on 7-grain wheat bread or they’ll even make your sub into a lettuce wrap. This is nice because swimsuit season will be here soon (I hope)!

One thing I really like is that JJ’s also offers delivery. This is fantastic for that workday when you don’t have time to leave the desk for lunch. Just call or place your order online and, voila, lunch is on its way!

Overall, I was very pleased with my first JJ’s experience. I actually took half my sandwich home and enjoyed it the next day for lunch and it WASN’T soggy! That’s an impressive feat!!

PROS:
Affordable prices
Just tastes better than the competition
Large sandwiches with good meat, veggie and cheese portions
FAST service
They deliver (check for exact delivery areas)
Online ordering

CONS:
Wish there were more locations!

[*Note: Currently, there are seven Jimmy John’s in the Portland area: one downtown, one in NE PDX, one in Tigard, two in Beaverton, one in Vancouver and one in Hillsboro.)

Review: Jin Wah Restaurant (Beaverton)

Jin Wah Restaurant
4021 SW 117th Avenue (across from Fred Meyer; near Beaverton TC)
Beaverton, OR 97005
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503-641-2852
Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (daily dim sum 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
Website | Lunch money: $$$
Rating: ★★★☆☆

When we hear the text message alert on the iPhone go off before noon on a Saturday it only means one thing: Our pal Matt W. wants to go get food. Sure enough that was the situation over the weekend, so before we knew it we were out of our weekend loungewear (fave bright yellow PJ pants and a boyfriend-sized t-shirt) and headed to the ‘burbs (Beaverton, to be exact) for some dim sum.

Now this wasn’t our first venture into Cantonese small plate dining, but this was our first visit to Jin Wah Restaurant. We met up with Matt (who had already started digging into some dishes) and our other dining companion during the restaurant’s busy dim sum lunch hours. The place was packed and everyone looked like regulars…always a good sign!

Now here’s our very own personal problem when we go for dim sum: We can never figure out what is what on the cart! What kind of dumplings are those? What’s in that bun? Are those chicken feet?!?! Yeah, it’s not a world-ending issue, but it does take some time to figure out what’s what and dive into the tasty stuff.

Of course, with so many options to try it’s hard to pick something wrong…and if you do someone else at the table will likely happily inhale it.

We started with some turnip cake, a couple plates of various dumplings, some taro dumplings, spare ribs and, of course, the traditional tea. After that we ordered more dumplings, BBQ pork buns, potstickers and Phoenix claws (yep, that would be chicken feet!).

If that sounds like a lot, it WAS! We were stuffed! Continue reading Review: Jin Wah Restaurant (Beaverton)

Review: California Pizza Kitchen (Bridgeport)

California Pizza Kitchen (Bridgeport Village)
7315 SW Bridgeport Road
Tigard, OR 97224
(Next to Regal Cinemas)
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503-968-0504
Hours: M-Th 11 a.m.-10 p.m., F-Sat 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Website | Twitter: @calpizzakitchen | Lunch Money: $$$
Rating: ★★★★☆

Pizza. It’s a fave food for people from one to 101 (well, if they have their teeth), and since 1985 California Pizza Kitchen—also branded CPK—has offered up a twist on the traditional Italian pie. You can still find your standard slices with pepperoni and Italian sausage topped with ooey-gooey mozzarella, but CPK is best known for their “creative” topping options.

Where was the first place we tried a Thai chicken pizza? The now closed CPK that was on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. During college, where did we dig into our first Original BBQ chicken pizza? The Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

These days CPK’s menu is expansive, with pizzas like the vegetarian with Japanese eggplant, the pear and Gorgonzola, the California Club, the tostada and even the new habaneros carnitas pizza. But they’ve also moved beyond just the ‘za and added a variety of yummy appetizers and entrees that you won’t find at most pizza joints.

One of our favorite new things at CPK is the Small Cravings menu, which offers smaller-portioned appetizers at very reasonable prices (currently about $4-$6). It’s a perfect sized sampler—without going overboard—while you wait for your main meal. When we visited the Small Cravings menu offered everything from a Tuscan panzanella salad to a spicy chicken quesadilla.

Of course, if you aren’t in the mood for pizza, CPK also offers salad, pasta and sandwich entrees.

We started with the Korean BBQ steak tacos from the Small Cravings menu (two for $5.99) and they were delicious. Perfectly juicy and spicy, they were just right to tide our appetite until pizza time! Continue reading Review: California Pizza Kitchen (Bridgeport)

Stumptown Lunch News: Beers at Burgerville?

This is an interesting story. While it’s common to see alcohol served in fast food joints in Europe, it’s pretty unheard of here in the U.S. But that might be about to change if a new Burgerville in Vancouver gets their liquor license approved.

If approved, the Burgerville location will offer beer and wine along with their burgers and fries. If the plan is successful, the company might consider expanding alcohol sales to all of their restaurants. (Um, I don’t think this is very likely to happen in Oregon with our rigid OLCC, but who knows!)

No word if you will be able to get a brew to-go at the drive-thru!

Do you think serving beer and wine at a fast food restaurant is a good idea? Vote in our new poll!

Review: Rose’s (Lloyd location)

Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery
(Lloyd Center location)
1200 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97232
503-954-2758
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Rating: ★★★★½

On a recent rainy, dreary Portland day, my lunch partner and I were looking for some hearty comfort food to get us through the bleakness that is fall in the Pacific Northwest. We took off toward Lloyd Center hoping to find something new and, hopefully, really tasty.

Rose’s isn’t exactly a new name in the Portland restaurant scene. The original Rose’s deli and bakery opened in 1956 over on NW 23rd Avenue. Since that time the restaurant has grown to six locations across the metro area. The Lloyd Center location is the newest, which opened in July 2008.

The reason Rose’s has been able to flourish over the past 50 years is simple: the food is great and the service is outstanding. The menu is packed with deli goodness, like Rose’s Famous Reubens, half-pound burgers, specialty sandwiches, pasta dishes, a plethora of salads and tummy-warming soups (including the popular Matzo Ball). And don’t forget the meat-friendly house specialties like pot roast, baby back ribs, meatloaf and pork chops.

When we arrived the restaurant was pretty dead, so we were seated quickly at one of the large booths. The walls of this Rose’s location are lined with flat-screen TVs and there are two quirky Portland-themed murals, which add to the bright and light atmosphere. Continue reading Review: Rose’s (Lloyd location)

Review: Fire on the Mountain (East Burnside)

Fire on the Mountain
1708 East Burnside
Portland, Oregon 97214
503-230-9464
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Rating: ★★★★½

Wings, oh, lovely wings! Who doesn’t love a great wings place, right? Sure, you could trek out to the lone Hooters left in Oregon at Jantzen Beach, but for a great local wings place, you really should visit Fire on the Mountain—which now has two locations. Not only are the wings great, but the selection of sauces is outstanding.

Portland was a little behind the wings trend for years and years, and Fire on the Mountain’s initial location on North Interstate was really the first GOOD wing-specializing place in town (seriously, you can’t count Hooters, puh-lease) when they opened up in 2005. The original location is teeny-tiny, so if you go be prepared to wait for a table or just order take-out. The new East Burnside location is larger and very airy, but it’s also known to fill up fast during lunchtime.

When you approach the counter to give your order, you can actually taste-test the sauces on small pieces of celery. This is a great way to try out any sauces you might usually be afraid to try on an entire order of wings, so go ahead, dip that celery stick in “El-Jefe” and let the burning sensation begin. Continue reading Review: Fire on the Mountain (East Burnside)

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: Biscuits Café

Biscuits Café
460 SW Miller Road
Portland, Oregon 97225
(503) 297-3880
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Rating: ★½☆☆☆

     

What do you order at a place called Biscuits Café? Biscuits, of course! Even though it was definitely lunchtime, I decided to opt for a little bit of breakfast for my midday meal. I ordered the biscuits and gravy with a side of hash browns.

The menu at Biscuits Café goes way beyond biscuits. They offer a large selection of breakfast item, including omelets, pancakes, French toast and waffles. The lunch menu includes burgers, fish and chips, sandwiches and salads.

The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but the entire menu is available until they close. Unfortunately, even with lunchtime breakfast options, I don’t think I’ll be going back.

The restaurant’s motto is “We don’t serve fast food…we serve fresh food as fast as we can!” Sadly, they’re just not all that fast. Continue reading Review: Biscuits Café

Review: Pastini Pastaria

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Pastini Pastaria
(Six locations in the Portland area)
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Rating: ★★★½☆

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Pastini Pastaria is pretty much my go-to spot for any sort of family or friend function that entails a large group going out to a restaurant. Sure, some people might consider it Portland’s local version of Olive Garden, but the food is consistently good (even if it is a little on the bland side) and there is something on the menu for everyone-even those picky eaters and vegetarians.

What I love about Pastini is that they offer an excellent variety of pasta, from capellini to ziti and everything in between! They even offer whole wheat pasta, which is typically what I order. They have just about every combination of delectable pasta dishes, from the simple spaghetti agli e olio (the classic with sautéed garlic, olive oil, basil and parmesan) to the more decedent baked manicotti (filled with beef, pork, ricotta and spinach, then baked with alfredo sauce and marinara). All pasta dishes are served with the equally delicious ciabatta bread from Pearl Bakery. Continue reading Review: Pastini Pastaria

Review: Muchas Gracias Mexican Food

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Muchas Gracias Mexican Food (Lake Oswego location)
3970 Mercantile Drive #180
Lake Oswego, OR
503-675-7400
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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Wow. I really wonder why it took me so long to discover the cheesy goodness that is Muchas Gracias Mexican restaurants. There are actually more than 30 locations dotted across Oregon and Washington, but until yesterday I’d never even been to one! Actually, I don’t even think I’d even heard of the Muchas Gracias restaurants before yesterday.

You see, yesterday I pulled up to my restaurant of choice (an Italian sandwich shop) only to discover the place was closed down and about to be auctioned off next week! So, without any backup plan, I ended up at Muchas Gracias by chance. Continue reading Review: Muchas Gracias Mexican Food

Review: Bellagio’s Pizza


Bellagio’s Pizza (Goose Hollow location)
1742 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR
503-221-0110
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Rating: ★★★★½

Most of us have been there, that day when you really just struggle to get out of bed because maybe you stayed out a little too late the night before and, just maybe, had a few more cocktails than you had originally planned to imbibe.

Well, Bellagio’s is one of my favorite hangover-curing lunch spots. Not only is the pizza completely flavorful and stomach-filling, but they offer a unique variety of combination pizzas or you can create your own pie. So, even if you don’t have a hangover to cure, Bellagio’s is a great place for Portland-style pizza.  Continue reading Review: Bellagio’s Pizza