Review: Kornblatt’s Deli (NW Portland)

Kornblatt’s Deli
628 NW 23rd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97210
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503-242-1027 | Fax: 503-242-1027
Hours: M-F: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat & Sun: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lunch money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★★★½

Oh, the New York City-style deli dilemma…. It’s seems to be a rather important argument here in Portland. Yep, we’ve got Kenny & Zuke’s and their offshoot SandwichWorks, we sorta still have Rose’s…then…ummmmm?

So while we were walking around doing some sunny afternoon shopping on NW 23rd we happened upon Kornblatt’s Deli and promptly decided to give it a try. Having firsthand knowledge of the delicious true NYC deli experience and having visited Kenny & Zuke’s on a number of occasions, with only so-so results, we weren’t going to hold our breathe about Kornblatt’s. It could easily be hit or miss.

The first thing we noticed at Kornblatt’s was the massive number of menu offering on the equally massive-sized menu. Not just your usual corned beef, pastrami and bagels with cream cheese and lox, Kornblatt’s offers a wide arrange of breakfast, lunch and dinner options—and the full menu is available all day! Score one for Kornblatt’s!

Our lunchtime pal warned us that the popular Empire State Sandwiches were “bigger than your mouth can handle” (and the menu warns “no wimpy appetites allowed”), so we decided to try something a tad lighter.

Since the bagel options take up an entire page of the menu, we decided that would be the more reasonable route we’d go for. We decided on the Salami Tires (salami, deli mustard and provolone) on a garlic bagel. This is one of Kornblatt’s Hot Top bagel sandwiches, served open-faced and with the melt-y cheese broiled to perfection. It turned out to be the perfect sandwich size for lunch. The bagel was garlicky and chewy, the salami was tangy, the provolone was smoky and the deli mustard was spicy and seedy. The side dish we opted for, the coleslaw, was fresh and crunchy, but a little on the mild, watery side.

Verdict: delish! Continue reading Review: Kornblatt’s Deli (NW Portland)

HH Review: Emanon Cafe

Emanon Cafe
1000 NW 17th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Map It!
503-222-6435
Business Hours: M-Sat 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Happy Hour: M-F 3 to 6:30 p.m., Sat 3 p.m. to close
Website | Twitter: @emanoncafe | Facebook Page
Menu | Lunch Money: $$ to $$$
Rating: ★★★½☆

When we tell friends we’re headed to Emanon we often get a confused look, followed by “Where’s Emanon?” or “What’s Emanon?” And, honestly, we kind of like it that way. You see, Emanon is a cozy neighborhood café/bar tucked away on a quiet block on the outskirts of the Pearl District.

But unlike uber-trendy, sometimes-pretentious Pearl restaurants and bars, Emanon is casual and low-key. It’s the perfect place to sit outside on a sunny afternoon and partake in some happy hour-ing. A nice chilled beer or cocktail and a bite from the delightful $4 food menu (currently featuring a dozen options) can take the edge off even the toughest, roughest day.

The $4 dishes are as simple as fries or onion rings and get more substantial with nachos, sliders or crab cakes. During happy hour micro brews are $4.50, well drinks are $3.50, a glass of red or white wine is $4 and a specialty martini is $5.

We’d just finished up a grueling day of shopping at IKEA (on a Saturday, no less), so we were ready to take a seat, soak up some sun and get our grub on! We met up with friends and grabbed a sidewalk table. Our friendly lady server arrived quickly to take our drink order and returned with our adult beverages zippy-fast!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, it was like our own little piece of paradise! Well…as close to it as you can get in an urban NW Portland setting.

After a refreshing round of drinks we were definitely ready for some food. A certain friend (we won’t name the guilty party here) said he wasn’t all that hungry. Of course, as soon as our ultra-cheesy artichoke spinach dip and grilled shrimp dish arrived he suddenly found his appetite again. Continue reading HH Review: Emanon Cafe

Review: No Fish! Go Fish!

No Fish! Go Fish!
3962 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, Oregon 97214
503-235-5378
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Rating: ★★★★☆

I woke up today feeling a little under the weather, but I managed to make it to my lunch appointment with friends at No Fish! Go Fish! Lucky for me the restaurant specializes in comfort food like soup and stuffed sandwiches—and no, despite the name, it’s not a fish place.

The soup menu actually changes daily. Today’s selections were cream of basil, potato with roasted peppers, lentil and black bean minestrone. If you are headed to the restaurant or the food cart location (located at 5th and Yamhill downtown) you can check out their daily menu at their Web site.

If soup isn’t what you’re in the mood for, their cute fish-shaped stuffed sandwiches should satisfy whatever you are craving. From turkey and cheese to the more creative refried bean with pico de gallo, the fish-shaped sandwiches kind of reminded me of healthy and hearty homegrown Hot Pockets. The sandwiches also come in desert versions, like chocolate with banana and apple cinnamon. Continue reading Review: No Fish! Go Fish!

Review: La Vang Restaurant

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La Vang Restaurant
17790 SW Pilkington Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
503-697-6253
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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It might be tucked away on a quiet Lake Oswego side street, but if you are craving good Vietnamese food then La Vang Restaurant is definitely worth the trip. And don’t let the strip mall location fool you; the food is darn delicious!

The menu offers something for everyone, from pho to vermicelli noodle dishes to rice dishes to stir fried dishes. They also offer a good number of appetizers to start off your meals.

Typically, I start off with an order of the massive salad rolls served with homemade peanut sauce. The salad rolls are a perfect combination of soft vermicelli noodles, crisp mint and cilantro, and tasty shrimp and minced pork—all wrapped up in rice paper. One of my favorite things about La Vang has to be the peanut sauce, it is practically peanut butter and I could easily eat it all day long! Continue reading Review: La Vang Restaurant

HH Review: Tiger Bar

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

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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: Pine State Biscuits

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Pine State Biscuits
3640 SE Belmont Street
Portland, Oregon 97214
(503) 236-3346
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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Who doesn’t love warm flaky biscuits? I certainly do, and one of my favorite meals of all time is biscuits and gravy. So when I heard about Pine State Biscuits, I knew I had to try it out.

When we arrived there was a line stretching all the way out the front door. It was a very warm sunny day, so the short wait to order wasn’t a problem. The restaurant is teeny-tiny, so most people were ordering to go. But we were brave and opted to eat there, hoping a table would free up before we got our food. Luckily we were able to snag the only four-person table there-be warned that there are only three tables and a small counter with stools. Take-out is going to be your best bet if you go during peak eating hours.

I was tempted by everything on their small menu, but opted for the McIsley ($6), a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, pickles, mustard and honey. I was completely satisfied with my choice. The chicken was moist and the combination was delicious. My only complaint (and one of my lunch companions agreed) was that the biscuits were a little on the dry side. Continue reading Review: Pine State Biscuits

Review: Virginia Café

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Virginia Café
NEW ADDRESS: 820 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR
503-227-0033
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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[Editor’s Note: It’s official, the Virginia Cafe has moved to 820 SW 10th Avenue, just across from the library. We are planning to check out the new digs and let you know what we think very soon!]

Over the weekend I had probably my last lunch at the Virginia Café at its current location on SW Park Avenue. You see, just over a year ago the landmark restaurant and bar announced they would have to close down or move because the building within which they are housed is going to be torn down to become yet another shiny retail/condo high-rise. Luckily, the owners have found a new location for VC, but now it’s time to say goodbye to the old dwelling.

Sure, the place itself is nothing fancy; the décor is kitschy, the upstairs bathroom is pretty scary and nonsmokers curse the free-for-all smoking policy (that will change in the new location as they will be going non-smoking).

But there is something undeniably charming, cozy and Old Portland about the location they are vacating. Where else hipsters mix with preppy downtown workers mix with 50-somethings without batting an eye? If Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland’s “living room” then VC is Portland’s den with a wet bar. Continue reading Review: Virginia Café

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)

HH Review: The Sapphire Hotel

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Sapphire Hotel
5008 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, OR
503-232-6333
**Opens at 4 p.m.
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Rating: ★★★★★

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Dark, candlelit and romantic, Sapphire Hotel is both a terrific place for a date or gathering with friends for happy hour. It’s an especially nice place to duck into on one of those long, rainy Stumptown winter afternoons, when you have some free time and you’re looking for a hearty snack and a good drink.

Tucked away on the east end of SE Hawthorne, Sapphire isn’t open for lunch (they SO should be!), but the happy hour is worth taking a late lunch and calling it an early workday. Happy hour runs everyday of the week from 4 to 6 p.m., and then picks up again from 10 p.m. to midnight (Sunday thru Thursday). Continue reading HH Review: The Sapphire Hotel

Review: Giant Drive-In

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Giant Drive-In
15840 Boones Ferry Road
Lake Oswego, OR
503-636-0255
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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Burger lovers rejoice!

Giant Drive-In has been a Lake Oswego staple for decades, and it’s easy to see why this little burger joint has been able to last so long: They’ve got great burgers. Sure, you can go in for just a standard burger with the typical fixings, but the real find at Giant is their claim to fame, their specialty burgers.

Best known for The Filler (which the owner jokingly referred to as the “college student special”), it comes packed with the works, but other mouth-watering options include Blue Cheese, Teriyaki, Hawaiian, Jalapeno, Ranch burgers and many more. If you are a first-time Giant visitor don’t fret over all the options, just look for the specialty burger descriptions listed above the cash register. Each burger is served on a delicious toasted bun and with fresh toppings. Continue reading Review: Giant Drive-In