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.)

Special Review: Boke Bird Dinner @ Boke Bowl


Boke Bird Dinner @ Boke Bowl
1028 SE Water Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
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Hours: Thursday nights **ONLY** from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
No reservations! Walk-in only.
Menu | Twitter
Rating: ★★★★☆

Dear Lunch Lady,

You do know the name of this website is Stumptown Lunch, right? Why the heck are you reviewing a dinner spot?

Love,
Your devoted readers
xoxoxoxoxo

OK, I know, I know…technically this is a dinner review, but it’s a very unique dinner review. While Boke Bowl is open Monday through Saturday for their very delicious ramen bowl lunches, they also open up their dining room every Thursday night for a very special eating event: the Boke Bird Dinner.

When I received an email announcing the debut of Boke Bird Dinners in late December I was so excited to try it that I pushed my birthday dinner back one day so that I could do it there.

The idea behind Boke Bird Dinner is very straightforward. Korean fried chicken and an array of sides served family style.

Like Boke Bowl at lunch, there is a somewhat limited menu, but there are options for both meat-eaters and veggies alike.

Unlike Boke Bowl at lunch, you are seated before you place your order, which gives this casual lunch spot a bit more of a formal feel. Despite that, the place will still be rather loud, very busy and your neighboring diners will likely be elbow-bumping distance away.

The chicken (or fried tofu for you veggies) is what you’re here for. You can order a half bird ($25/serves 2-3 ppl) or a whole bird ($50/serves 4-5 ppl) depending on how many people are eating. Along with the chicken come the standard sides: kimchi, assorted pickled vegetables, roasted seaweed, ginger/green onion steamed rice, steamed buns and the special orange dot sauce (ODS) for the chicken.

Still hungry? There are a variety of additional sides and desserts to order as well, including sautéed mushrooms, noodles, greens, salad, fried pears, Boke twinkies, fried pies and soft serve ice cream.

One thing I particularly liked about dinner was the pace. It wasn’t rushed and food came out in courses before the big plate of bird arrived at the table. At times it was a little frustrating to manage all the plates on our small table, but that’s a small price to pay for such high-quality, delicious food.

All in all, our dinner lasted about 90 minutes. This is not fast food by any means.

The service was good and prompt, although they do seem to get VERY busy and one of our courses almost ended up on a neighboring table.

Here’s the one thing I DO NOT LIKE: You can no longer make reservations for dinner. Initially they went with a reservation only system, then they quickly changed it to both reservations and walk-in, but as of last week it’s first-come/first-serve ONLY.

I’m sure the owners have their own reasons for this, but I’m a bit bummed. You see, there is almost always a line at Boke Bowl and not a lot of places to wait around for a table…and not a whole lot of places nearby to bide your time if you’re waiting. Even with our reservation for dinner, we waited about 10 minutes for our table. Others, without reservations that night, seemed to have to linger in the small waiting area for quite some time.

Overall, Boke Bird Dinner, like Boke Bowl itself, is quite a treat. The most important thing is to know and expect is that there will be lines and dinner will linger longer than most places. But, if you can muster up the patience, you won’t regret it!

PROS:
– Melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Delish!
– High-quality, fresh food served at a reasonable pace
– Fun family style meal
– Very reasonably priced

CONS:
– No longer taking reservations
– You’ll most likely have to wait in line ☹
– The tables are rather small for all the plates of food

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)

Gallery: Kenny and Zuke’s Pickle Throwdown

We’d been excited about Kenny and Zuke’s 1st Annual Pickle Throwdown for months, so when we woke up Saturday morning we were totally ready for some pickle tasting madness…and we weren’t disappointed. Although the venue was a bit on the small side for the large crowd that showed up (it was held at Kenny and Zuke’s off-shoot SandwichWorks on NW Thurman), the event was a super fun success! We already can’t wait for next year!!

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: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burger and Fries
2606 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard
Beaverton, OR 97005
503-430-8748
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Rating: ★★★★½

 

Having lived in Washington, DC, for several years, I was already familiar with Five Guys and their delicious burgers and yummy fries. But when a friend mentioned the opening of Five Guys in Beaverton, I thought I heard her wrong. A Five Guys in Beaverton? How could that be? When I moved back to Oregon several years ago, I thought I would never experience a delicious Five Guys lunch again.

Sure enough, it was my beloved Five Guys! (They have been franchising the stores for a number of years now and there are more than 1000 stores across the U.S.) So we hopped in the car and headed to the brand new suburban strip mall location.

The line was pretty long and the wait for our order was about 10 minutes, but once we had our scrumptious burgers and a regular-sized order of Cajun fries we were in hamburger heaven. Continue reading Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

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: 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: Kenny & Zuke’s

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Kenny & Zuke’s
1038 SW Stark Street
Portland, OR 97205
503-222-3344
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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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A lot of people have been raving about Kenny & Zuke’s. So much so that I was extremely excited to try Portland’s new “authentic” New York-style delicatessen. On a recent sunny day my lunch companion and I decided to stroll over and check it out

Kenny & Zuke’s is located in the same building that houses the all-too-hip Ace Hotel, so that might have been the first sign of what I was about to experience. The restaurant itself is bright, clean and airy. The entire waitstaff is decked out in t-shirts with deli-related humorous sayings. There seemed to be a very large staff on duty, but it took forever to be seated, have our order taken and then actually get our food!

I’m not saying Kenny & Zuke’s was bad. I’m saying that Kenny & Zuke’s is expensive and overrated. By comparison, one of my favorite really-in-New-York-City delis, Ess-a-Bagel, has a very similar menu, but everything is about half the price! And they are in New York City! Something is very wrong about that! Continue reading Review: Kenny & Zuke’s