Stumptown Lunch at Disney World?!

‘Tis the season to get the heck out of the rain and snow and cold, and get ye to warmer climes. (At least the lucky and/or smart people do that.) So it’s no big surprise that one of my friends happened upon one of the Stumptown Lunch signs at a Five Guys in Orlando. Coolest of beans!!!

[Thank you, Bernstein! Enjoy your vacation in the sun, and I’ll probably see you in freezing D.C. sometime soon.]

P.S. We’ve been on a mini hiatus due to LOTS of IRL changes going on. We’ll be back in the New Year with more reviews, videos and all-around fun Stumptown Lunch stuff!

Here’s to a splendid 2013!

CHEERS!

Video: ManHauls Meets Secret Aardvark

I became a huge fan of YouTube dudes ManHauls awhile back while researching BirchBox Men reviews. Bucky and Matt made me seriously LOL, so I subscribed to their channel. When they did a ‘lil video about their impressive hot sauce collection, I immediately noticed it was missing something important: Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce!

I knew I needed to remedy that massive missing piece in their collection (die-hard ‘Bama fans, or not), so I sent them of a bottle.

What I didn’t expect was that they’d make a sweet video about their thoughts and feelings on the sauce. Check out the video above to see how many ManHauls “beards” they awarded Secret Aardvark!

Of course, if you live in Portland and don’t already know about Secret Aardvark, you’re not just missing the boat, you’re missing the mf’ing yacht of hot sauces. It’s truly the best around…even if a bottle will set you back about $6 and it can be hard to find.

Secret Aardvark has two other saucy varieties: the Drunken Garlic Black Bean and the Drunken Jerk (not to be confused with the PDX bridge-and-tunnel crowd at Blitz or Splash Bar or The Crown Room or Barrel Room or…OK, OK, just jokin’).

Currently Secret Aardvark is available at various retail outlets in Oregon and Washington (and one random shop in NYC), but you can also order the spicy stuff online.

Also, be sure to check out ManHauls’ awesome beauty guru wives over at EleventhGorgeous!

Review: Lonesome’s Pizza (Old Town/Delivery)


Lonesome’s Pizza (Old Town/Delivery/Take-Out)
350 West Burnside (at Dante’s)
Portland, OR 97209
Map It!
Delivery Area Map
Ph: Eastside 503-234-0114/Westside 503-274-9570
Hours: Su-Wed 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Th-Sat 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Website | Menu | Twitter | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$$
Rating: ★★★★½

Whenever I’m having a particularly bad day, and I can’t even fathom the thought of eating on my nervous/upset stomach, who do I call? Well, I should probably call my therapist, but that’d be a $150 bill, so I call Lonesome’s Pizza instead.

Ok, ok…it’s not just bad days that have me ringing up Lonesome’s. They’re my go-to mini pizza party for celebrating a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon or satisfying that insatiable, emotional PMS craving or finding an unexpected $20 in the dryer or, really, any reason works for me.

You might be thinking: ‘I’ve never heard of Lonesome’s Pizza…how can it be any better than the hundreds of other ‘za joints in this town?’

How? They just are.

There is one slight issue. Lonesome’s is take-out or delivery only and the delivery area is limited, so be sure to check HERE to make sure you’re in their delivery zone. If not, you might have to start making plans to move. (I’m only in by about a block, and I’m forever grateful for that.)

Lucky for everyone who lives and/or works in the Lonesome’s delivery area, they are NOW open for lunch. This is the best news ever! [Note: In my personal opinion.]

Not only do they dish out probably the most unique pies with the craziest names around, but they also serve up art and music. Every pizza box introduces you to an artist or musician, and the large pizza boxes include a complimentary CD. Broaden your artistic horizons while you chow down—Pizza Hut and Dominos certainly don’t offer that!

OK, now on to the food. There’s a reason I would order from Lonesome’s every night if my wallet and waistline allowed it—the pizza is damn good!

Personally, I’m addicted to the John Stamos vs. the entire Comanche nation (yes, I warned you about the names)…or more simply: the #11. It’s an Alfredo base topped with mozzarella, bacon, artichokes and parsley. I typically add prosciutto as well. To. Die. For. (Or to die from. The menu states it’s “a happy heart attack.”)

Other household faves include:

#14: Lando Calrissian vs. that tank from Tiananmen Square, which is the Alfredo base topped with mozzarella, chicken and broccoli.

#5: Hasselhoff vs. Velcro headboard restraints, which is a white pie with ricotta, mozzarella, walnuts, bacon, rosemary and potato slices.

#13: Tesla the inventor vs. Dokken the band, which is a Lonesome’s original consisting of Ethiopian spiced red sauce, braised lamb and goat cheese.

[Another Note: I’m currently drooling as I write these descriptions.]

Prices for the 17” specialty pizzas are currently $19 to $24, and they are HUGE! Smaller versions of the pies (10”) are $9 each (and the perfect size for lunch). You can also custom build your own pizza, with toppings including “unicorn balls”—I’m not sure if that’s considered a meat or a veggie topping.

As if pizza weren’t enough, Lonesome’s offers up some hefty sides as well. And by hefty, I mean holy-shit huge! The “wings” are actually chicken drumsticks doused in your sauce of choice. The breadsticks are equally indulgent. You can also order salads and sandwiches.

And, because this is Portland, there are plenty of veggie, vegan and G-Free options.

Overall, I love Lonesome’s Pizza. It’s just soooooo good. If you’re lucky enough to live in the delivery area (or willing to pick up take-out), give it a try. You can thank me later.

PROS:
NOW open for lunch!!!!
Excellent pizza
Unique Portland business
Great art and music offerings with each pizza
Massive drumstick “wings”

CONS:
Limited delivery area
I’d get really fat if I ordered from them every day

Lonesome's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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: Agave Azul (Gresham)

Agave Azul
155 SE Vista Avenue
Gresham, OR 97080
Map It!
503-674-0654
Hours: Sun/Mon 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tue – Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Lunch money: $$
Rating: ★★★★½

Just off (very busy) Powell Boulevard on a quiet side street in Gresham is a little burnt orange colored house that’s been transformed into one of the best Mexican places in the Portland area. No joke. Seriously…no joke.

Arriving at Agave Azul was a little confusing…um, which one’s the right door to enter? Um, is it OK to park on that street, there’s no parking sign? Use the side door and, yes, there’s plenty of FREE parking…even on the street. (Living in Portland can make you parking sign crazy, but this is Gresham.)

But once inside we were quickly seated and handed our menus. The dining room was tiny, very clean, sparsely decorated and (surprisingly) kinda empty considering it was primetime lunchtime on a Wednesday. (Note: there is also additional seating in the adjacent bar/lounge area through the saloon-style doors.)

Starting off, they offer a unique complimentary appetizer—a soft bean taco with a side of fresh salsa hot sauce—instead of the typical jumbo-sized basket of chips and salsa. We were, again, a little confused by this at first, but then realized it actually makes some sense. How often does your entrée arrive at a Mexican restaurant and you’re already too stuffed full of chips? If you’re like us, that happens a lot!

While the complete Agave Azul menu is expansive, we were determined to stick to the lunch menu and its super cheap prices—most dishes run about $6(!)—and we were absolutely NOT disappointed. The lunch menu was quite varied with your typical Mexican fare: tacos, burritos, lots of meat and seafood options…even the pickiest eater will likely find something to happily chow down on.

We ordered the tacos de pescado (fish tacos, duh). The two tacos were piled high with grilled white fish, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime and crème fraiche. We gobbled them both up in record-setting speed! OMG GOOD! The flavors and texture were mastication perfection on a doubled-up corn tortilla!

Our lunch buddy went with a beef burrito with mole sauce—and it was massive! We’re talking seriously substantial.

The portions were on the large size, which can be expected at most Mexican joints, but it wasn’t too overwhelming. Of course, with food that delicious, neither of us had enough left over to warrant asking for doggie bags.

The service was exceptional from beginning to end—attentive, but not pushy. Our food came out super quick, but we never felt rushed. Our check for two people was less than $15! Not bad for a satisfying, belly-filling meal.

Sure, it’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s certainly unique in its shabby Mexi-chic charm and the food rivals some of the better-known Mexican restaurants in Portland. It might just be our new fave après-ski spot after a long winter day of skiing and boarding on Mt. Hood.

GO! Just go and taste for yourself! We just wish we’d been off the clock so we could try one of the margaritas!

PROS:
– Excellent food
– Lunch menu is very affordable
– Great service

CONS:
– Could use a slight ambiance upgrade
– Might be hard to find if you’re not familiar with the area
– Wish it were closer to our house!!

Agave Azul on Urbanspoon

Gallery: Bite of Oregon (Part 1)

Busy, BUSY weekend here in Stumptown. We have many more Bite photos to post, but in the meantime take a taste of the 2011 event! Cheers! P.S., The Bite runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, so you still have time to check out the delicious treats yourself.

Are you going to Bite?

Ready for The Bite of Oregon this weekend? We are!! It’s our favorite summer food weekend of the year. We love to taste-test delicious tidbits from all around our beautiful state. Great food, delightful drinks, rockin’ entertainment and a fun crowd…all that, and it benefits Special Olympics Oregon! Awesome! :)

Here are the deets:
FOOD
WINE/BEER
ENTERTAINMENT

WHEN
Friday, August 12, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 13, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

ADMISSION
$15 Weekend Pass
$10 One Day Pass
$5 Early Bird Special (Friday entry before 2 p.m.)

[NOTE: Admission does not include the price of food or beverage.]

We sadly missed the 2010 event, but check out our seriously fun photos from 2009. Gallery: Bite of Oregon 2009

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)

Five Guys love from a ShayTards video….

pocatello-fiveguys

Who knew we were up in Idaho Five Guys restaurants?? Well, I didn’t until I saw this on a rather old ShayTards video.

You can fast forward to 12:16 to see their visit to the Pocatello Five Guys!

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