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: Lovejoy Bakers (Pearl District)


Lovejoy Bakers
939 NW 10th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
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Ph: 503-208-3113
Hours: 6 a.m to 8 p.m daily
Website | Menu | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★½☆☆

First of all, let me be perfectly clear about something. I suffer from standing-in-line-might-cause-me-to-die syndrome. (It’s a real thing, I think. Maybe.) So, I dare you to try to find a time during the day when there ISN’T a long-ass line at Lovejoy Bakers. I do like this place for the convenience, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to wait and wait and wait for my death…oops, I mean a sandwich.

OK, I know that’s not exactly fair, but are you freakin’ kidding me about the lines at this place?! On a good day the line is 10-people deep during non-peak hours, but at a busy time it’s pointless to wait. For as much as they charge for a sandwich here, you’d think there’d be a better, faster, more efficient system.

Beyond the line problem, there’s also the seating problem. Once you’re through the line there is (surprisingly) fairly limited seating…and a lot of it is communal, which is—at least I find personally—annoying. On nice days there’s outside seating, but this is Portland! It rains…a lot. Like 20 months of the year.

OK, for the good stuff. The sandwiches are good. I also think the bread at Lovejoy Bakers is excellent. (I’ve dropped by to pick up a baguette in the late afternoon for dinner a few times.)

I prefer to order the smaller Bistro sandwiches (currently $4 to $7.50). Why? The regular sized sandwiches are kinda expensive (currently $6.25 to $9.50) and come with a side of probably the most tasteless and watery coleslaw I’ve ever tried.

Sadly, coleslaw is the ONE AND ONLY free side option with a full-size sandwich. The other option, a side of chips, will cost $1 extra. I think that’s pretty lame. There’s a Subway across the street where you can get a foot-long sub, chips AND a soda for far less than a sandwich at Lovejoy Bakers…and with less attitude.

Oh, did I mention the attitude? Yes, there is a weird vibe at Lovejoy Bakers. Snobby for sure. You can’t just order a fountain soda (i.e., Coke, Sprite, etc.) you have to order a bottle of fancy-schmancy all-natural soda. I know it’s the Pearl District, but c’mon, not everyone who lives or works in the area wants to shell out extra dollars for a soda! (Note: the self-serve water is free.)

This MIGHT be OK if there didn’t seem to be some confusion behind the counter at times—or almost every time I’ve been there. I’d chalk it up to the long lines, and the frustration/confusion that all those hungry customers might cause, but then I saw people behind the counter standing around chit-chatting on a super busy day—ignoring me trying to inform them the self-dispense drip coffee was out and getting no response. Or that cold winter day they didn’t make my peppermint café mocha at all and had to ask after a looong wait! Not cool.

It’s sort of hard to believe Lovejoy Bakers is partially owned by the same people who founded Pizzacato in Portland, which I really love.

Overall, the sandwiches are tasty, but there are a lot of other issues to contend with before you sit down with your Lovejoy Bakers lunch. If you like long lines, annoying hipster attitudes and bussing your own tables, you might like Lovejoy Bakers. But I think I’ll skip it from now on.

PROS:
– Tasty sandwiches
– Fresh bread, which you can order to take home
– Breakfast sandwiches served all day
– They offer smaller, cheaper “Bistro” sandwiches

CONS:
– THE LINES!
– Can be hard to find seating
– Expensive for a sandwich
– The service is often below average, and you have to bus your own table
– Coleslaw is the only free side option—and it’s mediocre at best

Review: Beard Papa’s (Beaverton)

Beard Papa’s
10500 NW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
(Inside Uwajimaya Food Market)
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Map It!
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

Beard Papa's on Urbanspoon

Review (L.A. Edition): Papaya King


Papaya King ~ Hollywood
1645 N. Wilcox Avenue
Hollywood, California 90028
323-871-8799
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily
Website
Map It!
Twitter: @papayakingla

We waited and waited and waited for the infamous Papaya King to arrive in our former Hollywood neighborhood for sooooo long. So when we learned (via Twitter) that the only location outside of New York City was officially open, we were totally ready to dive into hot dog and tropical drink paradise.

Nervous about grand opening week crowds, we cruised by the prime location (just south of Hollywood Boulevard on Wilcox Avenue) on a sunny afternoon and were surprised that the line was actually reasonable. We found a parking space,* hopped out of the car and quickly took our place in the nine-people deep queue.

First off, the place is teeny, tiny at just 400 square feet, so expect to feel a little cramped at best and a lot claustrophobic at worst. Also, there is NO seating inside the shop, so be prepared to get everything to go. There are benches around the neighborhood to sit and eat, or do as New Yorkers do and just eat on the go.

As we approached the front of the line it was time to make some decisions. What kind of dog were we going to try? We were tempted to try one of the six classic combos (which include a tropical drink and curly fries), but then decided to go our own route with a specialty dog, the C&C (that’s chili and cheese frank for you n00bs), a classic frankfurter with “Kraut” and, of course, a cup of the infamous papaya tropical drink.

All of that was just $7.00—a great deal for a quick meal in the heart of Hollywood. Continue reading Review (L.A. Edition): Papaya King

Review: Thai Food Café

Thai Food Café
833 N. Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR 97217
503-285-8745
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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

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

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: 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: Mercato

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Mercato
904 NW Couch Street
Portland, OR
503-219-9966
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Rating: ★★★★½

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UPDATE: Mercato is now closed.

Wow, I think the Lunch Lady has a new favorite lunch spot in the Pearl. From the big screen TVs behind the counter (when we were there three were displaying the menu and the other was tuned to CNN) to the incredibly friendly waitstaff to the bright and open dining area to the display cases of yummy gelato, paninis, desserts and bottled drink offerings, Mercato is certainly off to a good (and tasty) start! Mercato opened just over a week ago, but they should definitely be on your lunch list.

If there is anything on the downside, it’s the prices. Though the prices are comparable to other Pearl lunch establishments, it’s still on the high side of the StumptownLunch budget. Salads start at $7, paninis go for $9 (including a small mixed greens salad), pizzas start at $10 (these are big, but not really big enough to share if that’s all you’re ordering) and pasta dishes start at $11.  They also offer a wide array of beverages, including espresso, beer and wine. Continue reading Review: Mercato

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: 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

Review: E-San Thai Cuisine

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E-San Thai Cuisine
133 SW Second Avenue
Portland, OR
503-223-4090
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Rating: ★★★★½

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As Rachael Ray would say, Yum-o! When I stopped by E-San Thai Cuisine I was starving, so I probably would have devoured anything they put in front of me. However, the food was outstanding–so I pretty much ate until my stomach could not hold another bean sprout!

First of all, I was pretty overwhelmed by the menu. They offer more than 70 dishes! Wow! But don’t be scared off by all the options, each dish is carefully detailed for those who aren’t completely familiar with all the Thai delicacies they offer.

My lunch companion and I started with the appetizer combination plate, which for $8 is a pretty good deal if you are sharing a meal. It includes three dipping sauces (peanut sauce, cucumber sauce and sweet and sour sauce) for the deep-fried egg rolls, the fried tofu, satay (choice of chicken, beef or pork) and the fried wontons. Continue reading Review: E-San Thai Cuisine