Standard Dairy, 2808 NE MLK
The Eliot E-mat Cafe, of all places, serves toothy, flavor-bomb sandwiches that are 9 inches long and nearly 6 inches tall. The Spicy Eliot combines ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, parmesan, tomato, onion, lettuce, herbs, a tart Italian dressing, and a massive roll, and creates a unique singular taste to satisfy the most voracious cravings. Likewise, their specialty hot sandwiches, like The Eliot Torpedo (Italian beef with cooked bell pepper & onion, melted aromatic mozzarella and pepperoni, served with au jus), blow the average subs away.
For the meat phobic, the cafe offers a small selection. The items aren't vegan by any measure, but reaffirm Eliot's trademark, hunger spankin,' bulk-producing, old-world flavors. The breakneck Pesto Veggie zaps and satisfies tongue buds with a rich pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, and feta.
You will eat, praise the Deli-Gods, and rediscover your inner omnivore. JD
1011 NW 16th, 226-1258
Le Happy's mastered the crêpe. All of their crêpes are balanced and delicious, but the real value of the place is their ability to create distinct personalities in each crêpe. When we ate there on a recent Saturday evening, we ordered two different crêpes--the Ma Proveence, a piling of tender chicken, thyme, and fresh tomatoes, and the Demi-Vegan Tofu, a light Chinese dinner ladled with spicy peanut sauce and cucumbers.
From the Le Trash Blanc sprinkled with bacon bits and cheddar cheese (and a PBR for another 50 cents) to the Faux Vegan smothered with goat cheese and spinach, seemingly the only common denominator is the buckwheat crêpe itself--the foundation for each meal. It is the dessert crêpes that most likely will grab a reputation for Le Happy. Made from white flour and vanilla beans (and, averaging $5, almost as expensive as the dinner plates) their sweet crêpes fold in about everything under the sun--poached pears, orange marmalade and Nutella. PB
3545 SE Hawthorne, 231-0017
At Bower's Bakery & Deli on Hawthone, for $4.95, you'll get a fresh-sliced dry meat--not water-logged like a filet of lox--stuffed sandwich dressed with cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish (a bit too flavorful for some), lettuce, tomato, and sprouts. You may have to do a few extra crunches with your personal trainer, but believe me, they are well worth it. The bread is baked in-house by the personnel, and I recommend trying the dense white sunflower bread sprinkled atop with seeds.
Accompanying your fine sandy, you'll receive a small cup of prepared salad and a cookie. The German potato salad resembles a pile of the mashed variety and is laced with a strong dose of vinegar. The traditional potato is flavorful in the traditional sense, but not weighed down by one half-gallon of blubbery mayonnaise.
For a mid-morning pick me up, try one of their baked delicacies, of which there are dozens. The caramel frosted cinnamon roll is decadent, and while the frosting looks overwhelming, it's not oversweet and may cause feverish finger-dipping. KS