Thai Corner

601 SE Morrison, 234-4102

The Pad Thai at Thai Corner is spicy and sticky and sweet, but without lime. It's mixed with fresh broccoli and tofu of a decent consistency, and then layered with shredded carrots and bean sprouts. Completely delicious and only $5.50 (lunch price). Diversify with the Pad Kee Mao with squid for only $6.50. A medium-spicy dish with fresh tomatoes, basil, and broccoli, the meal came with a huge helping of "delicious, chewy" (comments from non-vegetarian dining partner) squid. The plate of big fat rice noodles, pan fried to perfect stickiness, was fragrant and spicy, but not unbearably, so there was a good balance of aroma and bite. Thai Corner's curries are also quite good; their red curry almost rivals Thai Orchid's for taste and texture, but with a much lighter price. JS

Bombay Palace

7901 NE Glisan, 257-3509

Bombay Palace, while neglectful of some of the more basic tenets of South Asian cuisine, does some things very well. The Vegetable Samosas, for example, are crisp and greaseless (though I would have preferred a stronger dose of curry flavoring). Too often, these fried potato and pea turnovers are squishy and dripping with oil. The Lamb Masala is cooked to perfection, the tender chunks of meat falling right off the bones. The lamb, said to be imported from New Zealand, is bathed in a highly aromatic and spicy brown gravy that is gutsy and satisfying. The dish is also available in a boneless format, but if you're willing to slave for your supper, leave the bone in--it adds a musky, marrowy element to the cooking. PL

Laurelthirst

2958 NE Glisan, 232-1504

The Laurelthirst is very dark, and when it's raining out, one feels like they're in a little, fuzzy cocoon while eating there. This has a lot to do with the dark atmosphere, but a lot more to do with the breakfast, which is excellent. Above all, the Thirst demonstrates a real understanding of simplicity in breakfast food. There are absolutely no gimmicks here, just a handful of omelet/scramble options, all of which are very calculated, elegant combinations of ingredients. My favorite is the tomato/cheddar/bacon combo, which is made with giant chunks of fresh, salty Bacon, melted cheese, and diced tomatoes. Whether you're getting the scramble or the omelet, the eggs are served in a buttery fluff, never too rock-like, and not too rubbery. Also delicious is the cream cheese/avocado/ tomato/mushroom combo, which comes with sliced avocado on top of the eggs, rather than mushed up within. KD