East Bank Saloon
727 SE Grand, 231-1659
With the easy demeanor of the East Bank Saloon, you can roll in wearing a muscle-tee or a suit. You can be old or young, a sports fan or a ballerina--here, everyone is equal. Gossip with a friend at one of the heavy wooden booths in the dining room, sit at the bar, or make tavern chit-chat with someone at the long tables in the smoking section. Specialties here include the fish and chips, the juicy steak sandwich, and the two-pound bucket of clams for $9.75. KS
Country Morning Café
8202 SE Flavel, 771-0088
There are two separate menus--one for the ethnically challenged (omelets, biscuits and gravy, sandwiches) and one for the Asian folks. If you don't ask for the Chinese menu, you won't get one. Dive into a bowl of noodle soup with wontons and your choice of beef stew, roast duck, or other animal parts too gross to mention here, and the adventure begins. The stew is richly flavored with copious amounts of ginger, orange rind, and star anise, and the meat is extremely tender, if perhaps a bit fatty for American tastes. The roast duck is more succulent and ample than I've encountered anywhere else in Portland, except maybe at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Make sure you order your soup with wontons, for these shrimp and pork babies are far more intense than you'd find in your average bowl of wonton soup. You'll fall for their lardy, white-peppery goodness. PL
526 NW 23rd, 542-3400
Now that Valentine's day is over (thank God), stop at Moonstruck for a creamy drink. All the mixtures which include chocolate are smashingly luscious because they use high-quality ganache which defines the drink; the cocoa makes it almost bitter instead of too sweet with corn syrup. The fizz, for example (my personal favorite), is made with blended ice cream, chocolate, ice, and Calistoga water, and tastes like a tartly-carbonated, creamy chocolate soda.