7339 NE MLK, 978-9229
One of the few Southern food joints in Portland that offers all the fixins, Yam Yam's is top notch. As you might expect, the sweet, buttery yams are one of the highlights, along with the tangy, baked-in-a-pan macaroni and cheese. The collards have quite obviously been cooked all day, and have a strong pork flavor and tasty chunks of tender meat, as do the red beans and rice. The deep-fried okra is pretty good, but I wouldn't give up any of the more flavorful sides for this one. My favorite main dish is the catfish, fried in a light cornmeal breading, and served up in piles. Be warned though; Yam Yam's isn't fancy dining. You order at the counter, the Blazer's game is often on, and expect to spend about eight to 12 bucks on a meal; a little more than diner fare, also a lot more exciting. KS
Kay's Bar and Grill
6903 SE Milwaukie Avenue, 232-4447
It was a dark and stormy Sunday afternoon, and I was starved. I popped into several bar/grills; nothing but cheery, rosy-cheeked youngsters. Feh. I'm miserable. I want isolation. I want Kay's, a dark, friendly place in Westmoreland that harbors the majority of the neighborhoods remaining gruff workaday folks. Here, waitresses will mother you, and serve you huge, well-prepared grilled sandwiches and burgers. Kay's, and a pint of PBR, are the perfect match for your loneliness and misery. PL
2958 NE Glisan, 232-1504
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.
Whether you're getting the scramble or the omelet, the eggs are served in a buttery fluff, never too rock-like. For the non-egg-eater, the biscuits and gravy are a winning dish, with gravy as light and fluffy as the best hollandaise. KD