1214 NW 21st, 274-2559
Anna Bannanas' Doot-da-doo is hands-down my favorite coffee drink in town. Sure, to the overly self-concious consumer, these three syllables might be hard to say, but trust me, it's worth it. This perfect melding of Chai tea, espresso shots (one or two), and milk is perfect served hot and tastes awesome cold, while still delivering the maximum amount of caffeine to your system. It's what Dale Cooper calls a "gift to yourself." KS
Bella Faccia Pizzeria
2934 NE Alberta, 282-0600
Specializing in 18'' pies, slices, and beer, Bella Faccia smartly gets back to the basics. Focusing specifically on the pizza's three main components (crust, sauce, cheese), this pizzeria attempts to bring out the best of each ingredient. After eating there multiple times, I've found the crust to be remarkably consistent in both crispness and flavor. Roughly thin as a quarter, it easily has the strength to keep its ingredients on the pie and out of your lap. The sauce is remarkably savory, with just a whisper of sweetness. The cheese is 100% whole milk mozzarella that is added with admirable restraint, instead of being a poorly rendered disguise.
Bella Faccia then takes it a step further with absolutely fresh vegetables and smoky meats. Get whatever you want on your pie it's gonna be good. Plus, try their back patio. WSH
2924 E Burnside, 236-1790
In the upstairs living/dining room of an old Victorian, the India Grill has small tables in a big, all-windows sunroom. Even though the food is not as super-spicy as I'd like, it's good regardless. Most of the dishes are up to the minimal standards for Americanized, greasy Indian-food goodness with a balanced seasoning of dry Garam Masala, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. The distinctions end there, as the dishes tend to blend together into a sweetly rich taste that is cut beautifully by plates full of delicately steamed, sticky rice. Since everything is good and greasy, I generally like to stick with the classics like the Matar Paneer--cubes of dense cheese and peas, cooked slowly in a yogurt gravy with ground spinach. I also highly recommend the Murgh Pakora: marinated chunks of chicken breast fried to a spicy, delicate crisp. KD