Staccato Gelato

232 NE 28th, 231-7100

The gelato (milk-base) and sorbeto (no dairy) at Staccato come in familiar flavors: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla (or "crema"), and uncommon ones like zuppa inglese (adapting English triffle). The texture, though, is otherworldly. Like DQ soft serve's upper-class cousins, gelato and sorbeto have a trademark velvety character. Try a scoop of banana gelato ($2) for the finest example of this. The chocolate-hazelnut retains the semi-sweet taste of good cocoa, with an undercurrent of toasted nuts. The torrone flavor captures the essence of the chewy Italian nougat candies. For something truly different, at least to the gelato uninitiated, go for the gelato affogato (means "drowned" in Italian): a scoop of gelato (the crema flavor works best) floating in a cup of high-end Segafredo Zanetti espresso. PA

Chart House

5700 Terwilliger, 246-6963

Even though the Chart House is a national (East and West Coast) chain restaurant, they're one of the few that don't skimp on quality. The Portland location sits up on a huge bluff in Southwest that overlooks all of Portland, showcasing a view that will successfully dazzle any out of town guests (call to reserve a table near the window). Their menu includes fresh salmon, juicy steaks, and all things flesh-oriented prepared simply to highlight the flavor of the high-quality meat. Expect to spend $30 plus per person, though, so make sure when you try the Chart House, someone else is buying. Oh--unless, of course, you're rich. KS

Pho Hung

4717 SE Powell Blvd, 7330 NE Fremont

Now that the weather is cooling off, it's time to revisit your old friend Pho. And if you're going to eat a huge bowl of soup, why not have the best. Pho Hung's unstoppably delicious Vietnamese noodle soup is made by their spectacular broth. Yes, those other things--the meat, the noodles, the fresh herbs--are very important. But to this eater's tongue, no other soup can compete with Pho Hung's. There is a richness and depth of flavor to the broth that makes me go just plain whatever-the-Vietnamese-word-for-crazy-is. KG