Katie Hinkle
When I had a rich boyfriend, we would head to Sellwood nearly every Friday night and drop $100 on a big fancy meal. Well, things changeÉ but not my undying love for Gino's Caesar salad--the best, dare I say, in Portland. Nowadays, when I get the hankering for big garlic, I think takeout. For about $50, I can order three courses (salad, entrée, dessert) and bring them home for a romantic candlelit weeknight dinner for me and my new, less monetarily endowed (but big-hearted) sweetie. Although the menu changes daily, many items remain constant. Always start with the Caesar salad--the "small," ringing in at $10.50, can feed up to four people and will leave a garlic-hot impression for at least the next six hours.

For main courses, try the delicate Salmon Dijon ($15.95), served medium rare and accompanied by savory homestyle mashed potatoes and grilled seasonal vegetables. Another favorite is the Cioppino ($15.95), a hearty "seafood stew" of various fresh seafoods swimming in a bath of saffron fish stock and spaghetti, perfect for cold winter nights. The vegetarian can delight in the spicy and robust Puttanesca ($10.95), with healthy chunks of fresh tomato and tangy bursts of caper goodness served with Penne for a big tasty treat.

While waiting at the handsome bar for your food to be packaged, check out the rotating dessert menu. The Tiramisu ($6) is the most decadent I've ever tasted, dusted with a dry semi-sweet cocoa to create a pitch perfect dessert. The portions are enormous, so you'll have plenty of food for your sexy "homemade" meal and a subsequent lunch or two. BRIAN BRAIT