Canon's Rib Express
5410 NE 33rd, 288-3836
If you shop at New Seasons, try the laid back rib joint across the street. Their "chop pork" sandwich ($3.50) is a good scoop of chopped, barbecued pork coated in their tangy sauce. It sits on a roll... basically, a sponge for the sauce. The covered patio offers plenty of outside seating, and the 'cue smell is free.
3119 SE 12th, 238-4411
This German deli a block from the Aladdin has nearly unmatched lunch deals, including $3.75 for a sandwich (like Black Forest turkey and cheese), and $3.90 for their lunch special: sausage, deli salad, and a roll. A smoked brat or dinner frank (with that natural casing "snap") on a French roll with cheese is a steal at $3.30. Assortment of mustards on the tables. Beat that. I dare ya.
Hoda's Middle Eastern Cuisine
3401 SE Belmont, 236-8325
The sandwiches at Hoda's are a true find, and just enough to fill you. Try the Chicken Mousahab sandwich, with strips of grilled chicken covered in garlicky sauce ($3.95). It's the same price for the Kafta Kabob, or Chicken Shawarma. The Super Falafel is a mere $3.75, and the waitress will deliver some complimentary hot pita to your table, as well. The lunch crowd is light, so you can chow down in a flash.
413 NW 21st, 221-3045
Don't forget about tiny Mr. Moto, an unassuming pit stop for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The chicken or tofu Teriyaki Delight, pot sticker bowl (yummy chicken dumplings on rice), and the meatless rice & veggies combo are each only $4. They make their own awesome teriyaki sauce, too, and no MSG, bee-yotch!
Good Dog/Bad Dog
708 SW Alder, 222-3410
The sausage is king at this off-Broadway spot, but if you must stay under the $4 ceiling, a large chili, at $3, won't break the bank. Top with shredded cheddar for 50 cents, and you're still sittin' pretty. If you have a fiver that's burning a hole in your pocket, all sausages (garlic, hot, polish) are within reach. If not, the all-beef dog is three bucks.
10506 SE 42nd, Milwaukie, 786-9370
This no-frills cathedral of Mexican food won't wow you with ambience (it makes In 'n' Out Burger look like TGI Friday's), but the food is reason enough to go to Milwaukie. The carne asada taco ($1.45) is tender, and topped with salsa and guacamole. The bean, rice, and cheese burrito ($2.60) bangs for your buck, size-wise. Is it tasty? Darn tootin'. Er, no pun intended.
1001 SW Broadway, 790-7752
If your overpaid boss asks you to take a late lunch, smile and whisper "Sure, jackass." Then, head over to the Heathman (between 4-6 pm) and treat yourself to the bistro menu. It's a great way to sample their creations at half the usual price. Recommended is the Croquant Normand, a crispy crepe with Camembert, bacon, and arugula ($3.95). The Bistro Burger ($3.95), and Manila clams & chorizo ($3.25) also rock.
Tao of Tea
3430 SE Belmont, 736-0119
This calming SE Belmont teahouse has amazing entrées, like miso flat bread, so go back when you have extra dough. In the meantime, a cup of their dahl (AKA lentil soup) and a cup of rice are only $4 total, or get a bowl of dahl for $4. The inspired Green Tea Tofu Supreme ($4) is slices of tofu covered with green tea powder (macha), lime juice, and cayenne. It's as good as it sounds, but more of a snack than lunch.