Critic's note: This occasional entry is about stuff that I eat or drink that you should eat or drink, too. It may be about items that are locally made, or they may not be, but you'll be able to find them in town. And you should.
PITY ME: My day job is in the Lloyd District, the wonderland of Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, and mall food. All the better reason to pack a lunch. Yet there's one sure bet to draw me out of my cube and out to the E-San Thai truck parked in the Oregon Square between NE 7th and 8th off Holladay: nam kao ($9). E-San kills this traditional dish of crispy fried rice balls, which are cracked open and served over a bed of lettuce. With chicken, fresh Thai chile, mint leaves, lime juice, and peanuts, it's a spicy and umami-packed lunch treat big enough for two meals. People don't order it often, which is a damn shame: Because of my unique obsession, the cart guy knows my name and order, and I go only once or twice a month.
Things are starting to change for the better for eaters in the Lloyd, with a few key openings recently—but I know this standby will always be there for me.
E-San: Cart located in Lloyd's Oregon Square weekdays from 11 am to 5 pm. Restaurant at 133 SW 2nd open for lunch and dinner daily.