Okay, so the doctor is under the impression your high cholesterol will murder you within a year. Oh yeah? Not if you murder IT first! Shorten your overrated mortality the delicious way with what is arguably Portland's best barbecue. Whether you order beef brisket, sliced pork, ribs (of both varieties), turkey, sausage, or a sampler plate including all of the above, rest assured the brick wood-burning oven of Campbell's will produce a slab o' succulent meat with just the right degree of bark (aka crispy bits). Top it with coronary-inducing sides of tater salad, coleslaw, greens, and a big ol' slab of peach cobbler or sweet potato pie, and face the pearly gates with a satisfied smile that says, "While on earth, I experienced the best." WSH
Cannon's Rib Express
5410 NE 33rd, 288-3836
Southerners must be snobs about barbecue the way New Yorkers are about pizza. That said, our little Pacific Northwest city has a surprising number of decent barbecue joints, and gets quite a turnout for the annual Bones 'n' Brew 'que fest in the summer.
Cannon's might've been under your radar before New Seasons opened next to it. But now, people shopping for organic cauliflower know there are so many ways to be bad here. You can plunk down 20 bucks for a full rack of ribs. You can sample the chopped pork sandwich for around five dollars, or get the 'Cadillac' of barbecue sandwiches,--filled with all ends, for 10 bucks. You might even fill up on sides, like mac and cheese, red beans and rice, and cornbread. Aw, who are you kiddin'. You know how you like it: a beef brisket sandwich, a side of barbecue beans, and a silky slice of sweet potato pie! PA
3119 SE 12th, 238-4411
Meat, meat, and more meat. Well, okay, there's also German potato salad, German chocolates, German beer, and a world-class cheese case, but the handmade German-style sausages are center stage. If there's any drawback, it's that the typical items are so good--the Black Forest turkey is addictive--you might never make your way through the extensive menu. The Nurenberger brat has a sweet accent of marjoram. The Cervelat is a tasty blend of pork, beef, and spices. The Westphalian ham is a labor of love, with a singular taste born of its dry-cure process.
Whether you're taking home a bag of chili cheese franks for the upcoming backyard barbecue season, or grabbing a Polish on a French roll during your lunch break, your arteries may curse you, but your taste buds won't. --PA --
Good Dog/ Bad Dog
708 SW Alder, 222-3410
There should be more places in downtown Portland like this. Places serving up belly-satisfying, handmade food. Places that stand by their product to such a length as to "buy it back" if you don't like it.
The chance that you'll be dissatisfied with their sausages is unlikely, though, unless you were expecting the Magma Dog to be a Greek salad. It's more likely that your mouth will water just reading the menu. The Bratreuben is a butterflied brat topped with grilled sauerkraut, melted Swiss, and Thousand Island dressing. The sweet Italian has a blend of herbs and spices that'll make you say molto bene. Wash it down with a beer, or get a side order of maple-bacon beans, and put it on your A-list of lunch spots. PA
Horse Brass Pub
4534 SE Belmont, 232-2202
If you want to punish your body, I have two words: Scotch egg. As if a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage wasn't enough, someone had to go one step further on a culinary dare and deep-fry the whole friggin' thing.
Though the fare at the Horse Brass is hardly health food, not all of it will take years off your life so readily. The fish and chips are near-perfect strips of deep-fried halibut, served with coleslaw and fries. The turkey (or chicken) pot pies are perfect comfort food. The veggie pastie or bridie popovers satisfy a smaller appetite. The Ploughman's lunch (cheese, apple, carrots, pickle, bread) is magic with a pint of Guinness.
For some reason, I think it's a riot that salads are actually on the menu. I guess someone, at some time, must've ordered one. PA
Jubitz Travel Center
10210 N Vancouver, 283-1111
Cradled in the loving arms of the no-man's-land near the Columbia slough, and named the "classiest truckstop in the world" by the Travel Channel, Jubitz's array of goods and services are staggering. Just trying to find the truck-stop part of this behemoth is difficult. If you look past the fancy attached "Portlander Inn" and the NASCAR and new country-heavy "Ponderosa Lounge" you will find your truckstop. It's over near the tire center. That's where I set out to find the truckstop fare I hungrily crave.
Okay, so I'm a vegetarian and now you know where this is going. I thought, "Fuck it. I'll just get some really good/gross mac n' cheese and some jojos and call it good." But as I'm looking over Jubitz's ample deli, I realize there is not one thing that doesn't contain meat. Jesus! How 'bout a little corn for color? Or even a piece of fruit for crying out loud? Don't these guys have to deal with enough traffic jams without having to worry about one happening in their own intestines? My advice to the gear-jammers: bust open some of those produce crates you're hauling up from California and get nibblin' cause all the ephedrine and Metamucil in the world can't fix what you got coilin up in that grapevine of yours. You'll thank me for it over the long haul. LC
Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage Co.
1111 SE Sandy, 230-1899
Hey fatty! Looking for one of Portland's finest artery bombs? Look no further than Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage Company, located just off the south side of the Burnside/Sandy intersection. The Chicago-style sandwiches served here are all business. With ingredients ranging from homemade roast pork and beef sausages, meatballs, and marinated top round, you'll want to order a side of Lipitor with one of these delectable badboys. You can smother your sandwich with provolone, throw on some hot peppers and dunk it in au jus, or get it pizza-style with marinara and sautéed onions. Crispy shoestring fries are a perfect greasy complement to these cantankerous colon-cloggers. For the meek, they've got baked chicken and breaded shrimp sandwiches, as well as a pizza menu. Sure, Michael's has the token veggie and kosher franks, but if you're looking to live clean, spare an animal or respect your rabbi, this isn't your kind of place. (True story: two separate Mercury staffers said they'd seen Michael make an employee cry on the job. Cry away, I say, if the divine product of your tears is a gutbomb so blessed.) SG
3907 NE Broadway, 288-5285
Poor Richard's has been trying to spruce the place up lately with new awnings and live music, but as far as I'm concerned they don't need improving. This old timey restaurant is great because of their two-fer steak deals ($19.95 for two 6 oz top sirloins, $25.95 for two 6 oz tenderloins complete with baked potatoes, salad, garlic bread, and ice cream), it's comfortable and welcoming bar, and their happy hour (Mon-Fri 3-7 pm) featuring lots of booze for a little price. Eat half of a two-fer everyday alongside a double whiskey and you'll be cruising for the cardiac ward--but once in a sweet while, this place is it. KS
1313 NW Skyline Blvd on Cornell, 292-6727
The Skyline is a step back in time. In Portland, nothing comes as close to capturing the authentic 1950s burger joint experience. Its decor is minimal, its staff friendly, and the food is a million miles from popular, national fast food chains. When their menu proclaims "tops for hamburgers," they ain't kiddin'. A bacon cheeseburger or Bar-B-Q burger won't set you back more than a few dollars, and will deepen your appreciation for the art of the burger. Skyline keeps it simple and takes it seriously.
Where you'll have to watch the calorie intake is with the shakes. Skyline offers more shake flavors then you'll ever see on a menu, everything from caramel apple to pineapple to hot fudge. They're extremely tasty, super sweet, and guaranteed to give you a week's worth of sugar shock in one Mike Tyson-caliber punch. PA