Hey, Extremo! Put your taste buds on the fast train to Adventureland with our handy-dandy roundup of the roughest, toughest, buffest dining experiences in Portland!


Breakfast at Paradox Café, 3439 SE Belmont, 232-7508

The glut of whole-grain propaganda popping up everywhere insists that things like grains and beach sand scrub out your intestines and allow you to live forever. If you think you eat a lot of fiber, though, you've never taken your system on the rough ride that constitutes breakfast at the Paradox Café. Food items like delicious corn cakes, black beans, raw broccoli oatmeal, and textured vegetable protein shakes titillate the taste buds as well as the digestive tract. There's enough fiber in one of these breakfasts to injure somebody who isn't used to eating healthy grains or vegetables—like Elvis, for example. Imagine if Elvis was brought back from the dead, and how happy everybody who loved Elvis would be, and then how sad they would be to see him hospitalized after eating a cruciferous breakfast at the Paradox Café. Nevertheless, it's extremely good for you. EJ

Avocado Smoothies, Cali Sandwiches, 6620 NE Glisan, 254-9842, also available at other Vietnamese sandwich shops

I first discovered these unusually refreshing shakes while researching French Vietnamese sandwich shops around town. While they're probably not any more adventurous than other beverages found at local Vietnamese groceries (palm heart and aloe vera drinks come to mind), the creamy taste and texture of the avocados make them an extreme eating experience that's actually pleasant. Until McDonald's and Burgerville wise up, however, you'll have to travel to the outer limits of Southeast to find one of these shakes—Cali Sandwiches is an excellent starting point that also offers quality, extraordinarily priced food. EJ


Wings 'n Hot Sauce, Fire on the Mountain, 4225 N Interstate, 280-9464

You know a restaurant is really good at what they do when they can make you love things you previously thought were nasty. Such is the case with chicken wings and Fire on the Mountain. Their little sauced chicken bites are simply delightful. Each wing order gets slathered in your choice of one of their 11 homemade sauces. I'd recommend the "Jamaican jerk" or the house "medium"—unless of course you're looking for some true extreme eating. On a recent visit, my mother dared to try the "x-hot" sauce on a celery stick and couldn't speak for the next 25 minutes. When she finally did, she coughed out, "Wow... that was hot." CC

Fish on Fire, Typhoon, 401 SW Broadway, 224-8285; 2310 NW Everett, 243-7557

Is your dating life lacking spark? Or heat? Or fire? Well spice it up with a night out at Typhoon, and make sure you order their signature dish, Fish on Fire. This sweet-and-spicy halibut dish is bathed with a healthy dose of 151, then lit on fire and delivered to your table in an inferno of flames. Out-of-towners will love it, Thai food lovers will love it, and it just might give your flailing relationship the exciting night out it's been craving. And for those of you who don't like fish, Typhoon's duck curry is equally daring (if not as theatrical), made with red grapes, pineapples, and syrupy sweet shreds of duck, all swimming in a hearty red curry. KS

Super-Spicy Thai, Lemongrass, 1705 NE Couch, 231-5780

When you see the adorable setting that is the Lemongrass restaurant, you won't believe the punishment that lurks beyond the front door. Lemongrass first deals in delicious Thai food, and second deals in tongue-scorching heat. The spice-index of most of their dishes goes from one to 20, but for newbies, requesting anything over 10 is just plain stupid (although suggesting differently is a great way to exact revenge on an unsuspecting dining partner). As far as entrée recommendations go, I enjoy the basics at Lemongrass. Their Pad Thai is delicately sweet and prepared to perfection with crisp vegetables and airy tofu, fresh seafood, or tender chicken. The curries are creamy and exhilarating, loaded with meat and veggies, and the fried tofu appetizer is great. They don't take credit cards, though (annoying), so bring cash. KS

The Wall of Flames, Salvador Molly's, 3350 SE Morrison, 234-0896; 1523 SW Sunset, 293-1790

Avast ye! Are you EXTREME enough to get your picture plastered up on Salvador Molly's Wall of Flames? All you have to do is order the Infamous Great Balls of Fire and clean your plate. This entails eating five (yes five!) habanero cheese fritters with special habanero sauce. For just $7, you can test your stomach's willpower and shoot for a slice of red-hot burning fame. If you're not up to the challenge, there's plenty of pirate cooking for the weak-gulleted landlubbers. SM's has a nice selection of unique seafood dishes, including oyster and crawfish tacos, as well as plenty of other dishes for carnivores and vegetarians. I must say the artichoke heart and cotija cheese hot tamales are damn tasty! CSB


Pig's Feet and Turkey Tails, Food 4 Less, 7979 SE Powell, 774-4665

While you won't find yourself eating a meal at Food 4 Less, you can snatch up the ingredients to make one extreme dinner at home. Ever longed to stew up the muscular stomach lining of a cow (AKA tripe)? Food 4 Less sells it by the bucket load. Crave chicken feet? They got 'em, along with pig snouts, turkey gizzards, pig ears, pig tails, gigantic beef tongues, and cured turkey tails. I personally don't know what to do with any of these crazy meat items, so I usually veer to the affordable produce (four mangos for $5), the huge Mexican and Asian dry foods sections, and the oft-on-sale beer. Then I veer next door to Gen X Clothing where you can get T-shirts for like $2 and goofy trendy shoes for $5. Truth be told, the strip mall that houses Food 4 Less is loaded with bizarre discount stores, so gizzards aside, you actually might want to check it out. KS

KFC Sushi Roll, Yuki, 1337 NE Broadway, 281-6804

An unholy marriage if I've ever heard of one. That is, until you consider the fact that eating at KFC is a popular tradition in Japan. KFC is upheld as a model example of American food abroad, so this creation has got to be one of the best, most adorably tiny and cylindrical examples of cultural hybridism on the market today. I'm not sure that makes me want to eat it, but you might consider buying one, dipping it in shellac, and adding it to your cabinet of worldly curiosities. To complete the Tokyo youth experience, these are probably best eaten dressed up as a Japanese girl dressing up as a British punk or an anime character. EJ

The Lengua of Love, El Grillo, 703 SW Ankeny, 241-0462, also available at other Mexican restaurants

When I was in the first grade, one of my classmates decided to bring in an individual cow tongue for each member of the class to celebrate his birthday, opting out of the obviously tired cliché of personal cupcakes. He couldn't understand why nobody wanted to eat his tongues, and left the classroom in tears. Well, Nathan, we're all a little bit older and wiser now, and we're willing to extend a friendly hand to the tongue-eating cultures of the world. Right everyone? One can find lengua at quite a few Mexican restaurants (along with brains and heart, which, if eaten, will make you more intelligent and more loving, respectively), one of the most accessible being the popular El Grillo on Ankeny. Why continue oppressing your overwhelming, uncontrollable, undeniable desire to eat another animal's tongue? I mean, they've already oppressed you so much, and this would just give them one more advantage over you. You have to admit you've been looking a little oppressed around the edges lately. EJ

Rigoberto's, 15855 SE McLoughlin, 659-8124

Craving a pork tongue taco at 4 am? Then take the extreme drive to Rigoberto's, a 24-hour drive-through taco shop buried deep in the outback of Southeast. Yes, they serve lengua tacos and burritos, and yes, I tried one. Their tacos are served simply; with nothing more than a little minced white onion and cilantro on top of two corn tortillas, and of course, your meat of choice. Mine tasted slightly sweet, salted, and oddly, exactly what I thought pig tongue would taste like in a taco. I was glad that I also had a huge chile relleno burrito to buffer things with the standard refried beans, cheddar, and lettuce. CC


72-Ounce Steak, Sayler's Old Country Kitchen, 10519 SE Stark, 252-4171; 4655 SW Griffith, Beaverton, 644-1492

Are you a professional eater or do you long to be a professional eater? Well, start your training regimen at Sayler's. They offer a 72-ounce top sirloin with all the fixings for $50—or, if you're pig enough, completely free; but you must finish all the meat and the accompanying sides in less than 60 minutes. Be sure to inquire about the rules ahead of time, though, because Sayler's makes it difficult to win the free meal (as if eating 72 ounces of beef in one hour isn't hard enough). For dining companions who aren't on the fast track to gastric bypass surgery, the cozy home-cookin' restaurant offers halibut, prawns, or a sensible 6-ounce filet mignon. KS


Chicken and Dumplings, Tad's Chicken and Dumplings, 1325 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale, 666-5337

When I was a kid I hated almost everything. I hated my parents. I hated spaghetti. I despised camp and I wanted to kill my brother. The two exceptions: Barbies and chicken and dumplings. It's funny, because as an adult I really don't really like chicken all that much, but as a holdout from younger days, I still love chicken and dumplings. And Lord knows, if a restaurant names itself "Tad's Chicken and Dumplings," it has to have good chicken and dumplings. The only catch? You have to drive out to Troutdale to get 'em. My suggestion is next time you make the trek to the Gap Outlet or spend an afternoon exploring the banks of the Sandy River, make your way over to Tad's for a heap of hearty homemade goodness. It's not quite gourmet, but it does provide a plentiful serving of stewy chicken, salty gravy, and doughy dumplings, plus a beautiful view of the Sandy River. KS

Buffalo, Ostrich, and Cactus, Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe, 2725 SE Ankeny, 234-7909

At Esparza's you can say "Adios!" to the boring old burrito. This quaint little cafe offers up some more "interesting" items on their menu, like the nopalitos appetizer: deep-fried cactus in a cornmeal batter. Ground ostrich is also offered in almost any form—tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, and even topped on nachos! Another dish you can't find at your neighborhood Taco Bell are the buffalo tostadas topped with jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole. Esparza's also offers up an arsenal of varieties for lovers of tongue: beef, pork, venison, calf, lamb, or buffalo (but no ostrich tongue, alas). The glory of this place is that the prices are totally reasonable. The most expensive item is $12.95, but most of the EXTREME items fall in the $9-11 range. That's a pretty sweet deal, cowboy! CSB


A Stomach in Your Stomach, Rose and Thistle, 2314 NE Broadway, 287-8582

If you're looking for a really EXTREME dish, there's always the obvious: haggis. Nothing says "this dish had to have been invented by a drunken Scotsman" like a mixture of minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with some onions, rolled oats, seasonings, and then boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal. The Rose and Thistle offers up this Scottish dish along with other Scottish delights like scotch eggs (a hard-boiled egg wrapped in meat and deep fried), ploughman's platter, and meat pies. Fish 'n chips and burgers are also served if you're a big wuss. Uh, I mean, if you're craving something a little more basic. In addition to the food, The Rose and Thistle has 10 beer taps that pour seven craft beers, two mega-lagers, and, of course, Guinness. Dartboards are also available in the backroom if you're hankering for an EXTREME sport like throwing sharp things at a target. CSB

Doughnut Debauchery, Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave, 241-4704

While the menu is constantly changing due to new concoctions being invented, you can always expect the out of the ordinary at Voodoo Doughnut. I've seen people coming out of this place holding maple bars topped with bacon, chocolate doughnuts topped with Cocoa Puffs, and apple fritters as big as my head. Voodoo even has NyQuil-glazed and Pepto-Bismol varieties. (Hmmm... I wonder why?) And be sure, at some point in your short life, to try the Cock-n-Balls, a huge dong-shaped triple-filled doughnut with your saying of choice written across it in icing. Mmmmm... doughnuts.... CSB

Household Pests, available around your home

Banana slugs, black widow spiders, and the waterfowl at Laurelhurst Park are poisonous to eat. But if you're like me, just seeing something move makes you want to put it in your mouth! Some people find this disgusting, but you have license to declare the habit a "childlike" tendency, reserved for those of us familiar with unsullied, infantile psychological worldviews. Infestations of moth larvae in your pantry only seem unfortunate if you're in an uninspired state of mind: moth larvae can be collected, scooped up in one hand, and dumped into a non-sticky frying pan with a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil for a mid-afternoon snack. The spindly, long-legged spiders that live in your bathroom can be eaten raw, and are full of protein, vitamins, and minerals (avoid the Daddy Long-Legs, however, which are full of toxins). Check the webs, too, for more succulent treats. The hordes of mucilaginous garden slugs that come out during the wet season can serve as a substitute for avocado (especially if you're making a smoothie), and desiccated flies can be ground into a spice grinder for use as a substitute for black pepper. As a side note, please don't do any of these things. EJ