Half & Half

923 SW Oak

The fare at Half & Half is mostly sandwiches, with bread from Grand Central Bakery, and includes changing specials. A few include the Muffuletta--traditional New Orleans fare--the tantalizing Reuben, and the "I hate this family!" turkey sandwich.

What's more, a vegan sandwich is always featured, along with a delicious homemade soups and salad: the quinoa salad with roasted peppers and corn will make you moist! If you're looking for comfort food, try the peanut butter and jelly (or Nutella, banana, honey, or marshmallow fluff), the grilled cheese, or tuna melt. Finish it off with an equally comforting cappuccino made from locally roasted Stumptown coffee. The owner also makes all of her chocolate from scratch, so if you order a white mocha, you can bet your sweet ass it's going to rock. RP

Justa Pasta

1336 NW 19th, 229-0646

If you haven't tried Justa Pasta yet, go get in the car. With homemade pasta, flavorful salads (try the spinach with pine nuts and feta), and a cute unnassuming atmosphere, this is a great, quick place for lunch or dinner.

The Butternut Squash/Hazelnut ravioli with Alfredo is a dish with perfectly balanced flavors that isn't too heavy on the nut or cream. The Roasted Chicken Lasagna may be loaded with pepperjack and Alfredo, but it's surprisingly light for such a heart attack special. The garlicy, chunky marinara sauce is a far cry from the Old Spaghetti Factory's runny mess, and atop the expertly cooked Spinach Linguine--Mama Mia, get me to the table!! So, go on! Don't be put off by the dumb name, 'cause Justa Pasta is justa right. WSH

Hoda's Middle-Eastern Cuisine

3401 SE Belmont, 236-8325

Hoda's great triumphs come from the oven. Baba gannoujh is smoky decadence for only $3.50 with all the fresh pita bread you care for. Oh, and the bread. Baked within seconds of being consumed, it is light enough to float off the plate, subtly tangy with natural leavening, and an integral part of the meal. Spinach pies and Middle Eastern pizzas are all spawned by the hands of someone who understands baking.

Without an obscene amount of garlic, Hoda's hummus leaves you able to identify the flavor of chick peas, which sink into the rich tahini. Hoda's hummus as a metaphor for the restaurant itself; virtue is found in simplicity. RR