Bower's Bakery

3545 SE Hawthorne, 231-0017

Bower's Bakery & Deli on Hawthone offers, for $4.95, a fresh-sliced dry meat (meaning not slimy) stuffed sandwich dressed with cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, lettuce, tomato, and sprouts. The bread is baked in-house, and I recommend trying the dense white sunflower bread sprinkled atop with seeds. KS

Thai Binh

6700 NE Broadway, 252-7710

Of the many storefront Vietnamese pho parlors in Portland, this one is my favorite. The pho is better than most, and is distinguished from its peers by its superior, fragrant rice noodles and its accompanying plate of herbs and bean sprouts. My order of spring rolls, which at $2.50 were not only bargain-priced, but also the best I've come across. They came with an enormous platter of garden-fresh romaine lettuce (for wrapping around the spring rolls) and a mountain of some purple mystery herb that tickled my palate with the thrill of newly discovered flavors. If you're in the market for the anti-ordinary, come here, or if you're just in the mood for a damn good bowl of pho. PL


503 W Burnside, 274-4050

CaƱita, and its sister restaurant, Pambiche on NE Glisan, perfect the Cuban sandwich: peppery roast pork, ham slices, and Swiss cheese are all crammed inside a fresh Cuban roll and pressed and toasted to perfection. An entrée of chilindrön de chivo, or braised goat, was sweet and pungent--and gamey, as would be expected of a goat dish. The roasted red peppers that lined the plate had absorbed a great bit of wine, which saved them from having a store-bought consistency. The meat itself was tender, the cut of goat more like an osso buco or an oxtail. Better was the vaca frita, shredded beef and onions. I don't know how, but many of the fine shreds of meat were crunchy and charred. It was this texture and a sweet/sour, almost sauerbraten-esque flavor profile that made this dish so irresistible. Plus, they have the best mojitos in town and serve food 'til 1 am on weekdays and 2:30 am on weekends. PL