Taste Tickler

1704 NE 14th, 282-3681

Taste Tickler's sign claims it has the best sandwich in Portland, since 1971. Because I'm constantly bemoaning Portland's selection of sandwiches--especially sub sandwiches--I decided to take the challenge, and amazingly, I agree. The bread at Taste Tickler is fresh and chewy, the toppings are plentiful, and the nice couple constructing your sub will practically beg you to come back. Try the overflowing meatball sub if you're really hungry, or if you're eating lighter, the veggie, made with American cheese. Half a sub is huge, a whole is enormous. Of course, Taste Tickler doesn't make a hoagie anything like they do in Philadelphia--the home of the best sandwich in the world--but this is Portland, so we'll have to settle. KS

Stepping Stone Café

2390 NW Quimby, 222-1132

This neighborhood café serves great big omelets, my favorite being the Cat, loaded with cottage cheese, tomatoes, and avocado, and accompanied by a pile of thin sliced fried potatoes. The burgers are also delicious, and the grilled open-face vegetarian sandwich is a tasty smattering of mixed vegetables and cheese. Sandwiches, refreshingly, come with a choice of soup, salad, or potatoes. Get there early, though, they're only open 'til 2 pm. KS

El Machis

NE MLK & Shaver

Every single person who lives in Portland thinks they know the best place to get a burrito--the little tucked-away taqueria that no one else knows about. And most of them are JUST OKAY. But listen! What makes El Machis' burritos more than JUST OKAY: remarkably cheap! Extraordinarily huge! Feta cheese! Trace of lime! And a gaggle of Mexican children who play in the corner and greet you in Spanish with big grins. But seriously, I had this vegetarian burrito that was so huge I could only eat half. And unlike some "best places to get a burrito" I know, vegetarian doesn't just mean "lettuce and bean burrito." It means vegetables. And a generous helping of savory, spicy black beans. Also try the tender, savory tamales (made fresh throughout the day), and the mouth-watering Mexican pastries. EJ