Posts Tagged ‘Portland lunch’
( 5th and Oak St., downtown Portland, OR)
I’ve been blessed to have lived in some of the great food cities of the world; and there’s always at least one local favorite I miss when I have moved away from those burgs – Italian beef from Chicago, po-boys from New Orleans to mention two.
Heating roast beef correctly in au jus is an art form, if the temp is just a 1/10th of a degree too hot (it seems to me) it’s easy for your beef to end up curled and chewy. Many in Portland have tried to master the art of the basic dip sandwich, purportedly invented in Los Angeles at either Cole’s or Philippes, both of whom claim bragging rights.
In both Chicago and New Orleans, who has the best beef dip (respectively, “Italian Beef” or “Roast Beef Po-Boy”) can lead to heated arguments, if not downright brawls.
In Portland, there can seem to be no question, the title goes to “Wagsy’s Hot Beef Sandwiches”, a cart at SW Fifth and Oak. I’ve tried the rest, and now I’ve found the best.
These guys have created a menu based around different variations of beef dip, and after the first bite of the “Chi-Town”, I was hooked. An ample quantity of quality, thin-sliced roast beef, on very fresh bread, served “wet”, and in beef dip terms, that means the loaf is dipped in the au jus slightly for a taste and texture sensation.
The home town version in Chicago is highly flavored with garlic and herbs, but Wagsy’s have toned this down, I suspect, for a wider audience, and for my palate, it’s just perfect.
For five bucks, it’s a very filling sandwich, and it comes with a small ramekin of a vegetable medley (giardiniera) which you may dress the sandwich with if that’s your preference.
A nice finishing touch is provided with a wet nap and toothpick taped to the sandwich box.
Wagsy’s offers some other interpretations of the dip, a Philly style, and a BBQ one, as well as a veggie choice.
Good job guys. You’ve a winning combination. I can easily see a leap to multiple city brick and mortars in your future. Find Wagsy’s on Facebook, too.
Wagsys Hot Beef
The name literally is a contradiction, “Veritable” means ‘something of certainty”, and “Quandary” means ‘difficult to predict, or uncertainty,’ and the restaurant of the same name near Portland’s waterfront, is anything but.
VQ, as locals refer to it, was created in 1971 and for decades has consistently hammered out some of the most innovative takes on America’s regional fares while utilizing local ingredients.
The menu varies from time to time, and can be found online.
I was meeting some pals for a quick lunch, and VQ was geographically desirable to their office location(s).
One of my friends said in advance he had been jonesing for the seafood stew, a rich broth full of fish, mollusks, and shellfish. From the smile on his face and the interruption in the conversation, I can only surmise it was delicious and I have made a note to try it next time.
And me? Why, I went with the highly-acclaimed VQ burger, Cascade Range beef on a ciabatta that leaned towards the softer side, accompanied by some pickled vegetables, and house-cut fries.
It was cooked to my medium rare preference, and plated beautifully.
One of my companions said it was one of the best burgers in Portland, and opined he thought they put some sausage or sausage-like seasonings in the meat. I wouldn’t disagree on his judgement, but I don’t believe the burger had any sausage (pork) in it, or the menu or waiter would have stated so. Wait-service was great, by the way.
The beef was seasoned, and the flavor reminded me of burgers I have had in the Caribbean, tho I cannot pinpoint the flavor for you. It’s not strong or unplesanant at all; I may guess that the seasoning is onion-related.
The ample meat patty was crowned with a slab of medium white cheddar, and the entire experience was on the high end of the scale.
Definitely now one of my top 5 burgers in Portland. I shall return. A nice hot lunch for another dreary, rainy December day in Portland.
It’s said the VQ has a great weekend brunch, and it’s within an easy hike of most downtown hotels, as well. Brunch offerings vary, and are surprising, like this month’s blackened catfish, or pumpkin and brie quiche!
For those of you undesirous of clicking the link and navigating away from my narrative, piroshkis are stuffed Russian pastries, with either sweet or savory fillings.
While there can be some comparison to the neighborly pastries to the west of Russia, Poland’s pierogi’s, they really aren’t the same.
In any case, we munched on a beef and cheese piroshki with our coffee; we would have ordered the traditional accompaniment of a pickle, but the shop was out.
The minced beef in the pie was full of oniony-beefy flavor; if you’ve traveled to emerging economies, you’ve experienced this flavor previously.
I like this place, and we’ll try their other varieties in the future, I am sure.
Birra Deli serves “American style” deli sandwiches and sells beer, on and off-site.
I have to say, we’re not much for “sub-type” sandwiches to being with – (or heroes, grinders, hoagies), but we knew that’s what we were in for at Birra Deli, and we were hungry!
I went with the traditional Italian (pictured below) (Salami, pepperoni, provolone), but sans the vegetables. The Mrs. had the traditional club. Both were served on white rolls (our request) tho other breads and add-ons are available.
Birra Deli also has a little condiment station which is fun, featuring house made mustards and a variety of pickled vegetables.
I’m sure we’ll be back; in addition to the Groupon deal, Birra Deli frequently has offerings in Coupon Clipper, but even at full price, it’s good grub and a good value.
Been here before, but then, what Portlandian hasn’t? Waiting on a biz meeting in downtown, ambled through Pioneer Courthouse Square and grabbed a polish sausage to soothe the savage b(r)east prior to the meet.
“It is what it is” people are fond of saying these days, and Jean’s certainly fits in that category.
Value pricing, suitable product, the only exception I noted to Jean’s on this day, was her offer of the “traditional Chicago hot dog.”
Something has gone amiss in Jean’s education of said animal. Any hot dog aficionado knows the intimate details of constructing a Chicago style dog. If you don’t, check out the blueprints on Vienna Beef’s website.
Jean’s version includes ketchup (!!!) mustard, mayo (!!!), onion, kraut, sour cream and applesauce. Judging by the two last condiments, maybe Jean knows of a Chicago in Germany?
Anyway, of no matter. My polish with yellow mustard was just fine.
Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I were on our way out to meet some folks for dinner at Wong’s King - so, as we do on occasion, we stopped to get a bit of pre-dinner and cocktails nearby.
The afternoon’s “victim” was Buckely’s Catch, a sports bar and grill in Mt. Tabor/SE. We were just looking for a ‘cool’ place to escape Portland’s ‘heatwave’, douse the fire in my belly for something to eat after sitting through a local college graduation – and to get Mrs. BDB a bump or two.
If there is one thing Portland doesn’t have a shortage of, it’s neighborhood bars/saloons/dives, and Buckley’s fits the bill for any number of reasons. Regular patrons, cheap drinks, and a bar food menu that is a combination of both the usual fare and in house pot cooking. (Add to that the mound of TVs, games, a patio, and a cigarette machine!)
I could tell from the first glance that the chili mound on top of the taters was brewed up in house, and in fact, Ms. Julie confirmed this without me asking.
It’s a respectable contestant for Portland’s best chili cheese fries. We barely made a dent before having to shuffle off to our chinese cuisine encounter.
If you’re looking for a cold quaff and some decent cheap bar food, check out Buckley’s Catch, I say.
Mrs. BDB always gets the deluxe sushi assortment, which comes with a variety of pieces and miso; I generally go for the panko chicken breast dinner, which comes with (wait for it) – a helluvalot of chicken strips, miso, 4 pieces of california roll, a green salad, potato salad (?) and rice. We escape for less than $35.
We’re both happy with the joint, and have also dined in on occasion; the service is usually fast and courteous, the restaurant is clean. SHO has a full bar, an adequate wine list, and over 20 varieties of saki.
They are open for lunch and dinner seven days, later on Friday and Saturday. We recommend you patronize these nice people when you are in SW.
Winco is a low-priced, employee-owned grocery store chain across six states in the West, including multiple locations here in Oregon. Inside most of the stores, you’ll find a Leonardi’s Pizza, featuring value-priced take and bake, or baked in the store, pizzas and subs from a counter at the front of the store.
They also sell bargain slices, tantamount to a quarter of a pie for $1.98. Elsewhere in Portland, you can buy up to $6 a slice, for a much smaller (and skimpier, in some places) slice o’ pie.
Couple it with a Shasta from the nearby vending machine, and you have a quick meal for about $2.25. Feed yourself or the kids on the long trip home from the market – tho I always recommend eating BEFORE grocery shopping.
Another fun thing, elsewhere in the store (usually around the cheese case) you can find Leonardo’s dough balls, if you are really feeling ambitious for the bake at home pizzeria experience.
A slice is a slice, and this one measure up, both in heft and taste. It’s a respectable product, and $8.98 for a large whole pie, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pizza value.
Guild’s Lake Inn is a diner/cafe located in the heart of NW industrial Portland. Near to the establishment I am currently spending my days at, it’s a favorite of colleagues for both a quick lunch or take out.
Today was quick bite day with Portland organic garden consultant extraordinaire Sara Pool. In case you were wondering, yes, she manages the set-up of Burgerdogboy’s annual effort at a condiment garden at home. Almost time to plant the seeds!
I went with the bacon/blue burger @ 7.95, which comes with a side, the choices include Homemade Pesto Pasta, Dill Macaroni, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Green Salad, Chips, or a Piece of Fruit. Pool opted for the chicken Caesar. The burger patty was great, the bun was over the top, and I went with the dill macaroni (cold), which I surprisingly enjoyed.
I was running around downtown today when I spotted the latest location of Joe’s, which started as a “kiosk” type operation at the fancy pants Bridgeport Mall, and although people urged me to try it, I never got to it. Every time I go to Bridgeport, and pass the burger stand, I’m either on my way into or out of the cinema. He has another location at his former Italian dining estab on BHH, but I don’t get over that way much either. Bored yet? I’m am.
I sauntered (sashayed?) in to the downtown location and was promptly greeted by the counter person; the place was “moderately’ busy for a weekday lunch period, but I was the only one ordering. Joe’s menu is spartan – burgers, dogs, rings, fries, shakes. If there are topping options, neither I, nor anyway else who has read the menu, is aware of them, and the counter people aren’t coughing up any suggestions either.
I went with the regular burger, “Oregon all natural beef”, iceberg lettuce, tomato and sauce. I could see by the pile of packages in the corner they use locally baked Franz buns, as well.
I was not asked if I wanted any other condiments, if any where available, or how I wanted it prepared. I was told that it would be ready in ‘six or seven minutes.’ A burger with a side of fries clocked in at $6.75, I could have added a soda for another 50 cents I was informed.
I wiled away my time sitting at the counter facing the street, and the sandwich was done in less than the estimated time.
Like In N Out (I am not comparing, I am saying ‘in the style of’) Joe’s hopes that a bunch of produce a glob of sauce (both top and bottom bun) will disguise the paper thin patty, cooked into the realm of oblivion.
The fries were hot, crispy shoestring style, lightly salted.
The burger sauce was a variation of the standard secret sauce (thousand island-ish). (Why doesn’t anybody have a truly SECRET sauce?)
I’m not a fan of In N Out. Fatburger also employs a similar style patty, well done, crispy on the edges, and for some reason, I like theirs.
I wish Joe all the success in the world, I know how hard the hospitality business is, and I’m sure he will prosper for awhile.
But like one of Portland’s other “faves” at the moment, “Little Big Burger,” all I can say is (yawn). As always, this is MY opinion. You may find Joe’s to be the perfect burger for you, and I urge you to try it!
Sorry Joe, for me, no go for the dough.