Friday, 17 September
Happy Bowl

I keep meaning to write more about fast food or lunch spots. The Spousal Unit and I don't limit our gastronomic wanderings to the sit-down-and-serve-us eateries. We happily meal at the mall, and a number of quick spots, especially for lunch. Mind you, by "fast food", I don't mean McDonald's or any of their ilk. I mean the good stuff. For instance...

Happy Bowl
SW Fifth and Salmon
Chicken Bowl
Hom Bau
Cost: $5

I've been frequenting HB for, oh, 15 years or so. If I recall correctly, they were the first bento shop in Portland, and trendsetters. Unfortunately, I'm set in my ways, and haven't ordered much other than a chicken bowl in a long time. I need to fix that. Service at HB is amazing--you will not get faster anywhere, especially if you go a little early. The usual meal is a bowl of white or brown rice topped with veggies and your choice of several meats, including chicken, teriyaki beef, and gyoza. The person at the counter is unfailingly friendly, and you'd be surprised how important that is. Copies of local free newspapers are on the bar near the window, and long tables allow room to read if it isn't busy.

The food is solidly yummy, and very consistent from day to day. Year to year, in fact. The only change I've noticed is the hom bau (steamed bun with filling) has become a little too sweet for my taste.

It pleases me that Happy Bowl has been there from the beginning of the bento lunch in Portland, and continues to be one of the best spots for this favorite meal.