Friday, 18 June
Pho Saigon

In the International Food Court on Fourth and Yamhill
Wonton Soup
Cost: $5.00

I love this place, and have been meaning to write about it. With all my bean and bento making, I haven't been eating lunch out a lot.

Pho Saigon is just a tiny corner to the front-right of the International Food Court, run by what I assume is a Vietnamese family. The food is genuine, fast, and very good.

Pho is not ready to hand to customer as soon as they've paid--it must be assembled from broth and fresh ingredients. It is served traditionally, with bean sprouts, lime, and mint on the side for you to add. No, I didn't know this ahead of time--I asked friends. Next time, I'll do it right! Well, except for the chopsticks. I am hopeless with the things, and had to ask for a fork in order to fish out those wonderful noodles.

It is a dish to sit down with for your entire lunch hour. Bring a friend or a book.

Friday, 16 January
Green Papaya

1135 SW Morrison St
Bill: Tomato tofu
Kitty: Filet Mignon
Side: Garlic string beans

Note to the management: Hire more people! Your waitstaff are buried!

There are a reasonable amount of vegetarian dishes on the menu (four entrees and two side dishes), but no veggie appetizers, which was a little disappointing (okay, we're spoiled--it seems like we can always find a veggie appetizer).

Bill's tofu tasted just like something I would cook, as the chef used the same base of onions, garlic, and peppers that I often do. This is a good thing, but not something he felt he needed to go to a restaurant for.

My steak was fantastic. In a sauce of French butter, olive oil, and cognac, it was tender and oh-so-flavorful. I finished every bit of it and the butter lettuce beneath it. Additionally, I must say the string beans were the best I've ever had--perfectly cooked in light garlic and soy sauce, with a hint of sweetness. Yummo.

Still, we won't go back. Someone in comments here once asked me if I wouldn't be going back to a restaurant because of service or food. I answered that food is #1, but both are deal breakers in a restaurant-rich town like Portland. Even if the food is excellent, there's no good reason to go back to a place where waitstaff must be hunted and flagged (I hate flagging waitstaff--it makes me feel boorish) after waiting 20 minutes in hopes of getting a fork or a check.

If you don't mind waiting around, then I definitely recommend Green Papaya just for the food.