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Jan 31, 2009 09:38 AM

cheap, fast lunches near Lloyd Center, Portland

I'm looking for yummy, cheap, fast lunches near the Lloyd Center. I'll also need some quick dinners a couple of nights. I need to be out and back to the conference center in about an hour. I had hoped to hit the Portland food cart scene, but even that looks like it may be too much transit time. I prefer almost any type of ethnic food to American-style food, and I'm not particularly interested in sushi or beer. Any suggestions?

Feedback on these possibilities - will I be able to make it there and back?
food carts near oak/1st red line stop - Thai Basil, Jarochita
food carts near galleria/10th red line stop - Samurai Bento, Huong, Thai Express, India Chaat House, Asian Station


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  1. If this helps - I would love to eat as a wide a variety of cuisines as I can while in town. For my not-rushed, sans-inlaw nights, I'm thinking about Toro Bravo, Tabla, Pok Pok, Lucky Strike, Tanuki, Apizza Scholl's.....

    Pok Pok looks like it's too far for lunch?

    1 Reply
    1. re: renshiwo

      I think all food is "ethnic", so I don't know how to draw a line between it and "American".
      Your "variety" choices sound great. Also consider Ken's Artisan Pizza, Biwa, Tanuki, Blue Nile Ethiopean.
      Pok Pok is out of the question for lunch, considering your schedule.
      Consider Burgerville for lunch. I'm not kidding. Right next to Convention Center, they highlight local seasonal items like fried Yukon Golds, hazelnut shakes.

      You can take either red or blue line to any carts, it makes no difference as they are parallel at all stops you mention. Definitely do the carts, either Chaat House or the ones on Alder. They are a 16-minute ride from Lloyd Center station, 5 minutes less from Convention, running about every 7 minutes. I don't know the Oak/1st carts. Also consider Give Pizza A Chance on Stark between 4-5th, a little shorter ride.

    2. If your lunch time frame is truly limited to one-hour, then you are out of luck. TriMet is slooow going through Lloyd and into Downtown. Sorry - I've been at many meetings in that area and lunch options are in short supply. How do you like Quiznos? There's one right there. ;)

      I believe there is some cart thingy at the corner of 9th and Multnomah (?) - I've driven past it but have no idea what it serves...methinks mexican - but I'm not sure... There is a Roses Deli at 12th and Broadway - I haven't eaten there yet...but just throwing out an option. You can definitely do Burgerville - but lately I've decided I like Wendy's better. Apostasy, I know, to prefer something non-local in this town...but there are bigger crosses to bear. Still its worth trying. Do you have a car? You could drive to Cha Cha Cha at 26th and Broadway. It's a local mexican chain with decent tacos and large burritos.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MyNextMeal

        Actually I rechecked my schedule, and we have 1.5 hours for lunch! Hooray! Would this possible give me enough time for a sit down anywhere? Karam?

        Really, though, I think I can be pretty happy with food carts.

        Thanks, Leonardo, for giving me the heads up on the metro lines and for more dinner recommendations. I do love Ethiopian, although I think it's more fun with a crowd.

        Tanuki and Biwa - both are non-sushi oriented Japanese, yes? With Tanuki being the cheaper option?

        1. re: renshiwo

          Correct about Tanuki and Biwa. Tanuki is Okinawan Izakaya( actually Aka Chochin but the distinction is minor and a bit pedantic to all but the hardest of hard core food geeks), and Biwa is classic Izakaya but decidedly upscale. My preference is firmly with Tanuki, the food is much more ambitious, inventful and ever changing. As far as which one is cheaper, its probably a toss up if you have anything but the smallest of appetites. The option of Omakase(chef's choice)@ Tanuki is probably the best way for a first timer to stay within a budget. Simply give the Chef a price point(I recommend $20, but $15 would work if you're looking for a lighter lunch) and let her decide your dishes and order of presentation.
          Be aware that Tanuki opens at 4pm and Biwa at 5pm.

      2. I worked across the street from Lloyd Center for years and you really have a plethora of food options within a few blocks in any direction. And now that you have 90 minutes for lunch, you should have fun with it. For quick excellent sandwiches, there's Grand Cental Bakery on 14th and Weidler. There's a great Mexican restaurant on the first floor of the DoubleTree Hotel called "Eduardos Mexican Grille". "Pastinis" near 14th & Broadway is delicious, quick and reasonable Italian. There's "McMenamins Brew Pub" on 15th & Broadway for an all around menu. Any of these places could work for lunch or dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: 10sChick

          no offense is intended here, but I think the OP was looking for things other then Hotel restaurants and chains....for which this area(around Lloyd Center) is loaded.

          MeatCheeseBread and Bunk Sandwiches are both doable in 90min. as is EVOE

          1. re: renshiwo

            You're welcome.
            And by the way: don't call it "metro" if you want to blend in as a local. The streetcar, bus system, and light rail (MAX=Metropolitan Area Express) are collectively known as Tri-Met.
            Another vote for MeatCheeseBread and Bunk.
            Pastini and McMen's are local chains and good in a pinch, but for more unique local flavor stick with suggestions of nkeane. The cart at NE 9/Multnomah is forgettable.
            Please report back!

          2. Back from Portland. Sadly, due to work and social obligations I mostly had mediocre to downright terrible food. It was a food tragedy. The bright spots....
            Food carts at 9th and Alder:
            Huong's Vietnamese - huge portions loaded with veggies for my veggie friends. Went there with five people. We all ordered different dishes and were all mightily pleased.
            Aybla Mediterranean Grill - delectable lamb gyro with feta.

            Food carts I liked less:
            Samurai Bento - quality food, but with all the fresh ingredients around, I was sorry I didn't go for something else (or back to Huong's).
            India Chaat House - for me, this one was nothing special. Again, maybe I was too excited about all the fresh ingredients elsewhere. I had their lunch special, and the main dish (sweet potato and peas) seemed to be cooked down to mush.

            A great treat: Sahagun's hot chocolate. If they made this illegal, folks would sell their kidneys for it.

            Good breakfast: Tin Shed. Went with the family and everyone had something different. All were pleased, including picky father-in-law who ordered plain toast with a fried egg (not on the menu). Humongous portions. Would be happy to see this place cut the portion size and the price a little bit, but I know that's now a good way to make money.

            Pretty good around the Lloyd Center: Milo's Cafe. I was surprised by the prices though, which were higher than what I would have expected for a place that our B&B owner described as a diner. Easy to drop $20 on a dinner here. All other places I went around Lloyd Center were utterly forgettable.

            Fuller's restaurant in downtown Portland: good straight up eggs and bacon kind of place with yummy homemade bread for the toast. Nothing fancy, but tasty and didn't require a 45 minute wait on a Sunday morning.

            I won't even bother to mention all the bad restaurants I had suffered through. I do have to make a mention of our one "fancy" night, which was at Fife. We forewent more interesting options like Toro Bravo, Tabla, le Pigeon, etc. so that the inlaws could join us. However, this was a real disappointment for me. I had the lamb chops with roasted brussel sprouts and fennel. I thought the vegetables were oversalted. I should have ordered the lamb medium rare rather than just rare, as it was completely raw at the bone. I can't give a fair review I guess, because other things conspired to make this a fairly miserable meal. But I would hope for a little more imagination on the plate, rather than just a meat-and-potatoes experience. This one was also recommended by our B&B owner and was selected mainly to please the palate of my inlaws. Still, I wouldn't go here again, even if craving a good, straight-forward, American-style dinner.

            Thanks Chowhounders for all your advice. Wish I could have tried more of them!

            1 Reply
            1. re: renshiwo

              Thanks for the report.
              Sorry circumstances kept you from better experiences.
              I agree about ridiculously sized portions. And we shrug and wonder why we're fat.
              At least you made it to Sahagun! I had the HC just yesterday with soy, and it was the highlight of the weekend.