Portland is a foodie wonderland — with a bevy of farm-to-table restaurants, culture-blending menus and wunderkind-crammed neighborhoods around the city. Anywhere you turn, fancy and fanciful food awaits. When family is in town or paychecks have just been processed, this is a beautiful thing. But what about those lean periods every college student knows so well?
We at The Mossy Log are going to take you on a tour of Portland’s most affordable and gastronomically tasty food carts, restaurants and cafes. Staying well-fed and nourished is an important part of staying healthy, not to mention happy. Whether you are looking to fuel a study session, explore a new spot with friends, find a new date spot or simply need a break from Bon food, we hope to match you up with the right spot for your gourmand needs.
Close to campus and our hearts:
Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels in Sellwood
Price range: $2.00 – $16.00
Address: 1325 SE Tacoma St., Portland, OR 97202
Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels is a beloved Portland chain that serves traditionally-made New York-style boiled bagels, as well as hot sandwiches. Right as Lewis & Clark students get off of the Pio Express at Tacoma Street, the black-and-white type of the bagel shop greets them from across the street, making the Sellwood location extremely accessible. Inside, among the warm smell of toasting bread, students can order bagels with a variety of schmears and toppings. Pre-constructed bagel sandwiches, including their tasty breakfast sandwiches, are also available on the menu. Their classic everything bagel, as well as their onion and sesame bagels, are well-seasoned and deliciously chewy. The bagels are made fresh daily (with Bob’s Red Mill flour, no less) and available not just at the four Henry Higgins locations around Portland, but also at certain local coffee shops and local groceries including Zupan’s. Henry Higgins bagels are rib-stickingly hearty and their portion size is perfectly filling. For added bang for your bagel buck, pick up a bag of day-old bagels for $6!
The ideal American-Chinese comfort food spot:
Jumbo Restaurant in Darlington
Price range: $6.50 – $16.95
Address: 4427 SE Johnson Creek Blvd., Portland, OR 97222
Those seeking some classic American Chinese-style fried rice, noodles and General Tso’s chicken need look only slightly beyond Sellwood to the unassuming Jumbo Restaurant in Darlington (Southeast Portland). The restaurant is rarely busy, but it should be — the serving sizes are generous and the dishes familiar and delicious. While a pricier option than bagels or burritos, each dish individually can serve one for at least two meals. These dishes are the standards of American Chinese cuisine.
Their excellent house fried rice (shrimp, beef and chicken, with peas and carrots), salt-and-pepper dishes (tofu, prawns or squid) and classic chow fun and chow mein (available with a variety of additions) are all great day-of and as leftovers. And for takeaway, all meat or vegetable dishes that come in a sauce come with it on the side, to dress as you see fit. Jumbo Restaurant is available for delivery through DoorDash, but their website supports online ordering for pickup if that is preferable. Tasty, titanic portions — what is not to like?
A worthwhile food cart adventure in Northeast Portland:
La Osita PDX in Mill Park
Price range: $1.25 – $11.25
Address: Plaza 122, near SE 122nd Avenue and Market Street, Portland OR, 97222
Anyone with a car (or, better yet, a friend with a car) should make the pilgrimage to some of the best burritos in Portland at La Osita PDX. The small black food cart with a short menu and a picnic table outside boasts delicious and affordable tacos and burritos. An average burrito is about $10 and their tacos are closer to $4. La Osita also has a creative coffee and smoothie menu (their Mexican Mocha and Latte de Canella are well-spiced, and not too sweet). The La Osita classic burrito is warm and nourishing with eggs, chorizo, pico de gallo, crema, black beans and pepper jack cheese. Their egg tacos and carne asada tacos are so well-filled that they spill when you try to eat them. And the habanero salsa and salsa verde are excellent, while not being too spicy for those who are spice-shy. La Osita is also putting down roots for a brick-and-mortar store in Montavilla, and deserves every cent of support you can throw at them. They are easy on the budget, good for the soul and worth that trip.