Tag Archives: cheap eats

{Bloggers Against Hunger} $4 Lentil Soup

Food bloggers nationwide were challenged to answer a simple question today: What would you do if you were hungry?

Some of you may have caught on by now that I’m passionate about the issue of hunger. And it really is a big issue – even here in our own country. 1 in 5 kids in America suffer from hunger. That’s 16 million kids who are not getting the food they need. If you’re surprised by these figures, I hate to tell you that it gets worse. Kids who don’t get the food and nutrition they need suffer long-term consequences. Hungry kids are more likely to experience serious short- and long-term health issues. They tend to have trouble learning and are more prone to behavioral and emotional problems. And these kids may look not different from other children. Child hunger in America is often invisible.

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Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

There are about 500 food carts in Portland. No exaggeration. But it’s easy to spot the really good ones by watching the lines at lunch. One of my favorite carts makes killer rice bowls – but needless to say, there is always a line. And who has time to wait around?

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

A few years back when Sam was in grad school and we were on budget mode, we got in the habit of attempting to duplicate our favorite recipes. This southwestern brown rice bowl was an evolution of this that we honestly make about once a week. It just doesn’t get old.

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

Let’s review the talking points: 

No wait. 

Quick to make. 



And so tasty! 

Bookmark it already.

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
Serves 1

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3/4 cup cooked brown rice rice
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 T shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 T salsa
1 T roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 avocado, sliced
1 T sour cream
1 tsp pine nuts

Once ingredients are prepped, fill bowl in order of ingredients outlined above. Feel free to adjust proportions and/or ingredients according to your likings. Serve with hot sauce, limes and tortilla chips.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/



Double Dragon: Portland-style bahn mi

This year’s Taste Of The Nation offered bites from over 60 of the area’s top chefs and restaurants. One of my stand-out favorites was a surprisingly delicious sample from Double Dragon. This underdog stole the show by serving an open-faced version of it’s Portland-style bahn mi sandwiches.

Sam and I couldn’t wait to try the real deal, and arranged a double-date with one of our favorite couples to see what these sandwiches were really about. Double Dragon did not disappoint in delivering “crazy” bahn mi sandwiches as promised on the website.

The signage and decor was adorable, but the sandwiches were the clear visual take away:

{Chicken Chorizo Bahn Mi}
{Meatball Bahn Mi}

Sam’s Chicken Chorizo actually tasted like chorizo. The Veggie Bahn-Mi was like eating a fresh, spicy salad. But the group winner, which is also apparently the staff pick – was the Meatball Bahn Mi. It’s not the most traditional, but the homemade meatballs, aioli, jalepeno and pickled vegetables were a killer combination. It was spicy but balanced. Although I loved the heat, I’d recommend requesting light sauce if you’re a spice wuss.

Speaking of spicy, each of the sandwiches came with a side of spicy-potato chips. And speaking of being a wuss, I was glad that we had also ordered the jicama salad to cool the fire in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. It was totally worth it.

You know what else was totally worth it? The toasted coconut cookie (from Le Cookie Monkey), and a glass of homemade sweet tea. The crew at Double Dragon nailed this savory/sweet drink made of house-made black tea infused with lemongrass and basil.

The reviews of Double Dragon in Portland have been mixed, but here’s my two cents. I’ve never been to Vietnam, and I’m sure these are not traditional Vietnamese sandwiches (per the sign at the door). But, any sandwich that packed with flavor is definitely worth $7.50 in my book. Add in the cute decor and patio – and this seriously might be my new summer hang out.


A Taste of The Sweet Hereafter

Despite the fact that I live in Portland, I’m not a vegan nor am I a hipster. So when Sam asked me to try Sweet Hereafter, a new vegan restaurant on SE Belmont, I was doubtful and almost didn’t bring my camera along.

It turns out I have to give the man some credit. Sweet Hereafter is a pretty sweet (ha!) new joint in SE. It opened across from Zupans, where a slew of new restaurants and bars have opened. Sweet Hereafter was opened by the owners of the Bye and Bye, another classic Portland spot (and one of Sam’s favorite night time hangouts). Like the Bye and Bye, the Sweet Hereafter has:

1.    A catchy name
2.    Really rad décor
3.    A cool outside patio
4.    An interesting drink list
5.    Vegan-only cuisine
6.    Dim, mood-setting lighting
7.    Lots of really beautiful regulars

It’s a good thing we were accompanied by Christine Matsuda Smith, the lovely lady behind Lilikoi and Thyme, who was visiting Portland for the week. Note: her fab blog is temporarily down, but the girl just finished planning a wedding so we’ll give her some slack.

The outside patio was full by the time we arrived for dinner on a Tuesday night, so we ordered at the bar and then found a table inside the dimly lit bar. Sweet Hereafter has a unique list of beers on tap, plus a nice cocktail list that’s longer than the actual food menu.

Dinner items consist mostly of rice bowls that range from $7-$9. We also ordered chips and salsa for a few bucks extra. Not sure if we were just really hungry, but the chips were extra crunchy and the salsa seemed super fresh. It was a good start to the meal.

{Chips & Salsa}

I ordered the Jamaican Bowl – which was filled with brown rice, black beans, coconut kale and jerk tofu. We eat a lot of brown rice and beans at home, so it was the coconut kale made this dish really special. It wasn’t that the kale was so coconut-y, but that the extra coconut milk soaked onto the beans and rice for a really delicious and creamy bowl of goodness.

{Jamaican Bowl}

Mmm… I got hungry just uploading that image. Anway. Sam ordered the Eastern Bowl, which was made of brown rice, broccoli, peanut sauce and tofu. He ate the entire bowl – but claimed that the Jamaican Bowl was better.

{Eastern Bowl}

Christine was a bit more creative. Instead of ordering an entrée, she ordered a number of side dishes including rice, beans, tofu and chickpea salad. Despite beinga bit more plain, she was happy with her dinner with the exception of the chickpea salad, which she mentioned could have used more warm spices. I agreed that it was missing something.

{Chickpea Salad}

Although Portland is an affordable town, it can be tough to find inexpensive dinner spots. For roughly $10 per person, I have no doubt we’ll be back at the Sweet Hereafter soon. But, don’t tell Sam he was right all along.