Three A+ Lunches Under $10

Round these parts, you can get a lot of lunch bang for your sawbuck. Food carts, downtown dens of midday dining like Blueplate and Hush Hush Cafe, and even some of the fancier restaurants offer plenty–and plentiful–lunch specials that keep you well fed and your bill in the single digits.


Do NOT print this and attempt to buy your lunch with it.

I like to keep my lunch life both cheap and interesting, so I’m always on the lookout for new lunch spots with good deals. Here are three new places where I’ve been eating well and eating cheap these past couple of weeks.

meesennoodles1. Mee-Sen Thai Eatery

Mee-Sen, the Thai word for both “have noodle” and “have connection” has indeed been making strong connections with Portland food lovers via its delicious noodles. Flanking the west end of a new mini strip mall on N. Mississippi, this charming little Thai noodle house has over 30 items that fit within a $10 budget (nothing on the menu is over $11), but my favorite under-$10 grazing ground is the build-your-own “Guay Tiew” section. First choose from five styles of noodles, then match them with your choice of eight different meat and soup combinations, like Gai Thoon–Thai-style stewed chicken and shiitake mushrooms in a spicy herbaceaous dark chicken broth. You can opt for the regular size ($8-$9), or you can order the small size and get two different kinds for $4.50-$5 each. If noodles aren’t your thing, just order the 10-wing plate of Peek Kai Tod–fried chicken wings–with spicy basil sauce ($9) and make a meal of it, trying not to snort the last bits of fried skin and basil just to make it last longer. Sit beneath one of the crazy Thai movie posters on the wall and your group will be cheerfully occupied for hours trying to decipher them.

3924 N Mississippi Ave. * 503.445.1909 * * Sun-Thu 11am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9:30pm


2. Pacific Pie Company

Sure the weather’s been suspiciously mild this week, but you know full well what’s going to happen. Mother Nature’s going to get surly again, driving you indoors with her savage rains and freezing temperatures, and you are going to need comfort food in the worst way. By all means, turn to Pacific Pie Company and their warm golden just-baked medallions of PIE. Beef and stout pie, roast lamb pie, Moroccan chickpea pie, creamy chicken pie, Southwest Buffalo pie ($6.50 each)–owners and bakers Sarah Curtis-Fawley and Chris Powell and company are baking up all sorts of delectable Australian-style homemade pies, plus pasties and sausage rolls, in their warm, lovely-smelling Southeast Portland kitchen. Pair one with a cup of homemade soup or a crisp salad ($2.50) and you’ve got a belly-friendly rebuttal to winter’s howling gales.

609 SE Ankeny St. * * 503.381.6157 * Tue-Sun 10am-3pm

garbage burrito3. Taqueria Los Gorditos

‘I’ve been eating at the Taqueria Los Gorditos food cart for ages,’ you’re probably thinking, ‘What’s so new about that?!’ Yes, but…last week, Taqueria Los Gorditos opened their second location, which happens to be a cozy little cafe at the corner of SE 12th and Division, so now when you wait in line for your big honking super fresh oh-s0-good Garbage Burrito ($6.50), Nachos ($6), Bistek Ranchero ($6.50), Chicharon in Salsa Verde ($6.50), vegan Huaraches ($5), Soycurl Tacos ($2 each), or tofu-stuffed Empanadas Rellenas ($7), you can sit down and enjoy your lunch with a cold Jarritos and Violet the chicken instead of heading straight back to the office to eat your lunch at your desk while browsing waterproof pants and fantasy island vacations.

SE 12th & Division * 503.445.6289 *  Twitter * Mon-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 7am-3pm