1. Do lunch at Boke Dokie
Boke Bowl’s new downtown mini “kart” (SW Washington between 9th and 10th) is out in full force, serving a five-item menu of their best flavors condensed into takeout bites. Start with the caramelized Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, a staple at both locations, with crispy, frilled edges, smoky bacon-flavored tofu, crispy shallots, and a fish sauce dressing (find the recipe here). Next, get the “chix” sando: the hunk of devilishly spicy fried chicken that usually tops their unorthodox ramen now comes in a sweet, soft, buttery steamed bun with pickle crunch and kimchi-slaw tang. Cap the meal with a slice of honey salt pie, sweetened with Bee Local honey and topped with flakes of Jacobsen Salt. Right now, this is one of the best carts downtown. Order before everyone else finds out.
2. Dig into an ahi tuna bowl at Pause Japanese Bistro
This cheery cart at the back of the Rose City Food Park pod flaunts fresh, excellent bowls of seasoned rice piled high with lightly seared cubes of ahi, greens, and wasabi soy dressing. Add cucumber kimchi for a welcome spicy bite.
3. Sit down for a pretty, veg-centric Peruvian lunch at Paiche
Everyone is talking about the kitchen’s trio of cebiches, and they have a point: it's hard to find more beautiful versions anywhere in these parts. But Paiche’s (4237 SW Corbett Ave) stylish, lunch-only Peruvian menu is stocked with vegetable-centric finds, too. Look for interesting salads (quinoa, poached apples, sea beans), purple potatoes in various guises (try them roasted with coconut oil and purple corn glaze) or a trumpet mushroom bean burger spiced with Peruvian yellow chile pepper.
4. Slum it with pulled pork nachos at the High Water Mark
There are plenty of great vegan options here, but the High Water Mark’s crowning glory is its melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork nachos. Tender, house-smoked pork is served in heaping portions with pickled onions, carrots, and fresh salsa for just $6. Come for the dog-friendly patio and dive-bar ambiance; stay for the grub.