1. If it’s Wednesday, you’re donering.
You can pretty much turn any day around with a visit to the downtown cart Caspian Kabob, where one of the cleanest grills in town turns out awesome Persian meats. But you should definitely go Caspian on Wednesdays, when a tower of doner meat goes on the pole and the classic street food of Germany (via Turkey) is the special of the day.
2. Warm up with a “Ties That Bind” hot buttered rum at the Box Social
It’s best to let PoMo arts editor Fiona McCann explain the appeal of this cold-weather stunner; a recipe handed down to Box Social bar manager Michael Rowe from his great-grandmother Opal Box: "My first-ever hot buttered rum was this sweet, decadent mingle of brown sugar, vanilla ice cream, salted butter, molasses, and spice swirled in stiff, butterscotchy Austrian Stroh 80 rum and topped with whipped cream. And it is still the best. It's the alcoholic madeleine I will be chasing all year round."
3. Slurp bo kho at Pho An Sandy
You know what’s good? Hearty French beef stew. You know what’s even better? Rich Vietnamese beef stew swimming with carrots and stalks of lemongrass, amped up with a sweet-and-spicy mix of Asian flavors, from star anise to five-spice powder. Bonus: each mixing bowl–size order at this humble Northeast Portland standby comes with a mini baguette for proper dunking.
4. Flip winter the bird at Chicken and Guns
It’s a smoky-good Latin-spiced and oak-fired half bird with a side of seriously amazing (baked then fried) spuds drizzled in garlicky, neon green aji sauce. Says associate editor Marty Patail: “I want to shout it from the rooftops: I’m so in love with chicken and guns it’s ridiculous. I want to marry it.”
5. Gobble a meatloaf bun at the Woodsman Tavern
Available only on Tuesdays—if there’s enough leftover from the Woodsman’s popular Meatloaf Monday—this succulent fist-size morsel comes wedged in a house-baked roll that’s been dunked headfirst into a bowl of mashed potatoes.