These Are Four of Portland’s Most Delicious Lunch Destinations

From Kim Jong Grillin’s Korean short ribs to Maurice’s gorgeous sandwiches, here are our some of our city’s greatest midday meals.

By Karen Brooks June 13, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Kim Jong Grillin'

Image: Karen Brooks

Most Worth the Wait

Call it the cult following that came from nowhere. Since opening in December, diners have swarmed Paiche for first-come, first-served Peruvian food-as-art lunches from Lima native Jose Luis de Cossio. People buzz about the architecturally plated seafood cebiches, but the former Andina chef’s vegetables are a find, roasted sweet potatoes glazed in purple corn syrup to sculptural beets with spicy watermelon and nori. 4237 SW Corbett Ave, paichepdx.com

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Image: Karen Brooks

Prettiest Sandwiches

Delis treat sandwiches as a way of life. But only PDX pastry luncheonette Maurice treats sandwiches like a state of mind—part Scandinavian open-faced smørbrød gestalt and part Portland ingredient enthusiasm, all plated in daily options on single slabs of excellent spelt bread. Watch for a striking weave of golden beets, strawberries, purslane leaves, and onion flowers or tender trout roasted in blue plum eau-de-vie and chamomile tea. 921 SW Oak St, mauricepdx.com

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Jolie-Laide’s Vince Nguyen at work

Image: Karen Brooks

Most Pampered Carrot

Every Sunday at 1 p.m., Vince Nguyen commandeers the chef’s counter at Block & Tackle, daring to serve a $55 modern tasting menu in a biscuit-mad brunch town. In a setting as intimate as a cooking class, his weekly Jolie-Laide (French for “pretty-ugly”) pop-up is a window on the world of young cooks hell-bent on squeezing the life force out of vegetables. This is where even a lone carrot stick rides on a chariot of juices, curds, and advanced techniques. 3113 SE Division St; reservations at jolielaidepdx.com

Best Seoul Food

Mixing food cart bravado and a chef’s eye for details, Han Ly Hwang packs an irresistible wallop of Korean comfort in Kim Jong Grillin’s multifaceted Bibim Box. Pick your meat: short ribs rule, marinated and grilled to order. Then repair to the cart’s outdoor eating porch and swirl away, as a runny fried egg blurs into funky kimchi and smoky japchae noodles. SE 46th Avenue and Division Street, kimjonggrillin.com

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