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Aviary's silken tofu. 

Image: Karen Brooks

Instagram Aviary’s bejeweled silken tofu 

Leave it to Aviary’s modern-eclectic kitchen to make tofu beautiful enough to wear (and every bite delicious, textured, and surprising). Local Ota tofu sits at the base, crowned with pomegranate seeds, ultra-thin persimmon coins, sesame brittle, and left-field dabs of hot bean paste. 

Dare yourself to order Szechuan pork wontons at Duck House

A vat of crimson oil and vinegar bobbling with silky, slithery wonton wrappers. Each bite comes on with a smoky smolder and ends with a pop of porky-green onion goodness. Bonus: the chile oil’s heat level is calibrated to bring you near tears—a G&T or cheap beer will quench that fire.

Learn the ropes at Bete-Lukas

First-timers to Bete-Lukas, one of Portland’s best Ethiopian spots, are best served with a combo platter, which serves as a primer to the second-floor restaurant’s offerings. We’re especially fond of the Veggie Combo, with buttery lentils in berbere, garlicky yellow split peas, spicy, slow-cooked kale, curried cabbage and potatoes, and addictive, deeply spiced green beans. It’s all soaked up by a tangy, pocked sponge of injera.

Order dessert at Tanner Creek Tavern

This new Pearl District tavern has a solid lineup of business lunch fare, from lemony, toasty crumb-showered Caesar salads to great mussels and sausage in spicy broth (a throwback to owner David Machado’s Lauro Kitchen days). But save room for Guy King’s homey desserts: think oozy stone fruit cobbler topped with a caramelized cap of sugar cookie-like crumble and perfect housemade honey ice cream.

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