eats waffle

JACE GACE’s Curry Asparagus Waffle bucks the sweet trend.

WAFFLE

Jáce Gáce

2045 SE Belmont St,
503-239-1887
Mon-Tue 9AM-2PM, Wed-Fri 9AM-midnight,
Sat-Sun 8AM-midnight
jacegace.com

The six or so spears of asparagus lovingly strewn atop the sumptuous cranberry-spiked curry sauce that’s drizzled over the Curry Asparagus Waffle ($8) at Jáce Gáce (pronounced “YAH-say GAH-say”) are easily the greenest ingredients in the house aside from an occasional pickle. And thank goodness: You aren’t here to eat a well-balanced meal. No, at this quaint Southeast bistro with a thoroughly modern interior, the kitchen transforms the everyday breakfast waffle into a dish worth eating any time of the day. Not only can you order, say, the Grilled Cheese Waffle ($7) just about any day of the week, you can enjoy it the grown-up way, with one of 14 bottled beers. Or, if you’re like us, you’ll skip right to the Tiramisu Waffle ($8), whose deep divots runneth over with rum, espresso, mascarpone cheese, and slivers of pear. The bad news? You’ll never be able to eat an Eggo again. The good news? Since these gourmet snacks are served in a café that moonlights as a hip art gallery, you get to feel like a savvy sophisticate while chowing down on the food of your childhood fantasies. —SW

ITALIAN

Pizza Fino

8225 N Denver Ave,
503-286-2100
Open Mon-Sun, 4-10PM
pizzafino.com

When Bella Faccia Pizzeria began serving gourmet pizzas on NE Alberta Street in 2001, the area was what you’d call “still-developing.” Now, one of the restaurant’s co-owners has opened this quaint pizzeria in Kenton—but unlike its Alberta cousin, there’s more on Pizza Fino’s menu than just pies—including at least eight hearty pastas ($7.50-11.75) and 11 sandwiches ($6.50-9). The real reason to seek out this eatery, though, is the hand-tossed pizza, like the Pocket Aces ($16 for a small), an exquisite mingling of pancetta, caramelized onions, and smoked mozzarella, served piping hot with a perfectly crunchy thin crust. For the best experience, skip the rather underwhelming dining room, which faces the parking lot, and perch yourself on one of the stools at the tiny bar. Order a slice ($2.50), and gaze through the giant picture windows at N Denver Avenue, a street that, like Alberta just a few years ago, is beginning to come into its own. —Kasey Cordell

CRÊPES

Le Happy

1011 NW 16th Ave,
503-226-1258
Mon-Thu 5PM-1AM, Fri 5PM-2:30AM, Sat 6PM-2:30AM
lehappy.com

With cheeky offerings like Le Trash Blanc ($7.50) (a bacon-and-cheddar crêpe accompanied by a bottle of Pabst) and the sweet, not-at-all-what-Mom-used-to-make Le PNBC ($8) (a peanut butter, Nutella, chocolate, and whipped cream number), Le Happy hasn’t lost an ounce of its whimsical charm in the eight years it’s graced Portland as the city’s coolest crêperie. Spend five minutes inside its warm, red-walled environs and you’ll understand why: Even on a rainy Tuesday night at 10 o’clock, the joint is packed with boisterous locals gathered around bottles of beer and wine, all moaning over their Fromage de Chèvre et Onion crêpes ($7). But this culinary oasis isn’t merely a flophouse for fiscally challenged foodies. Between the house-made crêpe batters and the fresh-from-the-farm cheeses and veggies, Le Happy transforms this French staple into a quintessential part of Portland’s cuisine, and turns most any Portlander who wanders through its doors into a loyal Francophile. —SW