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Toney Bento

Posted by Brooke in Bento | Sushi - (0 Comments)

toneybento

1423 SE 37th

Toney Bento on Urbanspoon

Date of visit: June 28, 2010
Cost for 2 (with tip): $20

Our “new” options on Hawthorne are limited, so there have been a lot of trips to the same old places lately, but yesterday we finally decided to get back on blog-wagon and try out something new. Toney Bento is tucked just off the strip on 37th, and is one of the few places left on our list that isn’t a dingy-looking sports bar. In fact, it looks quite appealing and even has sweet samurai swords on display. How can you go wrong with swords!? Despite the name, there is also more on the menu than bento, specifically a sushi bar. The menu is quite long in fact, and after staring at it for awhile I finally opted for one of the many combo meals.

A decent value at around $8, the Hawaiian combro included a spicy shrimp roll, a giant bowl of udon miso soup and a salad. On the other side of the table Jared went with the Vegan combo: an avocado roll, pot stickers, rice, salad, and a small bowl of miso. Seemed safe enough. As usual, Jared didn’t have much to say, this time blaming the food for being “too basic” for him to formulate a real opinion on the place. But I have no problem forming an opinion, so here goes.

The soup come out first and started things off well. It was simple udon noodles in regular miso, and was actually quite tasty. Unfortunately though, it would be the highlight of my meal. The shrimp roll was made with pre-cooked (and probably previously frozen) shrimp meat and if the sauce it was in was spicy, I couldn’t tell. There was also avocado and cucumber, but overall, it tasted no better than the stuff you get in the grocery store: like it had been made and then refrigerated for hours, if not days. The salad was also a miss for me. Basically just chopped napa cabbage in sweetened rice vinegar with a garnish of carrots and black celery seeds, it was not particularly good as far as consistency or flavor were concerned.

Overall, Toney Bento proved to be a place I would have been fine with never eating at (but at least it didn’t make me sick, or anything!) I think the lesson here is when a place has “bento” in the name, probably best to stick with chicken terriyaki.

Speed: Fast
Veggie options: A couple veggie combos, fairly basic veggie rolls

Vegan Combo

Vegan Combo

Hawaii Special

Hawaii Special

wholebowl

4409 SE Hawthorne Blvd

www.thewholebowl.com

Whole Bowl SE on Urbanspoon

Date of Visit: December 17, 2009

Price for 2: $13

The first visit to the Whole Bowl is an interesting experience, because it’s definitely not your normal restaurant. After all, there is a grand total of one thing on the menu. Your choices include what size and an option to omit any of the standard ingredients. You can also choose to get chips (of the basic tortilla variety served up in an unimpressive ziplock bag) or not. And they have a variety of drinks including Hansen’s soda, which is always a plus. Personally, I really like one item on the menu, but Jared was not so much a fan. But it is what it is, and actually, the Hawthorne location is a big step up (in Jared’s ideals) from the other locations in Portland since it’s not a cart like the rest of them.

And on this, our second visit to the place together, he warmed slightly to the whole bowl. If you’re wondering, what they serve here is a bowl with beans, rice, cheese, salsa, sour cream, olives, cilantro, avocado and “tali sauce,” which is lemony and garlicky and makes it taste good. It’s the sort of thing that if you are in the right mood is really delicious. If you want say, a sandwich or a slice of pizza, not so much.

But I like this place for lunch because it’s cheap, fast, and simple, and the fact that there really are no decisions to be made is sort of nice, sometimes. In the summer it’s great because they open up all the windows and you get the outdoor eating experience on the east end of Hawthorne, but with the roof Jared desires in an eatery. Jared’s main complaint this time was that he wished the chips were “better,” so I told him next time we could bring our own, or better yet, get the bowls to go. Then you can eat them with whatever damn chips you want, right?

Veggie options: No meat on the menu. It’s gluten free as well.

Speed: No cooking required

wholebowl1

Rice Junkies

Posted by Brooke in Bento - (2 Comments)

ricejunkies

3535 SE Hawthorne blvd

Rice Junkies on Urbanspoon

Date of Visit: November 23, 2009

Price for 2: $16.50

The first time I went to Rice Junkies I had gotten a thai chicken wrap. I think it was an homage-order to the weird-hippie-burrito place we used to go to in Burlington, VT, because that’s what I always got there. And like the food at the weird-hippie-burrito place it wasn’t really that great. My main complaint people there was too much tortilla and it wasn’t heated up enough to be soft.

So on this visit, I figured I’d give one of the bento bowls a shot. They basically have the option of any sort of bento (basically meat and rice) you could ever want, including a Mexican-style one. After I got done being confused by that option in a very Asian-seeming place (there was even a bit of a language barrier with the ordering process), I went with the gyoza and yakisoba combo. It was hardly bento at all but it sounded delicious.

Jared got a kung pao tofu wrap, which came out a few minutes before my bowl (even though we ordered them on the same ticket.) Unfortunately, it was actually chicken, which they apologized for profusely and quickly re did. But the tables turned as I then got my food before him and quickly doused it in the plethora of sauces provided (yum, spicy peanut sauce.) Basically what I got was noodles with vegetables that provided a bed for 4 pieces of chicken gyoza. It was visually appealing and tasted damn good. No complaints from me.

Once Jared got his correct order he was also happy. The wrap (I kept calling it a burrito and he yelled at me because it was offensive to his deep Hispanic heritage apparently) was “spicy, but not too spicy” and very-Americanized, but overall good. We both left happy and full and the price was definitely right. After this trip I’ll give this place a stamp of approval.

Speed: Quick, but not timed well

Veggie options: Pretty much everything on the menu had a veggie option, except the gyoza

ricejunkies1

Kung Pao Tofu Wrap

Gyoza and Yakisoba combo

Gyoza and Yakisoba combo