Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media


4005 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Thanh Thao on Urbanspoon

Date of Visit: October 29, 2009

Price for 2 (with tip) $16

Though there was nothing particularly Vietnamese or Thai (as the sign implies) about the lunch I ate at Thanh Thao, it definitely is in the running for my favorite new lunch spot on Hawthorne. Today’s visit was actually our second attempt to each there. The first was on Tuesday, the one day a week they are closed. That day, we ended up eating at No Fish, Go Fish right across the street instead, so it wasn’t all bad.

Thanh Thao is decent sized and was nearly full with diners, which is always a good sign. We were seated quickly and given the lunch menu, which includes a list of lunch specials as well as some classic dishes and tons of drinks. I resisted a cocktail and went with the Chicken with Mushrooms and Snow peas lunch special. All the lunches come with vegetarian hot and sour soup, a spring roll, fried or white rice and fried won tons. Jared also ordered off the lunch menu, getting sweet and sour tofu. Like I said before, both of these dishes seemed more “generic Asian” than what I’ve come to expect at Thai or Vietnamese places, but that’s not to say they weren’t good. In fact, my dish was super flavorful, no added soy sauce needed. At first I was a little bummed that the spring roll didn’t come with any dipping sauce, but then I just started sopping up the extra sauce from my entree with it and was perfectly happy. The best thing on the plate though honestly, was the friend won tons. They were so light and crispy and obviously right from the fryer.

Before we’d even finished eating, the waiter set down the check on the table. This place was winning on all accounts. That is, until I opened my fortune cookie and found NO FORTUNE! I made a little pouty face until Jared opened his and found it contained two fortunes, so I got one after all. And with that, Thanh Thao is a new favorite place for sure. 🙂

Speed: Really fast

Veggie options: It’s the lonest section of the lunch menu, plus all side dishes are vegetarian

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

sweet and sour tofu

sweet and sour tofu

Chicken with snow peas and mushrooms

Chicken with snow peas and mushrooms

So everyday around 11:45 I realize I am starving and that can only mean one thing, it’s time for lunch. I try really hard not to get into a rut or going to the same few places everyday, since Portland is a veritable restaurant wonderland and I often finding myself googling where I should go. Sometimes I will type in “awesome lunch specials” or “best Portland lunch” and usually it recommends places on the other side of the bridge, which I really have to want to try to go to. Anyway, I end up at new places often, and it’s always interesting to see the difference in the lunch menu. Sometimes its just a few less thing than dinner, sometimes less expensive (sometimes not.) And of course since I share my office with a damn tree hugger, vegetarian options are always a concern. So in addition to writing about extreme things, I’ve now added a lunch category to my blog and I will proceed to post my reviews of everywhere we try.

To get started I am going to make a short list of pre approved places, which is really for my own personal benifit (sometimes it’s just too hard to think or be creative so I can always just check back here.)  So my favorites are:

 Thai Thai. Wins not only because of it’s close proximity (right up the street on 14th and SE Stark) but for its soup and $6.50 lunch special. I like the spicy noodles. The tofu is a little bit dry though, I usually opt for chicken.

Indian Chaat House. Even though this one is on the other side of the bridge (12th and SW Yamhill) the lunch special is worth it. More food than you can eat in one sitting, changes every day, and it’s only $5.50. Now I always complain that it justed to be $4.25, but that’s still cheap. Oh yeah, and it’s completely Jared-approved.

Pepinos. This is probably my favorite mexican joint, on 39th and Hawthorne. You can get a burrito or tacos with chips for under $6, they serve beer for those rough days, and it’s pretty quick. Veggiewise they have a lot of unique options, and there is a salsa bar.

Vegetarian House. So I like meat, like really, a lot. But the lunch buffet at Vegetarian House again makes it worth the trip across the bridge (it’s on 5th and W Burnside.) This one is $6.50, but for all you can eat and includes tea. They also play weird Chinese TV, so you sort of feel like you are getting cultured.

 Mio Sushi. There are a bunch of these, but I usually go to the one on 42nd and Halsey. They have a pretty decent lunch special menue (ranges from $6-$9), though I often just splurge and get rolls. The crunch roll is pretty much the best thing ever and as it turns out, sushi isn’t that expensive if you don’t get booze.