Why: About four years ago, I stopped in at the Pioneer Street Cafe for dinner and was not at all impressed. Soon after placing my order, the waitress made her way to the kitchen and then the hum of a microwave filled the air -- but that was then.
• Why: Gourmet burger enthusiasts take note: Killer Burger has come to town.
Provecho Mexican Grill offers authentic cuisine in a casual dining setting.
Why: This month is the fifth anniversary of Twilight Pizza Bistro in Camas. They have quite a following among Clark County pizza-lovers. Although known for specialty pizzas that are nothing short of gourmet, the restaurant serves some other outstanding items that are all part of Twilight's magic.
Bites and bits make a delightful meal on Camas’ Birch Street
The shopping and dining options continue to impress within the small grid of streets that make up downtown Camas. On a recent visit, I stopped in at the Birch Street Uptown Lounge. It makes a classy first impression without being pretentious and the menu is substantial enough to enjoy a small healthful meal.
Prairie Bar & Grill is a family-owned and -operated establishment with a full bar, pool tables and live bands scheduled for most Friday and Saturday nights, but food has become the largest part of the business since 2000. Regular menu revisions keep favorites around while adding new selections for patrons to try.
Why: After years of Subway’s domination as the go-to place for a submarine sandwich, it could be that Jimmy John’s is bringing some competition with fresh subs that are, as they claim, “Just like Mama used to make them.” If your Mama made the best, it’s likely that you will agree.
When I first started working in downtown Vancouver, I was excited by all the lunch options within walking distance of the office. It doesn’t take long, however, for the lower-priced restaurants to start seeming stale and for the cost of the others to add up. Sandwich Box is a new addition to the affordable downtown lunch scene.
Asian -inspired menu includes chicken, vegetarian choices
Why: Tucked into a storefront next to the Salmon Creek Fred Meyer, Bamboo Hut offers healthy Asian-inspired food that’s easy for diners to customize. Sauces come on the side, so you can choose whether to drench your chicken in teriyaki sauce or take it light. Though chicken, salmon and prawns play center stage in more than half the entrees, Bamboo Hut also has a robust vegetarian menu that makes abundant use of tofu and soy chicken. It’s one of the few places around where vegetarians can order pho, a hearty Vietnamese stew usually made with beef broth.
Why: It’s berry season, and it’s hard to get berries much fresher than from the fields. Better yet is getting in-season food at the farm where it’s grown. That’s what happens on Saturdays through December at Mrs. Joe’s Kitchen at Joe’s Place Farms in Vancouver. The kitchen opened about six years ago, said Michelle Shumaker, 48, daughter of Joe Beaudoin, who owns Joe’s Place Farms, an 80-acre farm clustered in suburban Vancouver. The simple menu offerings were inspired by weekend breakfasts with the Beaudoin family.
Why: There’s always room for another carry-out and delivery pizza restaurant. Blazzin Pizza sets itself apart by offering a more diverse menu than many other rapid-production pizza shops, and now has a second location: in the Hazel Dell-Salmon Creek area. (Its first is in Cascade Park).
If you are looking for a go-to Chinese restaurant where cleanliness is a priority, flavors are fresh and a few out-of-the-ordinary dishes offer a bit of adventure, the Golden City may fit the bill. Unpretentiously situated in a strip mall shared by a martial arts studio and a Mexican restaurant, the Golden City offers family dining and authentic dishes.
Why: Known for being fresh and affordable, Mio Sushi has recently opened a restaurant in Salmon Creek. Though just a couple of blocks from Sushi Chiyo, another popular sushi dig, Mio Sushi doesn’t serve its selections on a rotating track. Instead, menu options are made fresh to order to ensure full flavor and optimum quality in every bite.
Coffeehouse stands ready to welcome laid-back literary set
Why: It’s not a school nowadays, but students still come to Bella’s Courtyard, located on the ground floor of The Academy. Instead of attending class, nowadays they hunch over books and laptops as they tackle homework. Tracy Hein, owner of Bella’s Courtyard since June, hopes patrons of the new main Fort Vancouver Regional Library, will join them, along with urban hipsters in search of music and an art scene. The library is scheduled to open in July.
Why: Formerly known as Fa Fa Gourmet, Ying Ying Chinese Restaurant has downsized just a bit and relocated to the former site of Fat Dave’s. The menu includes a wide range of options, all prepared without MSG.