Yento Bento

I'm still trying to decide if the blog's quest to tackle the entire Pioneer Place food court is awesome or irksome.

That as I find myself nearly falling asleep at the keyboard to capture the magic of yesterday's trip to the food court, and as I notice that JLowe appears poised to have to repeat his dreadful visit to Cajun Whatever as the clock slowly advances to the "all posts by the end of the next day" deadline that we so strictly follow. Hopefully he gets his post up, because he really, really doesn't want to re-do his experience of yesterday.

It's an interesting time here at the PDX RRbRF blog. We've been in a bit of a hiatus as I've been hording wealth for my recent vacation(s) and JLowe's been trying to maximize his budget. That said, I'm back, and JLowe's on his own in-town vacation right now, and we decided to step out yesterday for some well-deserved hooky.

So we met up at our favorite coffee shop (City Coffee on 4th and Salmon) and, after talking to the proprietor for a bit, headed off to lunch and a movie. How a movie in the midst of my just-back-from-vacation work day? The curious workings of my office, which allow for goofing off when certain pieces fall into place, which they did yesterday. One of those being the absence of my boss, another being a major project removed from my day, one which would have had me out of the office all day anyway. The office rule is, if you would've been gone anyway, and you wouldn't have been available to address anything at your desk, you're nearly required to skip work and take advantage. So the 5 hours I put in yesterday was my gift to my corporate masters. You're welcome.

The movie? Superbad. If this were a movie blog, I'd write about how good it was and how it had me flashing back to college (though it's a high school flick). Perhaps I'll hit that topic on my other blog later. We're about the food here, so back to the point.

The movie (clearly, I've no focus this late at night...) was playing at Pioneer Place at 12:50. We met for lunch at high noon, so we had limited time. I suggested the food court, and JLowe seconded my motion. We headed on down, and began to ponder the options.

JLowe noted that there were still three establishments left for review: Cajun Whatever, Gyros and Grill (which I've eaten at, but failed to post in time--I'll just say it's good, and will provide an actual review some other time), and Yento Bento. I allowed Jeff to decide which way he'd be going, and he went cajun. With the long line at Gyros and Grill, and the no-line at Yento Bento, my decision basically made itself.

Normally I would've shied away from a place with no line and the employee slumped over the counter. I wasn't feeling normal, though, so I walked right up. The employee, who's name I neglected to get, was extremely likeable. We discussed the menu (everything under $6, basically, all meat cooked on a grill over flame) and I asked him his advice on ordering. He explained that the chicken was pretty good, the salmon was surprisingly good, and he had some fresh salmon on the grill. I didn't have time though, so I asked him what chicken dish I should get. He said I looked like a healthy type of guy, so he suggested the chicken and steamed veggies on brown rice. I asked whether I should go for the curry sauce, and he eagerly answered in the affirmative. He heaped my dish together and happily sauced it up, and I was on my way. As far as food court service goes, it was the best I'd had in quite a long time.

I found a table and looked at Cajun Whatever to see JLowe still only half-way through the line. A gentleman, I waited for him to arrive before digging into my food. He was quite displeased with his order, chicken and rice and some veggies. I, on the other hand, was quite happy with mine.

I sampled his chicken, and it was horrid. It seemed fatty and fried. I gave him a sample of mine, fresh off the grill, and he thought it was great. Tender yet firm, flavorful, delicious. I picked around the squash in my steamed vegetables but devoured the baby carrots and broccoli, which all tasted pretty fresh. The brown rice was not dry, which is what I was expecting based on brown rices I've had elsewhere. It may have been the curry, but whatever the reason it was very good,

We were done eating by 12:35, and made our way to the movie. JLowe was grumbling and feeling a bit ill from his lunch. I was happy and full (I couldn't finish the plate) and very happy to have a new place I could go to when I needed a quick lunch, a short line, and a good service experience. Give Yento Bento a shot; I'm certainly glad I did.

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