A bachelor’s degree in international language has lent Chaba Thai Cuisine & Sushi's owner, Lawan Seelawongsayree, an advanced understanding of human communication. However, at her restaurant—which she opened in 2004 and where she perpetuates family recipes passed through generations—Lawan speaks to her customers through her cuisine: a language primal yet international and sophisticated all at the same time.
Spicy, sweet, bitter, and citrusy flavors collide in dishes that hold true to Thai tradition while playfully thumbing their noses at stodgy conventions such as chewing. Curry dishes marry sweet coconut milk with spicy red-chili paste, a combination sewn with coriander and cumin threads in the massaman version. With every guest’s meal, Lawan aspires for a dining experience rich with sanuk, a term that denotes fun and pleasure at the table without forcing guests to sculpt mashed potatoes into Bobcat Goldthwait.
The Chicago Dogs crew prepares a menu of American comfort fare from all-beef hot dogs and local ingredients. The eatery’s signature Chicago dog ($2.89) earned accolades from the readers of the Portland Press Herald for its use of authentic ingredients, including celery salt, sport peppers, and housemade relish chopped with a Chicago bus pass. Diners can also select one of nine other dogs, such as the chili-cheese dog ($3.29) or the vegetarian soy dog ($1.99). A six-wing combo ($7.93) positions wing sentinels atop a mountain of hand-cut fries, and a large cheesesteak ($6.79) alternates layers of thinly sliced roast beef with onions, green peppers, and a sprinkle of cheddar-jack cheese. Chicago Dogs also vends a number of soft drinks ($1.95/16-oz.) and crafts five milkshake flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, and orange creamsicle ($3.99).
Owner Geoff Houghton transformed an abandoned 1830s mill into a bustling pub on Factory Island, a place dominated for centuries by the iron and sawmill industries. Today, the only things milling there are Houghton's handcrafted beers, which flow from The Run of the Mill's 14 barrels straight into the bar's taps. These lagers, ambers, and cask-conditioned ales complement classic pub meals of wings, crab cakes, and burgers. The Run of the Mill also organizes a Mug Club, which awards guests who drink 300 of its beers in one year with a handmade ceramic mug, an official hat or T-shirt, and a heartfelt, bar-top eulogy to all the fallen hops.
The kitchen crew at JJ’s Eatery nurses grumbling gastros with hearty homemade eats for every meal of the day. Morning munching commences with create-your-own omelets ($4.50+), or platters of irish eggs benedict ($9.50) accompanied by a mound of corned-beef hash shaped like James Joyce's head. A velvety cup of chowder ($4.50) highlights a bill of noon noshes, which includes 8-ounce cheeseburgers ($8.95), and piping hot plates of mac 'n' cheese speckled with grilled hot dogs ($6.95). Pintsize feasters can practice reading skills and tip calculations with JJ’s Kids Korner menu stocked with favorites such as grilled cheese ($3.95) and hot dogs ($3.95).
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The edibles artisans at Beach Bagels Cafe feed hungry patrons with nine types of bagels and nine cream cheeses, a flavorful bounty of sandwiches stuffed with Boar's head meat and cheese, and 15 Gifford's ice-cream flavors. Ward off early morning vampire advances with a garlic bagel smeared with bacon and horseradish cream cheese ($1.09 plus topping), or take a trip to the batter-paved streets of Belgium with a belgian waffle cloaked in whipped cream and fresh fruit ($7.99). Unruly stomachs that only respond to meat-centric commands can comfort the black and blue burger, a beefy patty encrusted in black pepper and smothered in blue cheese ($8.49), while gastronomes that prefer the garden can nosh on a vegetarian wrap with fresh vegetables embraced in a tomato-basil, spinach, or whole-wheat tortilla ($4.49–$5.99).