Food picks for those not in the ‘heart of the city’

For those of you who don’t live in the trendy downtown area, don’t think you’re missing out; these are some foodie treasures in your own backyard.

For those of you who don’t live in the trendy downtown area, don’t think you’re missing out; these are some foodie treasures in your own backyard.

Alchemy on Main

250 E. Main St.
Let me first say that if you go in for breakfast, prepare to leave a diabetic. In my opinion, the best thing on the menu is the French toast. Yes, I know, it’s French toast, how good can it be? Well, when it’s made out of their blueberry croissant roll dough, it’s incredible. Coupled with the fruit salad with fresh pomegranate, you can’t go wrong.

Venetian Theatre and Bistro
253 E. Main St.
If you’re searching for a little touch of class in downtown Hillsboro, you’ve found it. In the newly renovated Venetian Theatre, this bistro stands out as a delightful testament to fine wine, creamy soups and unbelievable paninis. My favorite is their Tuscan chicken panini. If you’re thinking two slices of bread toasted around food—you’re wrong. The Venetian wraps fresh dough around the chicken, Parmesan and mixed greens, and then bakes it all together. The whole thing may look like a calzone, but it’s a panini of the highest accord.

Lupe’s Escape

19405 S.W. Tualatin Valley Hwy.
This restaurant looks tiny, and when you pull up you wonder if there’s even going to be a place to sit. But believe me, you’ll want to stay. Lupe’s has a great lineup on their menu, and they’ve got even better prices. Patrons are met with a generous amount of fresh and delightful food. The service is impeccable and the conversation is lively and fun. You might want to consider ordering seconds just to take some home.

Nonna Emilia’s Ristorante Italiano

17210 S.W. Shaw St.
First off, don’t eat lunch if you plan on having dinner at Nonna’s. The portions are incredible, and you probably won’t even want breakfast the next morning. Nonna’s is an incredible taste of old-world Italian cuisine. The atmosphere is relaxed, just like your Aunt Julie’s kitchen, and the food leaves you weak in the knees but begging for more. My second suggestion would be to stray from the norm, forget the regular alfredo and marinara sauces and try the Emilia sauce. It won’t let you down.

Cedar Hills

4190 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd.
This is a fun restaurant. It’s bright, entertaining and, above all, the food is great. I like it because there is a lot of variety compared to most other Mexican restaurants and they don’t skimp on portions. I ordered my new restaurant stand-by, the chicken enchiladas, and was not only satisfied but also thoroughly filled up. The enchiladas were big and had lots of flavor. A great spot if you’re heading into downtown and need a quick bite to eat on the way.

McMenamins Cedar Hills
2927 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s a McMenamins, and it’s the same as all the others. Well, not really. The menu is a bit different at each location, but the Cedar Hills location has the best staff ever. The beer selection is always great and the bartenders are also pretty good with the drinks. They’re polite and ridiculously helpful—that and the really laid-back atmosphere are what make this spot a must for those tired of the fast-paced Portland eateries.