Pete Lee

Thursday, March 10, 2005

EPICURE: Chicken & Salad at Haggen's Deli

As an engineer for a small networking products company, certain sacrifices have to be made when things get busy. This includes leaving the office for a sit-down lunch at a quiet restaurant. While the Greater Portland Suburban Disaster Area does have a smattering of excellent ethnic restaurants (undoubtedly encouraged by the equally ethnic engineering teams at Intel), they require driving a distance which is sometimes daunting because of traffic. The concept of "walking" is novel in suburbia.

Tired of patronizing the nearby Slaveway (er, Safeway), I drive the next two blocks over to Haggen Food in hopes of finding something other than the filling--albeit greasy and eventually monoflavorific--"Chinese" counter. I opt for the Fried Chicken and Salad deli combo ($5-6) and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the chicken, as well as the quality of the salads.

The chicken is raised by Draper Valley Farms, a local grower in Washington, and is prepared and cooked fresh on the premises. Same for the salads. The vegetable and noodle salads are excellent, and are a much better choice than the nearby counter that showcases an empire of deep fried foods drowning in some sort of "asian" sauce.

While New Seasons, Food Front, Elephant's Deli and Whole Foods are clearly my first choice for deli counters, I'd have to say that Haggen's holds its own in cost and convenience for denizens of the 185 and Evergreen area in Hillsboro.

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