Monday, July 28, 2008

Lunching at Lucca

A friend recently said she saw evidence on this blog that going out for lunch is an activity I partake of with some regularity. And to that charge I plead guilty and offer an explanation.

First, it's a good way to judge the quality of a restaurant without the (generally much) higher tariffs found on dinner menus. Second, it's an easy time of day because there aren't pets and people prowling around for their next meal with the threat that if something isn't done quickly there may be payback in my future.

And lastly, it's just nice to take a break in the middle of the day to socialize, something we work-at-home freelancers need on occasion to keep our social skills in the acceptable zone. So when my pal Mary came over, we decided to walk over to Lucca to give their recently-announced lunch menu a whirl.

Mary chose the slow-roasted pork sandwich (photo, top), a juicy mouthful that, instead of the all-too-frequently cloying (and mediocre) barbecue-sauce overpowering the meat, had a nicely spiced chili aioli complementing the smoky tenderness of the pork. And the house-made rosemary-parmesan potato chips are worth ordering as a side on their own and would be perfect with one of the beers on tap.

My funghi pizza provided a thin-crusted but substantial platform for wood-roasted mushrooms, fontina, mozzarella, parsley and truffle oil and was large enough to provide lunch for the next day (or, as it turned out, a snack for Mr. B when I got home). The crust was nicely blistered but not overdone, showing the care the kitchen takes with all of its wood-oven items.

Lucca's location on the southwest corner of the block makes it a perfect place to sit outside, and their very comfortable chairs and well-placed umbrellas take the threat of heat prostration off the list of concerns. The prices are all in the moderate range, with starters and sandwiches all under $10 and the good-sized wood oven pizzas just over that.

And, as we found with the dinner we had there, it was comfortable enough for a casual mid-day respite with a friend yet has the class to be a successful spot for a business lunch. Not to mention the fact that there weren't any pets (or people) whining pathetically for dinner.

Details: Lucca, 3449 NE 24th Ave. Phone 503-287-7372.

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