Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breakfast in Portland.

Kathy & I concluded a long time ago that our favorite meal to eat out for is without a doubt breakfast. And so thank goodness we moved to Portland, because I have never met a city who loved the art of eating out for breakfast as much as Portland. Like, for serious. Portland LOVES BREAKFAST. There are so many places to eat good breakfast here I don't think I'll ever get to all of them, but I am pretty determined about it anyway. Here's a list of our favorites, two years in:

1. The Hawthorne Cafe, SE Hawthorne
Pictured above, from the first time Zoe took us there when we visited in 2007. This restaurant-in-a-house (Portland is big on this business model) is cozy with yellow walls and those classic red-checkered-table cloths, and Kathy & I are so enamored with this place it deserves its own entry. There are two reason: 1) The crepe special, which is $10 and consists of a seasonal fruit crepe, potatoes or fruit, and half of an eggs benedict. Does this seem like a ridiculous amount of food? Yes, but in fact the portion sizes of each are perfect and it completely satisfies my Constant Breakfast Dilemma: Sweet, or Salty? I agonize over this decision every damn time, but the crepe special is amazing because I get both and both are completely delicious! 2) The owner, or at least the guy who is always there and always serves us, is this amazing Iranian fellow who loves his job more than anyone I have ever met. These are the things I never tire of him saying every time we go: "It is my pleasure, madame," "Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh," "We have a very fine black tea," "That comes with a very delicious house po-ta-to," "Always so good to see you, madame," or pretty much any sentence he ends with "madame," which is pretty much every one. I really can't even describe this man, other than to say he is the most amazing man I have ever met after Alan Hankin and Kathy and I are in love with him.

2. Fat City Cafe, Multnomah Village
One of the first places Kathy & I discovered on our own, this is in the uber-cutesy-but-not-in-an-annoying-way Multnomah Village in Southwest. This is the perfect kitschy breakfast diner with license plates and other crazy decorations covering every inch of every wall. I love these places. Walk me in to any restaurant covered in license plates, and I'm pretty much immediately satisfied. I know, it doesn't take much. Also, the place lives up to its name - the portion sizes are riduculously too big. For instance, your normal, say, omelette comes with a SIDE of pancakes (pumpkin pancakes in fall!) which could very well be an entire meal, and a HUGE melt in your mouth biscuit and it overall makes you feel like you want to pass out and die afterwards. So, you know, the kind of meal my family and America are known to enjoy.

3. The Arleta Library Bakery & Cafe, SE 72nd
This little cafe is really close by to us, meaning we can ride our bikes there, which we have done once or twice, and which makes us feel really Portland-y. In fact, its closeness is one of the reasons I like it. We live in the Foster-Powell/Mt. Scott area, which, in a city full of really funky, neat-o neighborhoods, is, well, not a funky, neat-o neighborhood. Powell is busy and full of fast food, Foster is full of run down, dilapidated businesses. But after living here two years I now feel a strong loyalty to it, a kind of love almost, and in the midst of the ugliness, there are these little gems of really great places which gives it that on-the-cusp-of-something-good feel. Arleta Library Cafe is one of them. Another reason I feel loyalty to it is that I'm pretty sure the guy who owns it is from Philadelphia, and they have a big Eagles bumper sticker on their fridge, and we all know how excitedly I latch on to anything East Coast out here. Their menu is relatively small and simple but good. They are one of those Portland places who are so hard core about serving local, good, organic food that they even make their own ketchup. There is also something about the atmosphere there too - the simple front windows with "cafe" written in cursive across the glass; the lazy window fans; all of their produce being shoved in the front display case; the stacks of delicious-looking scones, cookies, muffins on the wood counter - which takes me to someplace slow-paced and romantic, like New Orleans, or Paris.

4. The Cup & Saucer Cafe, SE Hawthorne & other locations
The Cup & Saucer serves up good, reliable breakfast chow, with a really big & hearty menu, including lots of delicious egg scrambles. The scramble = the easiest, most genius breakfast idea ever. Also, the few times we've been there the service has actually been pretty friendly & efficient, which is somewhat rare in what we call the blight of West Coast Service. Which means, it's not difficult to find the friendly part, but it is really, really difficult to find the 'efficient' part. We understand that it is probably a lifestyle thing, and that some people don't care if you have to wait a leisurely half hour to get your check, but, we're not West Coast people, and we do. Anyway, I mainly wanted to mention the Cup & Saucer for their homemade vanilla scones, which you can get instead of toast with your meals, and you should, because they're delicious.

5. The Waffle Window, SE Hawthorne
So we've only actually gone here once but I want to mention it just because I am so taken with the very idea of this place. So it's a window on a side street off of Hawthorne. They serve waffles. It's amazing. A waffle window! Seriously. Portland is awesome.

Hey, this was really long. Sorry. I really like breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. mmmmmm..... i love that crepe special.

    as well as his very fine black tea. "i drink it myself!"