Do you ever find that different people are constantly coming to you with the same question? I have friends who I turn to when I want to know how to sew something and others I ask how to keep my plants alive. And Erik probably has to answer more of my medical questions than he does his own patients.
I am known to my friends as the one who recommends where to go out to eat. I have lists in my head of restaurants. Lists that include where to bring people from out of town, where to grab a quick lunch, where you should go on your anniversary… So many lists, in fact, that I thought I should compile them here.
My favorite list to make is the one that involves people visiting from out of town. This is my favorite because you have a limited amount of time to cram down the best food Portland has to offer. And it is worth it.
This posts list is… Drumroll please…
Where should I take out-of-towners for brunch?
Unfortunately for non-natives, the experience of waiting two hours to get a table isn’t that appealing. I don’t mind so much at dinner when I can grab a cocktail and snack on something, but waiting for breakfast is not my favorite. Unfortunately, this is when waits are usually the longest. So I either go early, on a weekday, or pick some non-typical spots.
Broder: Scandinavian Deliciousness on SE Clinton
This is one of my favorite brunch places in town. If you aren’t well-versed in Scandinavian dishes think smoked trout hash; Danish pancakes that are way more like donuts than pancakes; breakfast boards piled high with walnut toast, cheese, ham, and a perfectly cooked egg; and roasted apples. The flavors are just unusual enough to be delightfully different, but not so unusual that you find yourself sticking out your tongue wondering what in hell it just tasted. Oh, and if you are there later in the day and want some lunch, the Swedish meatballs make Ikea’s taste like they come from a furniture store. Oh wait, they do.
Seating: Limited, no reservations
Wait: Long, coffee provided for free and seating next door at bar while waiting
Price: A little spendy for breakfast, but not crazy.
Simpatica: Foodies Do Brunch
This place is only open on Sundays for brunch (they do catering and an amazing dinner on the weekends as well). The wait is looo-ooong, but the food is worth it. They serve a typical NW breakfast with a seasonal rotating menu. Once I had this roasted beet and carrot hash, with a fried egg on top, that was so fantastic I had to recreate it, here. And as an eggs benedict groupie, their’s can compete with the best in town. Also, their Bloody Mary is not too shabby if you are into that sort of thing.
Seating: Family style, reservations only for 8 or more
Wait: I’ll say it again looo-ooong, but they provide coffee in the hallway while you stand there starving.
Price: Surprisingly reasonable. Not cheap for breakfast, but for the quality it is amazing.
Tasty n’ Sons: Tapas for breakfast?
Okay, so this place won restaurant of the year last year, and for a good reason. It is scrumptious. Brunch here will not help you lose the last five pounds, so swear off your diet for at least one morning. My only complaint is about the tapas style of serving. Food comes out as it is ready, not when the entire table’s food is up. For some reason, sharing two slices of french toast with a berry compote and whipped cream with four people just feels wrong. It is also wrong for three people to get their food ten minutes before the fourth person, leaving him to drool on the table while staring at the kitchen, hoping his food is up next. So, if you go, plan on ordering as a table and sharing. Oh, and get the shakshuka, a tomato stew with sausage and baked eggs. I have had it at both breakfast and dinner and it is fan-fricken-tastic.
Seating: Family style and individual tables. Large place.
Wait: So long that I have been turned away, saying they will not have any tables until breakfast ends. You can walk around a bit and get coffee or shop at some cute stores. Go early or on weekdays.
Price: Probably the most expensive of my brunch options, considering the tapas style makes you want to order everything off the menu. Worth it.
Tasty n sons
Subrosa: When you aren’t in the mood for the hype.
This is a tiny Italian restaurant up the street from my house and I probably go here more for breakfast than any other restaurant on the weekend. The food is good and simple, the service always friendly (helps that my book club/former Brownie trooper is a server – Hi Erin!), and the wait is typically non-existent. I am sure every neighborhood has a brunch spot like this, but this is mine. I once recreated one of their dishes, Ma’s Breakfast Bowl, on this here blog because I just love the healthy dish. The scrambles are good and always look out for the specials, because they are yummy.
Seating: Limited, but nice option for one large group. Call ahead.
Wait: 2 minutes at most?
Fehrenbacher Hof: A coffee shop with one killer egg sandwich
This Goose Hollow coffee shop is a quaint and quirky collection of books, furniture, and patrons that welcomes you to skip work and hang out all day. It serves a few things for breakfast, but the best thing they make is a breakfast sandwich. Egg, cheddar cheese, ham (sausage or veggie sausage), tomato, and this AMAZING Rueben sauce made next door at the Goose Hollow Inn. I love that sandwich so much I drive across town in my pajamas to get it. Also, their pastries are yummy and I hear the breakfast burrito is a nice sandwich alternative.
Seating: Victorian house turned coffee shop: small, but with plenty of casual seating
Wait: As long as it takes them to fire up the broiler and make me my sandwich!
Fehrenbacher on Yelp
Portland Farmer’s Market: Something for Everyone!
As you may imagine from my partial locavore lifestyle, I spend some time each week at the farmers’ market. Typically, I go by myself to grab the farm-fresh eggs and plump, bruise-free berries before anyone else. But, when I am lucky enough to drag someone with me, I also make them eat breakfast. There are so many options, I can’t possibly list them all, so I will just name off a few of my favorites.
Pine State Biscuits: Their egg, fried chicken, cheese, and mushroom-gravy biscuit sandwich is so popular they now have two store fronts in SE and NE Portland. This thing will blow your socks off.
Verde Cocina: This is Mexican/NW fusion is the smartest combination I have seen since salted caramel. They take farm-fresh produce and cook it with Mexican flavors and styles. The Huevos Rancheros with a white bean and garbanzo mash, piles of sauteed carrots and kale, and free-range eggs is healthy without tasting healthy. My favorite…
Tastebud: These people make wood-fired bagels and pizza right in the market. The bagel toppings are scrumptious and if you are having the kind of morning that requires pizza, this one hits the spot. They always mix it up at Tastebud, so try their seasonal pizza or rhubarb lemonade.
Portland Farmers’ Market Stats
Seating: Benches, grass, standing… Whatever you want.
Wait: Longest at Pine State and shortest at Tastebud
The Big Egg: A Blind Recommendation.
In all truthfulness, I have never been to The Big Egg, but this food cart in the Mississippi Marketplace pod is rumored to have the best egg sandwich in town. I was going to try it out before posting, but apparently they are closed due to a death in the family for a few weeks. Luckily, the four over-the-top gushy recommendations for the cart have inspired me to include it on this list. Partly because it is made from a food cart and people visiting Portland should visit a food cart at least once. I will update this once I get a chance to sink my teeth into one of those famous sandwiches.
Seating: Ample outdoor seating
Wait: Rumors say LONG – like 45 minutes for a breakfast sandwich!
Big Egg Facebook
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