Watson Hall – 1/12/13

4stars

Watson Hall
503.616.2416
12655 SW 1st Street
Beaverton, 97005

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Brunch in our Beavertown

One of our favorite dinner spots Decarli recently opened a new bar (on 1/7/14) around the corner from their main location and when I saw they would be offering a Sunday brunch plus this Sunday would be their first seating I figured we should get in before the hordes find out. Apparently the space they took over had been home to a few failed neighborhood dives over the years that I vaguely remember walking past. Upon entering the first thing I noticed were the crazy huge chandeliers that hung overhead just in front of a cool “penny top” bar that was against a wall that split the space roughly in half. They also had a shuffleboard table to the right side of the restaurant and a nice open view to the kitchen in back. A large button cushioned wall with tables in front of it lined the first 30 feet of the left side of the room and we took a seat at the last table next to some “high-tops”. We were immediately greeted by what I assumed to be our waitress but more likely was be part of the management team since she rushed off to get me a coffee and tagged in “Miami” who came over to ask if we would also like something to drink. I rarely have alcohol in the morning but it had been awhile since I enjoyed a Bloody Mary so I requested that to go with my coffee and Carly asked for a Mimosa.

The brunch menu was simple with exactly 13 items listed 12 of which I would happily enjoy for a meal (not a fan of oysters). Carly zeroed in on the Chicken and Biscuits with gravy which likely would have been my choice but I didn’t want to double up on our selections when there were many other delicious choices. I asked Miami what we should get and he pretty quickly pointed out the Benedict under the oyster option as a personal favorite. I rarely deviate from an enthusiastic suggestion like that so I figured now would not be the time to start and went with his choice. The first item to arrive was the pear fritters and after my first bite I was tempted to put in an order for a second round considering how ridiculously good they were but after another 4 bites the sweetness began to build and I opted for a single basket only this time. I was already feeling pretty full from both my bloody mary and the fritters when my Benedict arrived but it seemed like I might still be able to put it away considering it was just a couple eggs with toast but that changed after just a couple bites when I picked up on the hidden avocado and richness of the cream sauce. The potatoes were so perfect that i didn’t even need any ketchup as they were perfectly crispy and bite sized. I did try a little of Carly’s Chicken and biscuits and while tasty they didn’t beat out my selection for breakfast. Big thumbs up and I cannot wait until we get to stop back for happy hour or another brunch visit.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Miami was an excellent waiter and very attentive.
4 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Cool darker interior but with one whole wall of windows it doesn’t feel like a dungeon
4 stars

MEAL
Simple menu with delicious selections and the pear fritters are phenominal!
4 stars

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Biscuits Cafe – 7/05/13

4stars

Biscuits Cafe
503.614.2876
16755 SW Baseline
Beaverton, 97006

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Fluffy Biscuits just down the street…

Our friends Will & Rhonda had just arrived the previous evening from Phoenix and we had a full few days planned so hitting up breakfast nearby was ideal so that we could proceed on with the list of activities. We’ve been here many times over the last few years and always been very satisfied with the meals so I expected to have a great repeat visit. There were only a few people waiting ahead of us so we were seated pretty quickly outside on the patio but it must have been before a few of the servers arrived because it was close to 10 minutes before anyone arrived to even bring us water but after that the service was brisk and attentive. I told our friends that their biscuits really are excellent so anything they picked involving them would not be a disappointment while I decided to see what the server recommended. He brought me an omelette of sorts on top of a bed of chorizo sausage with avocado along with potatoes and a biscuit, quite a large meal but certainly a delicious and satisfying one. There wasn’t much said over the next 10 minutes while everyone enjoyed their breakfasts and we decided afterwards that a hike around forest park would help aid in the digestion of the delicious but very lunch brunch we just finished.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
A little slow on the service when we were sat outside on the patio but his breakfast recommendation was awesome.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
They divided the room in thirds inside with half walls where as before it was a large open space, still nothing all that exciting.
3 stars

MEAL
Never been disappointed with the selections here and their biscuits really are amongst the best I’ve had.
4-5 stars

Mireillas Bistro – 6/30/13

3.5stars

Mireillas Bistro
503.430.5845
16755 SW Baseline #110
Beaverton, 97006

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Backyard Bistro

A few times this year as we drove down Baseline (which is just over a mile from our home) we would cruise by Mireilla’s and always say to each other “we gotta remember to go there” well since we spend Saturday at the beach seeing the whole family we decided sticking close to home and finally going to the Bistro would be our plan. If it hadn’t been closing in on 90 degrees we probably would have walked there but it was still a convenience and we might stroll over for their ample happy hour at some point soon. Upon arriving we saw a few people seated int he patio area having breakfast and I figured it was open seating but wanted to at least make contact with a host inside and grab a menu but when we walked in the host was standing with his back to us and busy with something else, I figured it would take a second or two for him to address and greet us but instead after 10 uncomfortable seconds of being ignored I asked if we could sit where ever we liked, he barely turned his body to acknowledge us grunted “yeah anywhere is fine”. Carly nudged me and said “there goes a star” which I found comical in that she’s begun keeping track of our brunch experiences in much the way that I have with mental notes and extra scrutiny.

Anyway we found a seat out on the patio area next to a woman with a book and lop eared Shepard and waited to have some menus delivered (hopefully not by the same guy we just interacted with). Less than a minute later a new less surly individual emerged from the double doors with menus and a smile and I figured one sour puss shouldn’t spoil our outing. He asked what we might like to drink as we scanned the menus, Carly chose a rum-less Mojito and I an iced Latte. The large double sided menu (food one side, drinks the other) had a collection of meals that were Irish and Slavic sounding which I was somewhat surprised to see since I had been thinking it was more a french style bistro. Since the Bistro’s WiFi password was Goulash1 I assumed that might be the item they were most proud of and never having had it before I figured it would be an adventurous selection but when our waiter returned and I asked what a first timer should have he nudged me towards the Croque Madame which is an open faced ham and gruyere sandwich with a fried egg and cup of their tomato basil soup (Croque Monsieur without the egg) which certainly sounded good but without his prodding I doubt I would have selected it first. Carly asked about their French Toast which I knew she was going to be disappointed with since the words Texas Toast came out of his mouth first (she hates fluffy eggy French Toast) instead she got two plates of sides consisting of a biscuit, 3 types of fruit and some strips of bacon.

We sat back sipped our drinks and people watched while we waited for our meals to arrive. The small mall that Mireillas is attached to also houses Biscuits Cafe (another of our favorite local breakfast joints) as well as a few small commercial businesses and is tucked in between come condos and apartment complexes so it receives plenty of foot traffic from the surrounding residents. Our brunch arrived surprisingly fast but considering what Carly’s selections were I imagine mine was the only item that actually had to be cooked or prepared. The size of my meal at first was a bit off-putting seeing as how I’ve become accustomed to chicken fried steaks overlapping a giant plate but I was reassured by my selection with the very first bite.  The sweetness of the gruyere and the buttery flavor of the Béchamel sauce was very complimentary and the addition of the salty ham & fried egg tied it all together very nicely. The tomato basil soup was quite good as well but I prefer more of a creamy soup over the slightly lumpy (more authentic) version which this was. Carly’s meal was somewhat difficult to judge seeing as how the only item that had more than one ingredient was her biscuit which while tasty was not the typical fluffy flakey kind I was expecting and had a denser more crumbly texture. After breakfast we wandered inside to pay our tab and noticed they had a baked good case populated with many colorful desserts and we decided to pick out a few to enjoy later. Although they looked like fluffy french pastries they ended up being more like muffins with sweet cream on top that a cupcake or other “lighter” baked good (it didn’t occur to me to take any photos unfortunately).

GALLERY

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SERVICE
When we first walked in the fellow behind the counter kept his back to us and did not greet until I asked if it was open seating
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Nice bistro theme and color palette carried throughout the interior and a large patio outside
3.5 stars

MEAL
A wonderful tasting sampling of breakfast foods and plenty to lust after on the lunch / dinner menu as well
4 stars

Elmer’s – 6/9/13

3stars

Elmer’s
503.466.9699
1250 NW Waterhouse
Beaverton, 97006

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My mom was in town again to hear some Jazz music with friends so the following morning was a little rough on her senses. She wanted to get back to the beach before it got too late so we decided a local favorite that we’d visited many times would be Sundays brunch spot. There is almost always a line and a wait and today was no exception, Carly put our names in and we walked back outside to soak up some sunshine. If you’ve never been to an Elmer’s you might want to compare it to a Denny’s from the outside appearance alone but I’d say Village Inn would be inline. We were seated pretty quickly considering the god squads that had just shown up from all the local houses of worship letting out after salvation was achieved. The waitresses were just clearing off a large table and separating it back into 4 individual ones in the room where we were seated and a woman with two rowdy kids had just gotten up to leave as well so it was suddenly quite as we sat down. The waitress handed us the thick plastic coated menus filled wi th bright colors of meals that were mostly topped with whipped cream and fruit but I knew from experiences to steer past the eye candy and go for the skillet selections which have always satisfied th e “Country Comfort” this time around, Carly opted for Oatmeal and sausages while mom picked a Benedict I believe (I was still a bit groggy). Our meals arrived just a few minutes after our coffees and juices, surprisingly quick considering how packed the place was. My skillet was just as tasty as I had hoped it to be but I did kinda miss not having more chicken fried steak with it, Carly and my mom both appeared to like their meals as not much more than a few crumbs remained. All in all a delicious breakfast even if it wasn’t as adventurous as many of the past outings.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Always busy but very efficient service that has rarely made mistakes
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Feels the same inside as when I used to go with my parents back in the early 90’s, welcoming and comfortable
3 stars

MEAL
Reliably tasty selections but rarely have I gone for anything other than breakfast
3.5 stars

Cafe Murrayhill – 5/12/13

2.5stars

Cafe Murrayhill
503.590.6030
14500 Murray-Scholls Dr, Suite 103
Beaverton, 97007

 French Toast Eggs & Potatoes Latte

Completely average in every way…

We’d forgotten that with Mothers Day on Sunday a normal casual trip to any new brunch location was going to be a challenge so we scrambled down to another local place not far from our base camp in Beaverton. I hadn’t seen anything in particular that led me to believe Cafe Murryhill was going to be anything other than what it was, it had an average rating everywhere I looked so I shouldn’t be all that surprised that it lived up to those reviews. The waitress was polite but seemed completely disinterested in her guests and it seemed to take forever just to get some additional coffee and the ketchup I requested never materialized. This was also the first time I’d ever had poached eggs that ended up being soft boiled with almost now runnyness to them. The bacon was thin and crispy but pretty standard and the biscuit while moist was rather bland as well. I guess without setting a lo-bar we wouldn’t know how well some of our other destinations have exceeded the averageness that is Cafe Murrayhill. If it’s close to you it’s a perfectly fine destination but otherwise I wouldn’t go out of your way.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Distracted and disinterested in their customers.
2.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Positioned on a nice little pond but inside is rather standard.
3 stars

MEAL
Exactly what you would expect selection wise and a completely average meal.
2.5 stars

Honey Toast Cafe – 4/27/13

3-5stars

Honey Toast Cafe
502.747.2712
12520 SW Farmington Road
Beaverton, 97005

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Honey Toast Hangover…

We’d driven by The Honey Toast Cafe many times over the last few months and figured at some point we’d be too sleepy to go to the other side of town and opt for something in our neighborhood and today was that day. We were both hungry around 9:30 am but the cafe doesn’t open until 11 so we had to linger at home until it got a little later in the day, upon arriving it was apparent that there was a line of people waiting to get in as soon as they opened because every available seat in the rather small establishment was filled and we had to wait about 8 minutes for someone to finish and leave. The cafe is inside a converted bank and has giant 2 story arched windows along one side and a second level that looks like it’s used for evening entertaining. We sat along the front at a tall table and waited scanned the menu while waiting for the waitress to come for our order. At first glance it doesn’t look like a large selection since 1/4 of the double sided menu is devoted to the restaurants namesake “Honey Toast” but there is actually quite a bit too choose from when you include the appetizer section and even though there was no daily special present they did have a lunch special which included a half panini with a salad and an app of your choice along with coffee or tea all for $6.95! We had already decided we would be ordering one of the original giant honey toasts so it seemed like the lunch special would be the smartest option to keep from having much in the way of left overs. Carly selected the Roma Panini with sweet potato fries and tea and I chose the Roast Beef with salt & pepper fries (since they happened to be out of Honey Ham) as well as a large Latte.

The panini’s arrived after just a few minutes and I was glad we had selected half sandwiches because of how large they were. The dressing on the salad was good and a nice compliment to the salty fries even through they were just average. Carly’s sweet potato fries were very decent and managed to be quite crispy which is always difficult with a yam. The meals were served with a trio of sauces and a mix of salt and pepper to dip in. We were both quite satisfied with our meals and had almost forgotten about ordering the restaurants namesake until the waitress brought out the giant mound of toast and ice cream. We chose “The Original” since it was our first go around but they had about 5 different flavor and fruit topping options for us to try on any return trips. In the end is really is a big hollowed out block of toasted bread with two lumps of ice cream and honey drizzled on top. While tasty I immediately wished we had some raspberries or other fruit compote to go with it since honey and vanilla ice cream only goes so far.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Food arrived very quickly and the waitress was attentive
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Cool paint job, modern lighting, and giant windows but not a-lot of seating
3-5 stars

MEAL
Excellent paninis and lunch specials but the regular fries are only so/so
3-5 stars

Hall Street Grill – 3/31/13

3stars

Hall Street Grill
503.641.6161
3775 SW Hall Blvd.
Beaverton, 97005

No photos this week since it was just a buffet
of random selections and not as presentable

Easter brunch in Beaver town

A tradition we have begun to establish for Easter is brunch at a local Beaverton restaurant named Hall Street Grill. We’ve been here many times for lunch as well as dinners which are usually quite good if a little spendy but breakfast or brunch is a once a year event. The location is super convenient as its only a few minutes from our home and nearby everything of interest if your a shopper or just want to walk around downtown Beaverton which isn’t all that large anyway. The restaurant is tucked into a commercial district but has a lovely outside dining area framed by trees, their garden space as well as a protected wetlands. The interior reflects more of a ritzy Steakhouse with dark colored woods and a luscious deep red paint job spotted with large framed retro liquor advertising.
Brunch today was a buffet spread which in years past has always been pretty decent and usually carries all the things you’d expect and this year included 4 different types of scrambled eggs. We decided to bypass the main buffet line initially and headed to the carving station for Prime Rib & Ham which only had a couple people lingering around. The meats were decent and even through I got a Prime rib end that was a little dry the flavor was good. We waited for the lines around the main buffet to dissipate before making an attempt to see what was in store for us. They had 4 different types of scrambled eggs, hazelnut waffles, sausage, bacon, eggs Benedict and a huge assortment of baked goods like biscuits and scones. I piled a small sampling of each and every item onto my plate during two visits just so I could experience everything they were offering and what I found is that a buffet is never as good as a pre fixe menu. While many of the dishes we tasty and they was plenty of food to go around many of the dishes were just too dry or not hot enough to be as enjoyable as any of our other meals. The other turn off is the price of $33 per person for a buffet, I’m not saying this is outrageous just that I have had much better brunches for half that much and I’ve gotten to appreciated quality over quantity. I think next year we will avoid the Easter buffets around town and either go the day before or after to get the meal selection we have become accustomed to since starting this journal.

SERVICE
The waitress was busy buzzing aorund but seeing as it was a buffet all I really needed her for was an occasional coffee refill.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A regular stop for us and the interior is warm and inviting with multiple levels and outside seating.
3.5 stars

MEAL
It was a buffet so there was plenty to go around but unfortunately quantity outstripped quality this time.
2.5 stars

Golden Valley Brewery – 3/17/13

3stars

Golden Valley Brewery
503.972.1599
1520 NW Bethany Blvd.
Beaverton, 97006

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Brewery brunch in our backyard…

We had been out at a an event for some friends the previous night and neither of us felt like treading outside our village for brunch this morning so we opted to visit a local brewery that just began serving brunch last month. Golden Valley opened in our area early last year in place of a long vacant Chili’s restaurant and we had visited for both lunch and dinner a few times but having been there for dinner just a few days prior we noted an advertisement showing they had begun brunch service starting at 9am. We ambled in around 10-ish and at first were unsure if they were in fact serving since there was only one car in the lot and not much motion inside but the host that greeted us assured us they were seating. We sat in a both halfway between the bar and dining room and were greeted warmly by a very pregnant waitress with a big bright smile. She returned quickly with our coffee & tea and I asked her what she thought I should try for our first brunch visit there. They had a special Saint Patricks day menu and I half hoped she’d suggest the Shepard’s pie but instead she gave me 3 of her favs from the brunch /lunch menu. I elected for the chicken fried steak & potatoes with a biscuit and poached eggs and Carly chose the club & onion rings from the lunch options. The chicken steak was a bit more “traditional” than I would have expected meaning that the breading was thinner and less crispy than a diner style but the flavor was quite good and the steak was tender. The biscuits looked delicious but was a little dry and required some honey to make it a bit more enjoyable. The potatoes were very crispy but didn’t have alot of seasoning so I wasn’t super enamored with them.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Cheerful service even if there were only a handful for brunch.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
I like the layout for the interior and its got nice wide open spaces with high ceilings and a long bar
3.5 stars

MEAL
Not the best chicken fried steak i’d had but for such a varied menu I’d happily try a few other options.
3 stars

Black Bear Diner – 2/10/13

3 stars

Black Bear Diner
503.646.4507
13435 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005

French Toast with Bacon & Fruit Bigfoot Chicken Fried Steak Giant Fluffy Biscuits

A Lumberjacks worth of food….

Neither of us felt up to trekking through the tunnel this Sunday so I reached into our backyard for the Black Bear Diner just a few short miles down the road and conveniently located across the street from an auto spa where Carly could drop her whip off for a polish. It was about a 17 in minute wait before we were ushered to our breakfast bench and handed our newspaper menus. I was drawn to their claim of a “giant” chicken fried steak accompanied by a trio of eggs a pair of biscuits and a quarter pound of breakfast potatoes. Carly always searching for the perfect French Toast decided that would be her selection along with bacon & fruit. While waiting for our meal we read up on the history of Beaverton on the newspaper menu and watched a short adult entertain the patrons in a black bear suit. Behind the menu on the table and mixed in with the ketchup and other condiments was a bottle of Black Bear branded hot sauce that I knew I’d have to sample as soon as my taters arrived. They weren’t lying about the size of the chicken steak & Carly’s French toast was perfectly crispy. The potatoes were quite tasty but I’m a hash brown guy so I’m still partial to the crispy browns over wedges. Too much food in the end as I could only polish off half a biscuit and 3/4 of the potatoes.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Prompt and friendly with plenty of smiles.
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE
Older style family cafe with warm inviting interior.
3 stars

MEAL
Filling and delicious but I’d try the hash browns next time.
3.5 stars