Sanborn’s – 6/16/13

4stars

Sanborn’s
503.963.8000
3200 SE Milwaukie
Portland, 97202

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BAM cakes and German food

We saw a comedy show the previous week across the street at The Aladdin cafe and before Showtime while walking around the neighborhood I made note of Sanborn’s which curiously had hours posted of 8-2 and was open only a few days a week. I figured we’d find ourselves back at their door front soon and the following week we journeyed back across the river for a bite of German fare. I scribbled our name down and took note of the five others above mine, guessing it would be about 25 minutes we took a stroll around to see what else was nearby but upon returning to check the progress we saw that the same 6 people that were waiting when we arrived were still there and it didn’t look like anyone inside had yet paid their bill so we took a seat and decided to people watch until our turn came. It was still about another 20 minutes before we finally were escorted in and seated smack in the middle of the room at a small square table without all that much elbow room but looking around it seemed as if the space was divided as economical as possible. We had a few moments to look over the menu and I noticed a large chalkboard at the entrance covered in different types of pancakes with creative names and flavors, when our perky waitress arrived her eyes lit up when I asked her to pick something good to bring me while Carly of course chose French toast which has become her default breakfast food the last few weeks. The Internet also advised trying their biscuits and Carly got a side of diced potatoes as well for us to split. While waiting for our chow we rubber necked around the room and noticed the adjacent house was actually connected from within the building where we were seated and they had converted the front room into a bar with additional seating just in front as well as on the deck. Our four plates showed up in short order and we quickly ran out room on our tiny table and had to watch our wrists until we ate ourselves some room. The B.A.M. cake that the waitress brought for me was all that she promised and more, stuffed with Bacon, Apples & Maple syrup and I was glad I decided not to pour any of the included syrup on it since the sweetness was already a 9 out of 10, the smokey bacon bits scattered throughout was the perfect contrast to the Granny Smith apples fanned out throughout the fluffy baked cake. The biscuit was quite delicious as well and the homemade raspberry preserves complimented it quite nicely and even the diced potatoes came out quite good and tasted lightly seasoned with rosemary. Carly was less excited about her French toast because it was light and fluffy while she generally opts for thin and crispy, I thought it tasted quite good but I was too stuffed from my giant cake to make much of a run on her breakfast as well. There were quite a few other options in the menu that caught my eye so maybe next time we have a guest in town we’ll take them for some German cakes.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
The waitress was so excited to choose my selection for me and my coffee & water glasses never ran empty
4 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Rather tiny interior that can be a bit claustrophobic when completely full
3.5 stars

MEAL
German style breakfast fares that are sure to satisfy
4 stars

Genies Cafe – 6/2/13

4stars

Genies Cafe
503.445.9777
1101 SE Division Street
Portland, 97202

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Biscuits n’ Gruvy…

I’d been here one time previously about a year and half ago to met up with some friends before the Portland Auto show and had always planned a return visit with Carly and whomever else wanted a kick ass breakfast, this Sunday was that day. We arrived and parked incredibly easy which has me thinking either I got super lucky or that I’m finally feeling confident in my navigation skills around Portland. We walked in and placed our names on the list and while it wasn’t packed with people waiting there was still about a 20 minute chill time before we were seated. We were directed to the holding zone just past the bar that occupies 1/3 of the restaurant and I figured as long as they weren’t quite ready for us I’d put in an order for something to drink. Carly’s teaching friend Shelly was able to to join us so we would have a cohort to sample more of their menu selections. Genies is apparently well known for their biscuits and gravy (of which they have two, sausage or mushroom) which I sampled last time from a friends meal but this time I planned to let our hipster server pick my breakfast which had worked out in my favor so far over the last few months, he chose the Cajun Benedict that was on special which I had eyed but wasn’t convinced until he enthusiastically endorsed it, I also included a side of the well recommended biscuits and mushroom gravy that Carly and I would share. Shelly went with the biscuit & gravy along with scrambled eggs, bacon and the tiny taters as opposed to the sliced red ones I would be receiving. Carly picked a BLT & tiny taters and would also be sharing my biscuits & gravy. It was really quite loud that morning and every chair at every table was filled with hungry patrons. The orders seemed to flow from the kitchen at a rapid rate and it was only 10 minutes before our buffet arrived hot & steamy. I chomped down on a big bite of the biscuit smothered with the rich smokey mushroom immediately and then begin cutting the tails off the huge shrimp that were on top of my Benedict before trying it. I expected a bit of spice and bite from it being called “Cajun” but it was rather muted even though tasty, fortunately no brunch table in Portland is ever complete without a bottle of Aardvark hot sauce so I added a few shakes over my plate immediately taking it from a solid 6 to an 8.5, the potatoes were also aided by a few shakes of the Vark’ and were super crispy despite they thickness. Shelly & Carly seemed very satisfied with their selections as well and few words were exchanged during the next 5 minutes of initial gorging. It ended up that I couldn’t quite finish all the potatoes of which there were plenty and about 1/3 of the biscuit dish remained after Carly and I had our go at it but both the girls were able to finish off their plates that somehow appeared smaller than mine even which having more occupying them. For my second time here I was very happy with how good it had remained and I look forward to a 3rd, 4th and 30th visit.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Hipster filled tatty and stache’ but all friendly and approachable
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A large three room building with a bar and waiting area occupying one half and the walls covered with locals artwork
3.5 stars

MEAL
All the basics are present as well as kick ass biscuits n’ gravy and the “specials” selections actually are and change often.
4 stars

Vita Cafe – 5/26/13

4stars

Vita Cafe
503.335.8233
3023 NE Alberta
Portland, 97211

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Vegan with a hint of carnivore…

This weekend our friend Megan was in town visiting from Phoenix and participating in a gathering of Vegans that were holding a conference in downtown Portland. As we drove around town during her brief visit we kept making suggestions for Sunday brunch before Megan helpfully picked Vita Cafe. I was a bit wary at first knowing that it was billed as a “Vegan destination” and assumed it would be just buckets of sprouts with fair trade seasoning but after she emailed me the menu I was put at ease. We would be dropping her off at Portland International afterwards so we planned to brunch a few hours before hand and then walk around Alberta street for a bit before heading out. The wait was a little longer than I would have expected considering there were open seats but there was enough activity and interesting things to look at to make the time fly by. We were seated in a massive booth/bench in the corner that was well lit and let us take in the entire restaurant scene. The girls ordered carrot-apple juice while I got a cup of coffee and a raspberry-apple cider to sip on as we looked the menu over. I had seen mention of their huevos rancheros and “corn cakes” as being must trys but I elected to get the carnivore version of the Country Comfort which came with all my favorites of potatoes, sausage, eggs and biscuits n’ gravy while Megan chose the Vegan version of the same and Carly went with the breakfast sandwich, I also requested two of their corn cakes for us to share. The interior of the restaurant was much larger than the outside would lead you to believe and as filled as it was with patrons it never really got all the loud making conversation easy. Our meals arrived after about 13 or 14 minutes and the waiter apologized as he set down the plate of corn cakes that one of them was too small and he would bring a couple more to make up for it, but I hardly noticed as the massive amount of food on our plates made me feel like half a corn cake would never be missed. My first bite of the biscuit and gravy was sweeter than expected which was followed by a flavorful surprise of the potatoes that were super crispy and highly seasoned if not a bit salty. The chicken sausage I also got with the eggs was sweeter than expected but went well with the poached yolk of the two eggs. Carly and Megan both mentioned that their meals seemed a bit salty but overall were satisfied with their selections. We each took a few more bites before tearing into the corn cakes that were studded with nuts and came with a few ounces of syrup. They weren’t really pancakes in flavor and not quite cornbread except perhaps in texture but they were incredibly tasty and we easily gobbled up the 1 1/2 rather large cakes between the 3 of us just in time for the waiter to bring out two more that were almost larger than the plate they sat on. It was an easy decision to get a box to take them home since I had pretty much cleared every morsel from the big oval plate I was presented with. We left very full and satisfied with the meal and I would love to try the huevos rancheros if we find ourselves there again.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Decent and helpful in making a selection but I can always use more coffee.
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Nice cafe style setup with huge booths & tables as well as a breakfast bar in front of the kitchen.
3.5 stars

MEAL
Large Vegan/vegetarian selection and a few meat eater classics as well.
4 stars

Compote – 5/6/13

4stars

Compote Cafe & Bakery
503.234.5689
2032 SE Clinton Street
Portland, 97202

Latte Boozy Soda Poached Stack Breakfast Sandwich  Biscuit with Creme and Compote Sweet Potato pancake Biscuit and gravy Hash browns

Neighborhood Bakery Cafe…

A friend at work had mentioned Compote months ago and I we had plans to eventually get over there but I was told Saturday night to pick a place that a couple of our friends  could meet up with us and rather than pulling out the breakfast book I dredged my memory for the name of the recommended cafe. Getting there was relatively easy and we got to trek over the rarely traveled (for us) Ross Island bridge. We wove back and forth through some sleepy neighborhoods before turning a corner and finding ourselves at Compote. We sat out front street side and pursued the menus while we waited for our friends Katie & Drew to arrive with their 1 year old baby in buggy. The neighborhood is quite aside from the sound of bicycle bells and birds chirping and I actually started to nod off for a bit just as our brunch dates arrived. We shuffled inside to the rather small ordering counter and waited in line to place our orders and then decided the sunny courtyard out back of the restaurant made for a better spot to sit and dine.

I ordered the Poached stack with Gravlax and has browns as well as a single sweet potato pancake, Carly & Katie both chose the breakfast sandwich as well as the biscuit with cream & strawberry rhubarb compote while Drew picked the chalkboard special of the morning biscuits and gravy. I hungrily eyed the stacks of fresh baked goods in their display case up front but decided a latte would be enough to silence my grumbles while we waited Katie & Drew both got boozy soda, I forget which flavor now but they seemed quite thrilled with the taste. We sat and chatted for about 20 minutes before the first biscuit plate arrived and we all broke off a bit of biscuit to enjoy with our drinks. A few minutes later Carly and my order arrived followed a few moments later by Katie & Drew’s. My poached eggs we perfect as I had hoped and the two small round hash brown rings we very crispy and resembled more a potato pancake than the normal mass of shredded starch I am used to. On top of the hash brown coasters we two small piles of cold smoked salmon which was an option aside from the toasted greens that are the default. The flavors all blended quite nicely and I only wished I had 1 more egg to sop up with salmon and potatoes who’s saltiness complimented the naked poached eggs very well. Carly finished about 3/4 of her breakfast sandwich so I tried that as well and it was very smooth and tasty which is a weird way to describe a sausage biscuit but the home made wheat English muffin they served it on is very soft and and had a wonderfully comforting flavor. Katie & Drew seemed equally enamored with their meals as nothing but crumbs remained. Compote is far enough away that it’s unlikely we’ll accidentally find ourselves by it again but I wouldn’t mind a trip though the neighborhood on a bicycle and a stop in for a latte and some baked goods to enjoy at one of the many nearby parks.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
There was a bit of a backup so it took about 25 minutes for our meals to arrive and you bus your own table.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Seating out front and back and a nice light colored interior as well as a grove of bamboo to sit under in the rear.
4 stars

MEAL
Pickled red onions come on the side of most dishes and really compliment nicely, the sweet potato pancake while tasty shouldn’t count as a pancake
4-5 stars

Screen Door – 4/21/13

4stars

Screen Door
503.542.0880
2337 E. Burnside
Portland, 97214

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Downhome delicious…

We had been to Screen Door last July for dinner with my mother in-law and sampled a wide range of their offerings but for no good reason we hadn’t revisited until this Sunday morning. First off, be prepared for a wait, there is a long line before the restaurant even opens and then for the next few hours it remains a 40+ minute wait to be seated, but once inside the service is pretty brisk and you won’t be waiting long after you submit your order. We had visited the Screen Door in July for chicken dinner with my Mother Inlaw and decided a return was warranted to sample their brunch menu. Knowing they had “southern fare/flair” It was difficult for me not to go with something “chicken fried” for breakfast but I decided to put my trust in the hands of our server and order his suggestion of the Lone Star hash plate. Carly chose a massive bowl of fresh oatmeal as well as a biscuit (the oatmeal was slightly delayed so we were given a bowl of fresh fruit as an apology as well). We also picked the hush puppies from the menu hoping they might arrive a little earlier than the rest of the meal, they didn’t. But my Bloody Mary (another server recommendation) did and it was perfectly spicy and contained a garnishment of okra,olive and a wedge of lemon with a spicy salted rim. Probably close to 15 minutes later our spread arrived and our rather tiny two person table suddenly became quite full of a colorful assortment of flavors. The first thing I tried were the potatoes that were along side the pork hash on my plate and I was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful they were with or without any additional ketchup. The shredded pork with the poached eggs was an excellent combination but the jalapeño grit cakes the pile sat upon were a little underwhelming, I think it was prepared perfectly well I just have begun to realize I like to order grits more than actually eat them.

The hushpuppies came with a honey-suryp mix that was thin enough to dunk but not so sweet that it over powered the super crispy corn ball. We split the biscuit which was among the best I’ve ever tried, it was so crispy on the outside I was sure it would be a dry mess when I broke into it but was surprised at just how moist and fluffy the interior had remained. I even got in a few scoops of Carly’s oatmeal for context and really loved the flavor of them even without any additional brown sugar or honey. I had noticed while waiting for our meals to arrive that nearly half the plates coming out of the kitchen were huge stacks of fried chicken on top of a massive waffle and I half regretted not taking that route as well but having been there for dinner I already knew how delicious their chicken is so I was satisfied with my meal in the end.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Coulda used more coffee trips but at least my water glass was never empty
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
The open kitchen looks really cool I just wish we could see more of it otherwise the decorating inside is rather spartan
3-5 stars

MEAL
Delicious and quite large meals, the “grit cakes” were nothing extraordinary but definitely get a biscuit!
4 stars

The Original – 4/13/13

3.5stars

The Original
503.546.2666
300 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, 97024

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First impressions were wrong…

The guide book my friend Nycole gave Carly and I a few months back has been a good asset to compliment the online reviews of many of the places we have visited and this time was no exception. Apparently “The Original” opened as a snooty, trendy, hipster place to get fruit loop flapjacks at 3am but has mellowed over time to the delicious “Dinerant” we visited on Saturday. The only thing remaining of it’s hipster roots is the horribly awkward name of “Diner-rant” (get it, it’s clever because it smashes the word Diner with Restaurant :-/ ) I was drawn to it by the Zagat review first, then by the street view they embedded in their site and finally by the promise of some interesting breakfast mashups like the afore mentioned fruit loop pancakes. I’m not much for pancakes as they tend to be served like frisbees and I can really make them myself (I go out to eat things I cannot or do not want to make myself). Upon arrival we had a moment to pause and take in the establishment which has two floors a full bar and booths as well as tables which I guess helps justify the menus hanging outside that show there to be only a couple hours between closing and opening. We were sat at one of the rather small blue square tables right against a wall of glass that makes up the east side of the restaurant and handed two brunch menus which of course contain references to Portlandia and putting birds on things. There was also a small blue “special brunch” menu with three options on it one of which was a basket of baked goods which for 6 dollars seemed an excellent way to start. We put in for that as well as the typical coffee & tea and began to peruse the menu for our “real meals”.

Right away I saw the word Polenta under the Griddle section and figured it could be something for us to share and experience together since awesome Polenta dishes seem to pop up only now and again like good episodes of Saturday Night Live. I was tempted to steer towards the typical chicken friend gravy covered this or that but I was advised by the girl at the reception counter to try something called a Chilaquiles (Chilly Killy) and I figured since we already had a basket of baked goods and the Polenta I would try something out of my norm that I wouldn’t feel compelled to finish. Carly, ever being the sucker for clever French toast went with the “Elvis Sighting” which ended up being two of the thicket crispiest cuts of brioche topped with fresh banana’s, fresh banana mousse, peanut butter sauce and two giant thick strips of bacon. I knew we had ordered about two items too many as we worked our way through the “goodie basket” that was on the blue brunch sheet. There were two different types of fruit muffins (rhubarb & apple), two different scones (cinnamon & cheese) a tiny bacon maple bar and something called an orange-ricotta gallette that looked like a fried ravioli but was crispy, light and citrusy. We split each of the items in two to samples while Carly cleverly only took one taste of each and then set it aside I hungrily cleaned up every crumb as though it was the only thing we ordered. I had also submitted an order for one of their home-made sodas they bragged about on the back of the menu since with a Foursquare or Facebook check-in they gave you a choice of Soda, Lemonade or Ice Tea. I left it up to Carly what the flavor should be and when the tall flute of Honeydew soda arrived I saw by the wince on her face as she tasted it a mistake had been made. Fortunately with the remaining cold I had in my sinus I was able to chug about 4 ounces down before getting the strangest fruit after taste. It wasn’t horrible but it definitely wasn’t enjoyable. The waitress kindly offered to bring us another flavor but seeing as how it was a freebie anyway and we had a full buffet headed our way shortly I figured we’d opt out.

About another 7 minutes elapsed before our trio of plates arrived each a colorful steaming delight to behold. I lunged for the polenta first seeing as how I was interested to see how the flavors of hunny, bacon & polenta meshed together. There were two 4 inch squares of polenta drizzled with hunny and 4 super crisply slices of bacon and the first second and thrid bites we super savory but then you begin to realize how filling polenta can be and how over powering even an ounce of hunny can be to your sugar sensors. I decided to back off and dig into my “breakfast nachos” as the girl up front had referred to them. The pork was nice and grilled and really complimented the fluffy scrambled eggs & avocado quite well. I didn’t eat too many of the tortilla chips as they really seemed more a part of the presentation than the meal and didn’t have much flavor to them. Carly seemed to be really loving her French toast and I was lucky enough to get a couple forkfulls as well. The banana mousse they had doloped on top of the two super thick cuts of brioche was so awesome it made me want to have just a cup of that as a meal. The combination of sweet and savory for the banana’s, bacon, peanut butter and brioche easily made the the best French toasts I’ve ever tried. From the start I had no intentions of cleaning my plate especially after ordering all the various flavors and we left The Original completely satisfied and filled but not over-stuffed.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Happy, attractive and full of great breakfast advice
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Cool bright wide open interior with booths, tables, a bar and a second story
4 stars

MEAL
Great blends of sweet & savory with brunch offerings, baked goods, home -made sodas & shakes
4 stars

Pine State Biscuits – 3/7/13

4stars

Pine State Biscuits
503.477.6605
2204 NE Alberta
Portland, 97211

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You bet your sweet buttermilk…

This place had been on our list for awhile and I assumed we’d make it to Pine State biscuits eventually but today became the day since 3 of the other places we tried to go were either not open yet, closed permanently or we just simple couldn’t locate the entrance. Originally we found ourselves right next to their Belmont location or rather their former location since it was now closed and under construction but luckily their mainstay on Alberta street was easy to find and had only modest traffic at 9am allowing us to order within a few minutes of arriving. One thing to note upon entering the front door is that you’ll have a very short time to determine what you want to order since you place it at the counter then wait for your name to be called a short time later. We frantically scanned the board and picked out 4 plates to order since everything is a side and they also charge for hunny. We took a seat on two of the stools on the far side of the restaurant just next to the restroom at the end of the cook station which makes up 1/4 of the interior of the rather small restaurant. For the next 20 minutes we watched a frantic ballet of biscuits, gravy and chicken fried this and that be slapped onto plates and shuffled off the counter at break neck speeds. Finally our name was called and our position gave us easy access to retrieve the scalding hot platters topped with steaming gravy soaked biscuits. Along with my “Moneyball” I also ordered a side of hashed browns which completely covered the 10″ plate as well as a side of hush puppies for both of us to share, Carly selected a more mundane biscuit egg sandwich. The first few bites of my gravy soaked biscuit were heavenly and the hash browns were among the crispest I’d ever experienced, the hush puppies while tasty were not the normal cornbread style I had expected and id be unlikely to order again. It became clear after a few minutes that while an empty plate for my meal was achievable the has browns were jut too plentiful to eliminate more than half of. Carly put in a valiant effort for her breakfast as well but bits still remained after the smoke cleared. We both agreed that we would make an effort to return for lunch at some point to the try the much balleyhooed “Reggie” a giant chicken fried steak on top of a biscuit with egg and cheese oozing all around it. We bussed our own table and cautiously shuffled our way through the elbow to elbow traffic that had filled the interior while we ate. Upon exiting we saw that the 6 or 8 people that were waiting when we arrived had quadrupled and wrapped around the corner into a side street. Apparently our early foray worked out in our favor as a 8 minute wait to order is all we had to deal with.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Get your own order and bus your own table
2.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Simple efficient cafe style with a few benches
3 stars

MEAL
Nothin but biscuits…n gravy…. n eggs
4 stars

Zeus Cafe – 3/9/13

3stars

Zeus Cafe
503.384.2500
303 S.W. 12th Ave.
Portland, 97205

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Hip eclectic downtown spot

We had planned to visit Lardo which was across from Cheryl’s on 12th but upon arriving we saw the chairs overturned and all the lights off with no indication they serve breakfast so we decided to choose a fallback location. We parked on 4th ave just down from Harrison street and set off to find the Volkswaffle mobile breakfast truck. After walking around the block twice we determined they were nowhere to be found so onwards to stop number 3 we went. Lair Hill bistro showed that it was only 1 mile away so we decided to walk over since it would be as fast as driving and trying to repack but upon arrival 13 minutes later we were greeted with a “sorry closed for breakfast” sign. By this time I could see Carly was losing patience and the next stop had better well be open so we piled into the Ford and went back to 12th Ave where we ended up at Zeus Cafe. Walking in we were greeted warmly by two different hosts and shown to a table at the back corner of the triangular shaped building directly under a large window with stained glass in it. There was a little activity in the restaurant but not nearly as much as I would have expected considering it was closing in on 11am.

I eyed the biscuits and gravy since they mentioned “Spicy Chorizo” and I was told a shoot time later by our waitress that they were one of her favorite selections as well. Carly once again opted for the french toast a safe bet considering it seemed spicy was posted next to a few items you wouldn’t expect. The stained glass window we were sitting under was spreading a pretty rainbow of color throughout the interior and the warm sweet latte I had ordered was beginning to lull me towards a coma state when our meals arrived. At first glance my biscuits and gravy looked more like a sloppy joe with the rusty brown sausage gravy and the massive biscuit made the plate almost look small, Carly’s french toast was thick cut and I could smell the vanilla before she even cut into it. Each following bite of the biscuit was more delicious that the previous but the spice began to build up rather quickly and even the poached eggs had difficultly putting out the fire that was beginning to brew in my belly. I would have wished the gravy to be a little thinner as it was lumpy enough to easily be a sloppy joe posing as breakfast but the flavor was top notch.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
They werent all that busy when we were there but it still took awhile for the meal to arrive but the staff is very friendly.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Cool eclectic interior on par with other McMenamins
3.5 stars

MEAL
The chorizo gravy was a delicious twist but the potatoes were rather plain
3.5 stars

Cheryl’s on 12th – 3/3/13

4stars

Cheryl’s on 12th
503.595.2252
1135 Sw Washington St
Portland, 97205

Cheesy hash browns Green Omlete Portuguese Fried Rice biscotti beignet

Glass walled corner market, dessert bar, cafe, wine bar…

Chery’s has everything- you want fresh baked desserts? how bout hot soup? selection of wines? We chose randomly this trip and landed at a great corner eatery named Cherly’s. The interior was bright, the seating was nice and open and two whole walls are glass giving you plenty to ogle at while you chow. Before we even put in a drink order two little fluffy sugar coated doughnuts showed up in the middle of our table. I requested a piece of biscotti to go with my coffee which temporarily caused some confusion since our waitress wasn’t aware of what that was. We polished off our sweet per-meal snacks and sipped our coffee and tea while rubber necking around the wide open space. About 13 minutes passed before our brunch arrived, I selected the Portuguese fried rice based off the waitress’s recommendation and its position as number one under specialties and Carly got a more traditional Green omelette stuffed with broccoli, hers came with rather underwhelming rosemary potatoes and I added an order of cheeses hash browns. This might be one of the top 3 breakfasts meals I’ve had but I’m also very fond of rice & sausage dishes. I started sparingly with the hot sauce but upped the ante as the sweet spice was an excellent compliment to the sausage and “brownish” rice. I figured the avocado on top was more for color but it was a wonderful flavor pop and I found myself wishing there were a couple more wedges. I liked the baked cheesy hash browns as well but I found there really can be too much cheese in a dish and wished they were a more traditional naked and crispy spud dish. A lovely meal was had and considering how many items we ordered our bill was a pittance. Walking out the door we noticed a restaurant right across the street with a pig theme named Lardo that we plan to visit very soon possibly even next weekend.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Quick and super friendly although the girl did not know what biscotti was when I first asked.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Lots and lots of light since two of the walls are on streets and completely glass, high ceilings and not too crammed with furniture.
4 stars

MEAL
One of the best selections for me to date, I love sausage in a breakfast and the fried rice was perfect with the avocado on top.
4-5 stars

Jam – 2/24/13

3.5 stars

Jam
503.234.4790
2239 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, 97124

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There’s always a wait

Make sure you don’t come hungry because there is gonna be a wait. We arrived around 10:30 and saw a dozen or so people lingering on the sidewalk with another 8 or 10 inside. I scribbled down my name and made a note of the 12+ entries above ours before we headed back across the street to checkout the bakery & farm market adjacent to Jam’s corner in a residential district, mom had just gotten back from Anchorage the evening before so she was joining us for our weekly outing. We lingered at the market & bakery for about 20 minutes collecting some vegetables and fruit to load into the Ford before checking in to see how the list had or hadn’t shrunk. We spent another 20 minutes around the coffee pot on the sidewalk before moving inside for the final 15 minute count down. After being seated at a booth in the smaller “original” part of the restaurant we quickly placed our order, I chose the Hammer (a ham, swiss & grilled onion scramble with hashed browns and a biscuit upgrade) Carly picked 1 slice of massive french toast with bacon and fruit while mom chose the standard Eggs & Ham over hashed browns. I got a tall latte to start while they both went with hot teas, time passed quickly as we chatted but it was probably 13 minutes or so before our meals arrived. Everyone snagged a bit of my biscuit as soon as the waiter sat my plate down and I must say it was one of the better biscuits I’d had it was dense, not massive, not dry, just right. My scramble was pretty good and the hashed browns while not crispy were seasoned pretty well and the Aardvark sauce they set on the table was the perfect compliment to them. There were caramelized onions & swiss cheese mixed in with the cubed ham that really gave the scramble a little something extra and popped the flavors even more. Considering the size of the menus it seems like a couple weeks of daily visits would be needed to even try a fraction of their offerings to make a proper judgement but the long wait was a bit of a turnoff so try to get there as soon as the doors open to avoid one.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Our host looked like a Portlandia extra but had a fun personality and warm smile to go with his grizzly bear appearance.
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Huge interior with a large bar at one side and a variety of artwork on the walls. (only 1 photo above of original space)
3.5 stars

MEAL
Eclectic menu with many vegetarian & gluten free options.
3 stars