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The Lauretta Jean’s biscuit

Image: Michael Novak

FORGET DUCKS VS. BEAVERS, bicycles vs. cars, vegans vs. pork-etarians. Portland’s most delicious feud begins with a question: “Who makes the best biscuits?” We boldly went where few would venture, into a highly caloric swirl of butter and flour, to chew over the city’s most sought-after bundles of joy. The single rule? Only unadulterated, standalone biscuits qualified—no hiding behind gravy. Our five-point fantasy lives on impeccable flakiness (texture), a crunchy, judiciously browned exterior (crust), and infallible salting and, not least, heavenly taste (flavor). 

Lauretta Jean’s

Score: 15
Crust 5 | Flavor 5 | Texture 5
Extras: Strawberry freezer jam, maple bacon butter
Tasting Notes: The croissant of biscuits—light, rich, and airy, with layer upon layer of buttery crumb. Tender and crunchy in all the right places.

Tasty n Sons

Score: 15
Crust 5 | Flavor 5 | Texture 5
Extras: Warm berry compote and whipped cream
Tasting Notes: Erin’s Sweet Biscuits are small but sweet indeed, more dessert than wake-up call. Made entirely of flake, with a sugary crunch on top and powerful butter flavor throughout.

Country Cat

Score: 14
Crust 5 | Flavor 5 | Texture 4
Extras: Butter and jam
Tasting Notes: A textbook biscuit, just shy of the perfect crumb density. But the outer crust is fantastic, like the best pie crimp … so good.

Screen Door

Score: 11
Crust 4 | Flavor 3 | Texture 4
Extras: N/A
Tasting Notes: The leaning tower of biscuit. Supremely crunchy on the outside with crisp, golden strata popping out like baby biscuit stalactites. Interior is yellow with butter, but no distinct flavor.

Pine State Biscuits

Score: 10
Crust 4 | Flavor 3 | Texture 3
Extras: Marionberry or strawberry jam, butter and honey, apple butter, or pimento cheese
Tasting Notes: Good-lookin’, puffy biscuit. Nice, crumbly interior, but heavy on the salt and bland all around.

Podnah’s Pit

Score: 9
Crust 4 | Flavor 2 | Texture 3
Extras: Apricot jam
Tasting Notes: A butterball of a biscuit, leaking fat from the bottom. Oversalted, with a faint flour after-bite. But love that nice, bronzed exterior.

Simpatica

Score: 9
Crust 4 | Flavor 1 | Texture 4
Extras: Orange marmalade, fig jam, pear butter; varies seasonally
Tasting Notes: Nice texture; a flaky crunch on top and bottom and muffin-like center, but batter needs more salt. An ammonia-like aftertaste cries of too much baking soda.

Bertie Lou’s

Score: 8
Crust 1 | Flavor 4 | Texture 3
Extras: N/A
Tasting Notes: Soft and anemic on the exterior. Oddly cakelike from crust to epicenter, but a very pleasant buttermilk flavor top to bottom.

Tin Shed

Score: 6
Crust 2 | Flavor 2 | Texture 2
Extras: Raspberry jam
Tasting Notes: Pasty, pockmarked drop biscuit. Exterior has a bare hint of crunch. Overall, too much salt, a little dense—basically, a nonstarter.

Gravy

Score: 5
Crust 1 | Flavor 3 | Texture 1
Extras: N/A
Tasting Notes: Big, browned top with no bite. Dense interior is like a pancake, except drier. Flavor is strangely sweet and mild, like an egg bread without the egg.

1 I’ll pass | 2 Better than Pillsbury | 3 Mom would be proud | 4 Gimme two | 5 Biscuit fantasy

This article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.

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