Why We Like It If the world suddenly flooded with gravy, the buttermilk biscuits at Pine State would make handy lifeboats. While you can order them smothered with diet-wrecking sausage gravy, these light mounds of flour and butter are also sturdy enough to bookend the Reggie Deluxe, a four-layered beast of a sandwich stacked with fried chicken, a fried egg, cheddar, bacon, and gravy. It’s one of five biscuit sandwiches that earned Pine State Biscuits its reputation back when it was merely a rickety booth at the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University. Yet Pine State’s got plenty more methods of biscuit delivery. Smear them with homemade pimiento cheese, or even gobble them up—gasp!—plain. But it’s a test of biblical proportions to resist the scent of the sublimely creamy sausage or shiitake-mushroom gravy bubbling away on the stove.
The Scene Southern goodness delivered by cooks dressed like extras in Jane Fonda’s Workout Challenge , pink V-necks and green sweatbands included. Don’t worry, it’s just the latest form of hipster irony.
Backup Plan Glass chandeliers and exquisite marble countertops lend Mother’s Bistro & Bar (Find It; 212 SW Stark St; 503-464-1122) a refined atmosphere, but the dense, buttery biscuits are down-home delicious; Francis Restaurant (2338 NE Alberta St; 503-288-8299) has also mastered the art of flakiness. —B. Barker
2411 SE Belmont St; 503-232-4458; Brunch served weekdays 9 a.m.–2 p.m.;
weekends 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; closed Tue; wildabandonrestaurant.com
Why we like it First off, they’re big. And by “big” we mean as big as your face, at least, and stuffed to the seams with seasoned black beans, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, and shredded Tillamook cheddar, then topped with generous dollops of red salsa, homemade guacamole, and sour cream. What you bite into is a capsule of controlled chaos, each ingredient holding up its end of the bargain without giving way to the muddled mess that typifies this breakfast standard. The chorizo is optional and will run you an extra two bucks. Pay it. Then cancel your lunch and dinner plans.
The scene Dark, opium-den-red walls, ’70s lighting, and a curiously large fresco evoking the Garden of Eden—basically, Tim Burton’s take on the Renaissance.
Backup plan The folks at Tin Shed Garden Cafe (1438 NE Alberta St; 503-288-6966) pour on the garlic, cream cheese, pesto, and veggies in their sausage-laden Big Hit Burrito; the breakfast tacos at Podnah’s Pit (1469 NE Prescott St; 503-281-3700) get the point across with chewy flour tortillas, egg, cheddar, crispy potatoes, and chorizo that’s just spicy and greasy enough to cure the morning-after blues. —NP
Tour de Crêpes
2921 NE Alberta St; Open Thu 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; tourdecrepes.blogspot.com
Why We Like It Perhaps it’s the handsome accordion player crooning in the corner of this patchworked Alberta Street café that makes a lavender, butter, and honey crêpe seem like the most romantic Sunday-morning fare one could choose. Or maybe it’s that you have to order your crêpe of prosciutto, gruyère, and caramelized onion from the person manning the converted Airstream out back. The mismatched vintage couches and tables made from antique doors also help make breakfast at Tour de Crêpes charming. It’s as though you’re at a gathering of hungry gypsies there to feast on buckwheat pancakes made the true French way, or to dig into a lemon curd–and–powdered sugar number, or the smoked salmon, dill, and chèvre combination. By the end of your meal, you’ll feel like singing.
The Scene Dreadsters, spinsters, hipsters, and kidsters all under one tin roof, playing cards, sipping tea, drawing, poring over the “I Saw You” section, or hatching the next cultural revolution.
Backup Plan The Press Club (2621 SE Clinton St; 503-233-5656) houses a more nuanced, postmodern crêperie with edgy local art to peruse while you wait for your Garry Trudeau crêpe (egg, pesto, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella). For night owls, Le Happy (1011 NW 16th Ave; 503-226-1258) serves crêpes only after dark (and well into the wee hours). Try one of the savory crêpes like the Champignon—mushroom sauce, gorgonzola, and half a steak—and breakfast for dinner starts making a lot of sense. —CD
2338 NE Alberta St; 503-288-8299; Breakfast served weekdays 7 a.m.–3 p.m.; weekends 7 a.m.–4 p.m.; francisrestaurant.com
Why we like it In a classic display of Pimp My Breakfast hubris, the cooks at Francis use extra-thick rolled oats, blanket them with real maple sugar (made from real Vermont maple syrup), then take a blowtorch to them. What emerges is fiber with flair: a bowl of crunchy, gooey—and let’s not forget healthy—oatmeal brûlée served over fresh sliced apples, pears, and currants. Pour a little milk or cream around the oat moat at the edge of the bowl and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal the likes of which the Quakers would approve.
The scene On weekdays, Alberta’s late risers and freelancing café dwellers can be spotted staring out of Francis’s long, Edward Hopper-esque windows.
Backup plan Coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric make a morning appearance along with raisins, dates, and apricots in the Moroccan-style oatmeal at Old Wives’ Tales (1300 E Burnside St; 503-238-0470). —NP