Steak and Eggs
1469 NE Prescott St; 503-281-3700; Breakfast served weekends 9 a.m.–1 p.m.; podnahspit.com
Why We Like It For a while there, we Portlanders couldn’t seem to get enough of hanger steak with eggs in the morning. We saw it in French bistros, at hotel brunches, and even at lowbrow diners. But lately we’ve noticed a few chefs branching out with their breakfast meat, the most impressive of whom is Rodney Muirhead at Podnah’s Pit. Muirhead’s breakfast meat of choice is slow-smoked brisket, and it’s damn near sublime. After cooking for at least six hours, the marbled hunk of meat is sliced and fanned out on a warm plate along with two eggs (however you like them) and fried potatoes. On the side: one of the flakiest biscuits this side of SE Belmont Street (where you’ll find our other favorite biscuit joint, Pine State Biscuits; see p. 42).
The Scene Neighborhood gourmands and Southern expats gather round Formica tables to chow down on biscuits and gravy or breakfast tacos or, occasionally, menudo—all down-home Texas-border fare.
Backup Plan For a more traditional take on steak and eggs, try the flatiron steak at Gravy (3957 N Mississippi Ave; 503-287-8800) or the Cascade Natural New York steak with poached eggs and béarnaise sauce at Bluehour (250 NW 13th Ave; 503-226-3394). —CD
Corner of N Mississippi Ave and NE Fremont St; Breakfast served weekdays 8 a.m.–dark; Sat 9 a.m.–dark; Sun 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Corner of N Lombard St between Denver and Greeley Aves; Breakfast served weekdays 6:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m.–3 p.m.; 503-289-9866; flavourspot.com
Why we like it Owner David Stokamer was stumbling drunkenly through the streets of Reykjavik when inspiration struck: Iceland’s waffle vendors were successfully appealing to citizens’ alcohol-induced cravings, so why not import the idea to Portland? But he didn’t stop at the waffle-butter-syrup combination—he decided to serve up waffle sandwiches. By folding a fluffy, round waffle around inspired pairings like ham and gouda, maple butter and sausage, or Nutella and raspberry jam, he’s created flavor combinations that rank just below peanut butter and chocolate and slightly above the Captain & Tennille on the scale of awesome duos. Stokamer has found such a loyal following, his business has expanded from a lone stand with two waffle irons in a North Portland Videorama parking lot to a primo spot on N Mississippi Avenue with six constantly steaming griddles.
The scene Expect a small crowd of well-insulated neighborhood denizens attempting to stay warm by the glow of the service window as multitasking mothers wait inside idling minivans for their orders to come up.
Backup plan The Waffle Window at Bread and Ink Cafe (3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 503-239-4756) serves the sweet specialty in its more familiar (and equally delicious) square shape. —B. Blasengame
Blossoming Lotus Café
925 NW Davis St; 503-228-0048; Breakfast served daily 8 a.m.–11 a.m.; blpdx.com
Why We Like It Chock full of figs, walnuts, and buckwheat granola, the Live Buckwheat Parfait served by Blossoming Lotus Café is a riot of good-for-you nutrition. But a swirl of chilled, house-made cashew nut crème that’s been spiked with vanilla bean and agave nectar means this vegan breakfast sundae also nourishes the sweet tooth in us all. You’ll find plenty of other wholesome (but wholly delicious) options at Blossoming Lotus, like fresh rice-milk smoothies and even a tofu scramble with sautéed tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, carrots, onions, and bell peppers. Thanks to a miniature rock waterfall and tropical trees, the airy, sunlit café is a tranquil spot to enjoy these treats. Sit awhile and you might even spot the hummingbird that took up residence during this winter’s epic storm.
The Scene Hard-bodies in matching Prana yoga attire discuss the merits of hemp-based protein with tattooed servers.
Backup Plan It may sound a bit unappealing, we know, but the tart mixture of pineapple, orange, kale, spinach, and agave nectar that is the Tropical Greens Smoothie from Sip PDX (corner of SE 21st Ave and SE Tibbetts St; 503-308-3581)—housed inside a small silver bullet trailer—is a worthy morning pick-me-up. Or fill up with the PB&J, a mix of organic peanut butter, strawberries, bananas, and apple juice served at The Clearing Café (2772 NW Thurman St; 503-841-6240). —B. Barker
5507 NE 30th Ave; 503-287-7555; Brunch served weekends only, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; autenticaportland.com
Why we like it People say this traditional Mexican breakfast of fried tortillas, eggs, beans, and cheese makes for great hangover grub—but that’s selling it short. Chef Oswaldo Bibiano’s version of chilaquiles achieves something approaching pure elegance, and it can be appreciated by more than the booze-ravaged. Crisp corn tortillas are cut into neat little triangles that soak up a spicy guajillo chile sauce. Beside them sit two over-easy eggs, their runny yolks just begging to be smeared over the pile of salty-sweet refried black beans that come on the side. The perfect bite: fork to bean, bean to egg, egg and bean to tortilla. Wash it down with a sip of fiery Bloody Mary.
The scene Expect to be seated next to food-obsessed gourmands, local chefs, and other culinary-minded citizens who consider menudo the only true morning wake-up call.
Backup plan For a milder version, head over to ¿Por Qué No? (3524 N Mississippi Ave; 503-467-4149). Order a breakfast margarita while you’re there. —NP