2508 SE Clinton St; 503-736-3333; Breakfast served daily; 9 a.m.–3 p.m.; broderpdx.com
Why We Like It Scandinavians may have a reputation for being a little too minimalist with furniture, but when it comes to food, their brand of simplicity is quite comforting. We’re especially talking about that classic Danish pancake, the aebleskiver . A somewhat eggier version of the French popover, aebleskivers are baked in a hot skillet that’s been forged with divots. At Broder, these piping-hot puffs of dough are served right out of the oven with ramekins of house-made lingonberry jam, lemon curd, and maple syrup. Start there, then move on to dense rye bread, pungent cheese, salami (and other lovely cured meats), fresh yogurt, and half a grapefruit, all served on a wooden breakfast bord. It’s a hale and hearty breakfast, yet the kind that doesn’t make you feel like sleeping for the rest of the day (or chasing it with hard liquor). We have, however, been known to follow it with a tiny glass of aquavit—but that’s so much more refined, now isn’t it?
The Scene Yellow midcentury modern stools and baby-blue chairs brighten the interior, a sliver of dark wood that’s intersected by a polished bar. Long-haired young men with thick-rimmed glasses prepare Scandinavian specialties like pytt i panna (a Swedish hash of potatoes, peppers, roast beef, and ham topped with baked eggs).
Backup Plan This is the only Swedish eatery we know of around here, though you’ll find Dutch Babies and Swedish pancakes at the Original Pancake House (see p. 52). —CD
Little Red Bike Café
4823 N Lombard St;503-289-0120; Breakfast served Tue–Sun,
8 a.m.–2 p.m. (French toast served only on Sundays); littleredbikecafe.com
“Why we like it” French toast has always seemed like the bastard child of breakfast foods. A little boring. Often soggy. In the wrong hands, it’s glorified Wonder Bread. But in the capable hands of the cooks at the Little Red Bike Café, French toast becomes a versatile springboard of sweet and savory. Using slabs of challah dipped in eggy batter and flash-fried in butter, the LRBC (as it’s known to North Portlanders) offers a rotating stockpile of French toast combo. There’s the Southern (with Oregon peach compote and Kentucky bourbon butter) and the Ali’s (topped with toasted almonds and served with marionberry syrup and buttermilk crème anglaise). Our favorite is the Elvis: peanut butter, caramelized bananas, Carlton Farms bacon, and maple syrup. It’s a hunka-hunka burnin’ loaf.
The scene What this tiny, retro space lacks in roominess it makes up for with nearby picnic perfection: the massive Columbia Park is right down the street.
Backup plan Mother’s Bistro & Bar (212 SW Stark St; 503-464-1122) coats its bread in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and grills the slices for extra crunch. At Helser’s (1538 NE Alberta St; 503-281-1477), the secret is in the batter: a sweet mixture of vanilla and cinnamon makes syrup almost unnecessary. —B. Blasengame
La Provence Bakery & Bistro
15964 SW Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego; 503-635-4533; Breakfast served weekdays 7–11 a.m.; weekends 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Why We Like It This omelet is as thick as a Julia Child cookbook (but fluffier, of course). Is this how they do it in France? Oui. The French might deem the volume of vittles in the Smokehouse Meat Omelette a bit too American, but no matter. Forged from butter, three eggs, grilled chicken rubbed with herbes de Provence, crispy bacon, and house-made sausage specked with apples and onions, it’s topped off with glistening cheddar. For the fainter of heart, there are simpler but equally delicious delights such as the Omelette Colette with artichoke hearts, swiss cheese, tomato, and fresh basil.
The Scene Sunflower-dotted curtains match a spectacular display of golden pastries. Get there early for the chocolate croissants (as a starter); they sell out early every day to Lake Oswego diehards.
Backup Plan The Klickitat Omelette, stuffed with blue cheese, Granny Smith apples, and bacon, at the Alameda Cafe (4641 NE Fremont St; 503-284-5314) is a worthy runner-up, followed by the gorgonzola, mushroom, and thyme omelet at Zell’s Cafe (1300 SE Morrison St; 503-239-0196). —B. Barker
2811 NE Glisan St; 503-233-0511; Breakfast served weekdays 7–11 a.m.; weekends 7 a.m.–2 p.m.; pambiche.com
Why We Like It When our day begins with an assortment of eight bite-size pastries like lime-papaya scones, rum raisin cakes, and passion-fruit muffins filled with chocolate bits for a mere five bucks, it’s hard not to grin. Harder still when followed by dishes like Pisto Manchego (a scramble of linguiça, smoked ham, Gulf Coast shrimp, potatoes, asparagus, roasted red peppers, peas, and eggs), or Huevos Habaneros (an eye-opening presentation of two eggs simmering in spicy Creole sauce, seared ham steaks, and a side of white rice and black beans). Knock it all back with a Café Cubano—espresso brewed with sugar—and you’re halfway to Havana.
The Scene Possibly the cheeriest breakfast joint in town, with pulsating Latin music and a wooden bust of a Cuban matron presiding over yellow, red, and turquoise walls.
Backup Plan Sorry, it’s Pambiche or bust. We can’t find another Cuban restaurant worth its weight in frijoles. —B. Barker