Wong’s King Seafood
8733 SE Division St, Ste 101;503-788-8883; Dim sum served weekdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; weekends 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; wongsking.com
Why we like it If you score a table in this sweeping cruise ship of a dining room, you’ve already pulled off a major morning victory. By noon, the crowds at Wong’s King are impenetrable, and a clipboard-wielding woman begins barking out numbers. The wait time is irrelevant: you’re not going anywhere. When you finally do sit down, the food comes, quite literally, à la “cart”: basket upon basket of shrimp and vegetable dumplings; salty-sweet barbecued pork buns; warm, silky tofu that the waitress cuts with scissors; noodles sprinkled with sesame seeds and swimming in rich, soy-based sauce; bowls of hot rice porridge with slivers of duck egg; plates of Chinese broccolini in oyster sauce; and—wait, are those … fried chicken feet? Pace yourself or you’ll burn out—you don’t want to miss the egg-custard tarts and mango puddings.
The scene Extended-family friendly, which is to say the tables are large enough to accommodate at least three generations of hungry souls.
Backup plan You can expect more or less the same at Jin Wah (4021 SW 117th Ave, Beaverton; 503-641-2852). —NP
Pastries and Coffee
Le Petite Provence
4834 SE Division St; 503-233-1121; Open daily 7 a.m.–8 p.m.
1824 NE Alberta St; 503-284-6564; Open Sun–Wed 7 a.m.–7 p.m.; Thu–Sat 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Why We Like It Most of us choose our coffee-and-croissant bakery based on what’s closest to home. But there are at least a few pastry palaces in town worth going out of your way for. They transform what’s typically considered a grab-and-go breakfast into an all-morning event. Our favorite: Le Petite Provence, whose lush pastry displays alone can take hours to consider. Puffs of flaky dough bursting with sweet whipped cream call out to us. Silken cheese Danishes in the shape of butterflies and beignets dusted with cinnamon and sugar sit next to a basket of_ pains au chocolat_ and golden croissants. Once you’ve settled on your morning indulgence and a pull of coffee, settle into one of the wicker bistro seats, take out your crossword puzzle, and stay awhile.
The Scene Mirrored walls, tiled floors, and bistro tables make this buzzing café a dead ringer for a Provençal patisserie. With two locations on the East Side and a sister destination in Lake Oswego, just about every Portlander is covered.
Backup Plan The croissants and hand pies at Baker & Spice (6330 SW Capitol Hwy; 503-244-7573); the croissants and fruit tarts at Ken’s Artisan Bakery (338 NW 21st Ave; 503-248-2202); or the homemade yeasted doughnut, spiked with currants and topped with powdered sugar, at Little T American Baker (2600 SE Division St; 503-238-3458), which Tim Healea, once head baker at Pearl Bakery, opened last year. —CD
Grand Central Bakery
Multiple locations; 503-232-0575; Hours and days of operation vary depending on location; grandcentralbakery.com
Why we like it When you bite into one of today’s pack-it-all-in breakfast sandwiches and egg yolk begins to slide down your wrist, the flavor usually starts to slide away too. Not so with the Bacon-Egg Bolo served at all six of Grand Central Bakery’s locations. The golden bolo roll—crusty on the outside, chewy in the middle—keeps it all hemmed in, like a stout German nanny. Nary a drop of the bright-yellow, slightly runny yolk nor a corner of thick, peppery bacon escapes its yeasty clutches. Zest things up with the tangy tomato relish that’s served on the side.
The scene A democratic assortment of construction workers, out-of-towners, goth kids, grannies, crossword puzzlers, and hot, hurried soccer moms.
Backup plan If you’re looking for something a little sexier, try the fresh basil, tomato, and mozzarella combo at Bar Carlo (6433 SE Foster Rd; 503-771-1664); or an egg or two with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, provolone, and pesto at Besaw’s (2301 NW Savier St; 503-228-2619). We also can’t get enough of the Messenger, a luscious egg sandwich with gorgonzola, apple butter, and bacon at Little Red Bike Café (4823 N Lombard St; 503-289-0120). —NP