April 12, 2009 “Cocina de Tilly” Portland, OR

homedishIt had to happen sooner or later. I have a miserable head cold and wasn’t up to the task of finding a restaurant and spreading disease to other patrons.

Very conveniently located for two people, I found this place to be an excellent choice this morning. The menu is a bit limited. The waitstaff greets you and tells you to “sit down and try not to sneeze on anything” and “you get what you get so I hope you like it”. My breakfast was complemented by imported Starbucks coffee, Zicam, and a Sunday Oregonian. The turkey scramble as you see it here is a mixture of Italian seasoned ground turkey, eggs, red pepper, parsley, diced garlic, tomatoes and cheese. The chef earns bonus points for the cinnamon roll, strawberries and bananas on the side.

homechefSince both dishes were the same today, I will use this spot to give you a rare “behind the scenes look” of a breakfast chef in action. The blinding speed with which she creates the turkey scramble is too much for my cell phone cam to keep up with.

homecatThe food here is top notch, although I found the environment a little strange. This place had a petting zoo with a spoiled cat that makes a bed out of brown paper. I would highly recommend this breakfast, but I understand that reservations are nearly impossible to get since the kitchen is typically closed on Sunday mornings.

Location: Undisclosed, Portland, OR

April 5, 2009 “La Provence Bistro and Bakery” Lake Oswego

la-outsideThe web is full of mixed reviews on this restaurant, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on arrival. Some folks rave about the food and some gripe about creamer packages on the table. I found this to be well worth your breakfast dollars, even if I did continue my toast streak of having to ask for previously ordered toast! It’s a running gag now and I’m not sure why.

lacounterWhen you walk in the door here you are greeted by two large glass counters. These are stuffed full of all sorts of wonderful heart-attack-helper items. The look reminded me of the cafe at Disneyland that was trying to be french. Maybe I didn’t spend enough time in Paris, but I never encountered a restaurant that looked like either La Provence or the Disneyland breakfast spot. From the central counters, La Provence has plenty of seating on either side. We were seated pretty quickly even though it was packed with people on a Sunday morning.

la-crepe Tilly doesn’t need an excuse to order crepes. If crepes are on the menu, there is a good chance it will end up on our table. These were light, fluffy and filled with blueberry goodness.

la-omeletteI am a week late in posting this review, and I usually refer to the menu to remember the exact name of what I ordered. As punishment for being a lazy blogger, the web gods have decided to make the restaurant website unavailable today. This was an omelette with all sorts of good stuff in it. I remember specifically whole chunks of garlic, and a balsamic salsa on top. It really was a great dish and I found myself comparing it to the unique Zephyr omelette from Beaterville Cafe a few weeks back. The rosemary potatoes were wonderful also. The menu link is gone, but both of these dishes were less than $10 and worth every cent.

la-coffeeIt’s no surprise that a place like this offers a full espresso bar. Tilly took advantage of the situation and one-upped my coffee cup. I think she likes sipping coffee out of a soup bowl. I will admit it looked better than mine.

Overall, I would say this place is worth a visit. If you are a dining snob, this isn’t a 5 star atmosphere, but most of us care about the breakfast being served and don’t care that the floors are concrete.

Location: 15964 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

March 29, 2009 “Voodoo Doughnut Too” NE Portland

voodoo_out“The magic is in the hole”. This is the slogan Voodoo Doughnut chooses to put on everything, including (but not limited to) posters, Tshirts, and yes… panties. This is not a conventional breakfast, but if you feel like shocking yourself with lots of sugar, step right up!

voodoo_insideWe visited one of two locations in the Portland area. The original spot is on 3rd and Burnside. The pink building is apparently the sequel, but I decided to try this one because the parking was probably easier. Since Voodoo is open for 21 hours a day, it wasn’t really a surprise to find a somewhat thrashed interior. The floor was littered with pieces of Cap’n Crunch and Fruit Loops. While breakfast cereal is colorful, even the most skilled doughnut eater would have trouble keeping pieces from leaping off and making an escape to anywhere but the mouth. The art work and collection of random things are fun to look at, but I wouldn’t recommend it to religious types on a Sunday morning.

voodoo_oursI am a fan of Fruit Loops. Having them on a doughnut was too good to pass up. After downing this and chasing it with coffee, I decided that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. This was like an explosion of sweet. Tilly opted for the more conventional coconut on chocolate work of art to the left there.

voodoo_dozenA Voodoo Dozen gives you 13 random pieces picked by the person helping behind the counter for $8.50. As you can see here we got everything from a boring glazed donut to the perfectly purple powdered “Grape Ape” at the bottom.

I think this place might be more suited to a Saturday night than a Sunday morning. The doughnuts are great and you will find variety like no other spot I’ve ever heard of. I encourage you to click on the links to see the menu and descriptions, they have a great website. You can’t even compare them to a Krispy Kreme because it’s like comparing apples…and a circus.

Location: 1501 NE Davis, Portland, OR 97232

March 22, 2009 “Darcy’s Restaurant, Bar & Lottery”, North Portland

darcy_outDarcy’s is a fine example of a place that I never would have bothered to enter before Oregon’s Non Smoking law went into effect. In the past, if you saw a lottery sign on the door, that meant you could cut through the air to see the person on the other side of the table. This place featured lottery as part of it’s business name.

We actually drove clear out to North Portland in search of the Little Red Bike Cafe. LRBC doesn’t have a waiting list, but chooses to have you arm wrestle other patrons to see who gets to sit at one of two tables. Since we also happened to be a party of four this morning, we considered other options. Darcy’s is directly across the street.

The interior is exactly what you might expect. Typical bar with some booth tables and plenty of machines to gamble your spare cash while waiting for breakfast. Our waitress was very attentive since we were one of two tables with people seated. It’s funny that the standing room only place on the other side of the street was so crowded when Darcy’s has open seating, great food, and no line…. just because the front looks like a dive.

darcy_applecinnSince the competition is known for the Sunday only French toast, I will start with Tilly and John’s choice of the Apple Cinnamon French Toast. Tilly opted to have hers slathered in the apple pie goodness while John had the fruit on the side. It looked pretty good since they start with apple cinnamon bread before they even start cooking it. It might have been even better because we half expected a bloody mary and toast to be the only things available on the menu!

darcy-vegTeri had a simple veggie omelette with hashbrowns and wheat toast. Nothing spectacular here, but a cheap decent meal with no complaints. I just noticed that my menu link does not show all of the current items so its possible they recently changed cooks, management or both. We like the guy in the kitchen today!

darcy_cure1Continuing with the trend of ordering the most unique item I can find on a menu, this was called the “Darcy’s Cure”. The first top down picture doesn’t do it justice. This is skillet potatoes, link sausage, bacon, onions, cheese, salsa, topped with 3 eggs and served with toast for good measure. darcy_cure2

Here is a cutaway view to give you an idea of what is hiding under the egg layer. I gave it my best shot to finish the plate, but didn’t quite get there. I don’t know if the name of this plate is supposed to cure you from a hangover or cure you from walking the rest of the day. The food was absolutely delicious, but I probably had at least two link sausages left on the plate when I was finished. I double dog dare someone to finish this in a sitting.

If you find yourself in North Portland you could do alot worse than Darcy’s. The prices are great, the food is good, and it’s something of a secret apparently since we had the place to ourselves. I never expected to have a truly worthy breakfast in this bar\restaurant and was pleasantly surprised.

Location: 4804 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

March 15, 2009 “Beaterville Cafe” North Portland

beaterville_out We didn’t actually find Beaterville Cafe on our own. This was a friends suggestion and he is now considered a good friend since the place turned out to be GREAT!

beaterville_car1 The theme of this small cafe is the clever use of old car parts as seen in the picture of a large planter box. The inside of the restaurant is adorned with hub caps, grills, license plates, whatever. Some of the benches outside were built with the front end of an old wreck.

Beaterville is literally standing room only on Sunday, but people waiting outside don’t care. Why? Because some genius decided to allow people to serve themselves coffee from the front area to sip on while they waited. Why doesn’t every restaurant with a line do this in the morning? Once a coffee drinker has a warm cup in hand, they really don’t care if it takes 30 minutes to get a table anymore.

beaterville_tableThe menu here is cute, click on one of the pictures to see it. I was surprised by our two person table in the back and decided to snap a picture. They don’t want to waste time with bringing individual things to tables, so they plant every possible item there from the start. We have salt, pepper, two kinds of Tabasco, ketchup, cream, sugar, hawaiian sugar, strawberry jam and maple syrup. We had half of the table real estate to use for actual eating. I was really amused by this when Tilly received her pancake later. The waitress asked if she wanted fake maple or real maple syrup. Tilly was surprised by the question, shrugged and said real maple. After all this table effort, an individual trip was made to replace that syrup bottle anyway. Penny pinchers take note, that real maple will cost you a buck and a quarter.

beaterville_zephyr Feeling a bit guilty about last weeks boring breakfast choice, I ordered the Zephyr Scrambler. The eggs had spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and a great curry flavor mixed in. Curry and breakfast…. wonderful stuff! This was rounded out by home fries and a croissant. The menu actually showed toast options were free of wonder bread. I can avoid sourdough, even the cracked wheat sourdough, if I know the score going in! Is plain white toast that bad or is it going the way of cigarettes? White toast is rare lately!

beaterville_112 Tilly went simple today with the 1 + 1 + 2. A pancake, a scrambled egg, 2 pieces of bacon. It is what it is, no surprises here.

We really do recommend this spot if you aren’t in a huge hurry. Depending on your timing, you might be waiting outside for a bit. Wonderful service, wonderful food!

Location: 2201 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR

March 8, 2009 “Davidson’s Casual Dining” Tigard, OR

davidson_out Our vacation went from Saturday to Saturday. I will admit the Davidson’s choice was a comfortable standby and a place we have been to many times. They haven’t been mentioned in the blog yet, so we decided to save ourselves some research after waking up late and adjusting to the loss of an extra hour.

This little restaurant is close to home and we haven’t had a bad experience here in over a year of visits. The staff is always smiling and friendly, even when the place is crammed full of people. The real trick to a Sunday morning Davidson’s visit is to get there well before 10:00 am. After that, a rather large church located just behind them finishes services and the restaurant fills to capacity.

davidson_bacon After a solid day of airport and airplane food the day before, I was keeping it simple and my choice here is a bit uninspired. Bacon? check. Eggs? check. Not pictured, the sour dough toast. I think I have a toast curse. A few posts back I had some issue with toast. This time I asked for white toast and was given sourdough (which I really don’t like for some reason). I have never had anyone in Davidson’s ever get an order wrong until the day we are there intent on blogging. This was a new waitress, and lets face it…it’s just toast. I’m not one to complain to a busy waitress, so I ate it and moved on.

davidson_straw Tilly apologizes for this picture. Tired from the trip, she was on autopilot and knocked into that whip cream stack on the strawberry waffles before realizing I needed to snap a photo. She assures me that strawberry waffles taste perfect regardless of the position of the third whip cream stack. I believe her.

If you happen to be in the Tigard area, you really can’t go wrong with a Davidson’s breakfast. It’s great food (if simple) and unlike some of the other places in town, plenty of comfortable seating.

Location: 12830 SW Pacific Hwy, Tigard, OR 97223

March 1, 2009 “Kountry Kitchen” Kapaa, HI

kountry_out1 I will admit my original breakfast plan for vacation was to find some elaborate brunch with an ocean view, just so I could post it here. As it turns out, the island of Kauai has plenty of ocean front dining, but it starts at the lunch and dinner hours. I could have put some more effort into finding a place with the ocean view, but since we flew in Saturday night, we decided to just drive up the road and stop at the first obvious breakfast spot. The first obvious spot was a Mcdonalds. We kept driving!

This is Kountry Kitchen, a roadside restaurant with some decent food and a long wait. The weather was actually bad that morning so people were cramming into the tiny waiting area to keep out of the rain showers. With plenty of time to browse the menu, you can choose which massive calorie meal you would like before you are seated.

kountry_choc My choice was chocolate chip pancakes. These were really, really, really good. The only fault I could find is that they are a moisture sponge. Nothing will make you more thirsty than a chocolate chip pancake. This is not an issue as long as the staff has enough time to keep a water glass full. A very busy Sunday morning is not a good time to expect that.

Kountry Kitchen doesn’t have a website that I can link to a menu because they don’t need one! There was a line when we arrived and a line when we left. With a constant stream of tourists and real estate on one of the only major roads, they don’t need to waste time with advertising.

kountry_coco Tilly went for the unique menu choice this weekend with Coconut French Toast. You can tell by the picture it was a great breakfast idea. Each table is stocked with maple and coconut syrup in case you want to drown your coconut in coconut. She had no complaints.

Overall the restaurant is worth a visit, although I wouldn’t suggest doing it on a Sunday. The staff has trouble keeping up with capacity crowd. Later in the week we also tried “Eggberts” restaurant and found banana and macadamia nut pancakes. Either place will make sure you are fed and ready for whatever vacation days hold for you.

Location: 1485 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746