Good Morning Gators!
I’m back from my second trip from the brunch capital of the world. It was a great trip and a lot of driving. It was about 4400 miles. A lot of cows some horses and a few Llamas were seen.
Here is the results of the journey. I hope you enjoy it.
The reviews are a bit less “wordy” than normal. I didn’t want the blog to be longer than necessary.
A few general observations about Portland.
They don’t like waking up early. A good portion of the restaurants don’t open till 9. UGH There is a line waiting at opening time. They really enjoy brunch. The Coffee is good. I didn’t have a bad cup except for the free stuff at the Motel. The prices are in line with downtown Chicago prices. I can’t refer to them as Hipsters since this is the bulk of the population. You really can dress anyway you want no matter how awful that it may seem. It’s perfectly fine in fact if you are dressed they way they dress in Downtown Chicago you are going to be the oddball. If you go bring a hat. It’s the norm. Everyone that I came in contact with was nice. Everyone there drives FAST. People getting hit by cars is shown on the the local news including impact. The highways and expressways are a snarled mess.
OK Let’s GO!
The first stop was after driving 24 hours. I may have been hallucinating but it was a good first stop.
Milo’s City Cafe
Milo’s is a medium size place (at least by Portland standards). They open at an unheard of 6:30 which is when we were there. They play classic rock music 9 But they have carpet 3
Fresh Dungeness Crab Cakes
Northwest crab cakes & béarnaise sauce
Bearnaise Sauce is great. Smooth Eggy with fresh Tarragon 8 Potatoes were O’Brian style. Onions Peppers. Correct salt level but a tad over brown 8 The Eggs were near perfect 9 The Crab Cake was excellent. Very crabby and not all filler 8 The English Muffin was barely toasted 3 Overall a HIGH 8
Italian Sausage & Cheddar Stuffed French Toast
Of course the French Toast wasn’t soaked long enough so it was slightly egged grilled bread. (See rant page). The Italian Sausage was smoked sausage not legit Italian sausage. Overall tasty but not a big winner for me. 7
Nothing on the sweet side appealed to me so I passed. So that’s it for the first stop.
Pine State Biscuits
Biscuits Geno? Yes indeed. There is something magical about a good Biscuit. Pine State knows how to do em. It’s a sandwich place. I hear you saying “But Gator You really are not a fan of breakfast sandwiches”! It’s true I’m not a fan of sandwiches for breakfast. I really think that they are a lunch item. One of the names that kept coming up in my pre trip research was Pine State so I thought that I needed to see what it was about.
As you will see the indoor seating is limited and there is no standing room so if you don’t want to stand outside and wait you’d better get there early. It’s a cute open air carpet free farmhousie place with 70’s pop rock music and good coffee.
The Reggie with an egg
Fried chicken, bacon & cheese topped with gravy
The Biscuit is a marvel. Crispy exterior Light fluffy interior. It’s Ligit 9 The Gravy is one of the best that I have ever had. Period. I could by a quart of this stuff and eat it with a spoon. 9 I would give it a 10 but I have never given out a 10. The Chicken was pretty tasty 7 The fried egg was cooked through. I’m generally not a fan of hard fried eggs but it worked on this sandwich. This was an overall 9
Reverends pulled pork with Carolina style bbq sauce topped with slaw
Good slaw. Fresh and crunchy. The Pulled Pork is Carolina style. Soft Tender Smokey. The Vinegar based sauce added an acid and spicy bite. Another great Biscuit. 8
Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
Thin Light Delicious. The cornmeal adds a touch of texture and the real Maple Syrup is perfect. This is a 9 Combination.
On the way out to the Brekfast Mobile a very nice young man ran over thanked me for coming and handed me a Biscuit and some House Made Apple Butter. How cool is THAT? Put PSB on your must go to list.
Next up The Country Cat
The Country Cat interior defies description. Its sort of Country French Googie. It was super clean. It was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Drives and I also saw the owners on an episode of Chopped.
Our server Audrey was kind, attentive and she put up with my Gatoring.
OK Let’s Go
On a sweet cream biscuit with smoked salmon or house-cured ham, preserved lemon hollandaise & home fries
The Hollandaise. OMG Lemony and smooth as silk. The real deal 9 The Country Cat does all of their own butchery. The house made ham was on point. Smokey Clovey and not overly salted. 8 The biscuit was Fluffy and Soft. You can taste the Cream. 8 The Potatoes were seasoned perfectly but a bit tough 7 The eggs were a bit under 6 An Overall 8
Smoked Ham Hash
with marinated cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, grilled summer squash, & a sunnyside-up egg
The cubed Ham had a great char which enhanced the smokiness of the Ham. The vegetable mix was seasoned perfectly and had a touch of heat and the fresh Herbs brightened it up. The Sunny Side Up Egg was near Perfect. 9 This was a very yummy dish 9
Cinnamon Swirl Challa French Toast
Dipped in bourbon custard and topped with strawberry compote, clabber cream, & maple syrup
Let me start off by suggesting you read my French Toast Rant on the Rant Page. I actually expected that this was going to be good but it was barely soaked. It was like grilled bread. The cream and compote was tasty. It’s a shame that it wasn’t proper French Toast. It was tasty but dry 6
That’s it for The Country Cat. A good Visit
GiGi’s is a strip mall location. It’s a small place but not by Portland standards. It’s carpet free and there is 40’s music playing.
Right after we are seated and Coffeed our server Maya brought over a couple of Waffle Bites. They were crisp fluffy and had a bit of crunch from the Pearl Sugar. 8
My first pick was Corned Beef Hash.
Peppers, onions and horseradish cream, house potato medley and two eggs your way
I know it seems like a pretty safe choice but it’s a waffle place and has a pretty short menu. Let me start by saying that the toast was toasted well and it was buttered! A rarity. The hash was really good. It was well seasoned. It was salty and beefy. The veggies were a mix of Onions Peppers Potatoes and even some Sweet Potatoes. It may be a standard but this was a good version 8
Next up is an Award Winning (I forgot what it was for)
Spicy Goat – Salami, arugula, chevre, pistachios and Kelly’s jelly
It’s called Spicy Goat and yet it contains no Goat. I wasn’t sure that Salami was going to work with waffles but you know I had to try it. It was surprisingly good and interesting but NOT spicy. An overall 7
The star of this show was not on the menu. It was a special Peach Waffle. Peaches Almond Pastry Cream Whisky Carmel Sauce Blueberries and Whipped Cream. The Peaches were from a local farm. They were Fan Freakn Tastic. They were cooked slightly. They were luscious Juicy Sweet and Super Peachy. This was an Outstanding Finish. One of the best I’ve ever had. 9 ALMOST worth the drive to Portland.
Thank’s a LOT GiGi’s. I’m sure that I am going to have dreams about that Peach Waffle
hunnymilk is a popup. the restaurant operates as an Italian restaurant by night. Brandon the operator uses the spot just to prep and serve Saturday and Sunday Brunch. It’s a Prix Fixe Menu. You choose a Savory a Sweet and a Beverage for your price of admission. There are a few Ala Carte items as well
It’s pretty small for an Italian restaurant but again not small for Portland. Carpet free and soft generic music playing in the background.
One of the drink choices Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows 8
They serve everything on a 1/4 sheet tray. Not a fan. Those baking sheets draw the heat out of your food.
Baked egg in a pastry puff, spinach-artichoke tapenade + mixed greens, marcona almonds, feta and sun dried tomatoes
The Egg was a bit under 6 and the pastry was a tad over but pretty tasty 7 The salad mix was good and the dressing was good as well. The salad was a bit overdressed. Overall this was a 7
Graham cracker waffle dipped in honey butter with cheesecake mousse, chambord strawberries and brown butter bits –
The waffle was sweet and crispy. the cream was tasty. 8
Graham Cracker Waffle
Crispy pork ribs with cheesy garlic grits, slow poached egg, avocado and chimichurri sauce –
The ribs were crispy and had a decent rub. The grits with Chimichurri were good. The egg was pretty close and overall 8
Bananas foster churro with cinnamon ice cream, nutella and bacon crumbles
It really wasn’t like a traditional Churro but it was a pretty good combination. The Churro cup was crisp light and tender. 8
This is a pretty ambitious undertaking for a young chef. He’s on the right track. with a few tweaks this will be a winner.
Cute place in a nice building. I actually had a reservation here. A rarity at Portland brunch spots
Country French Interior 8 Cement floors 8 Country Music 2 The music does not fit the venue
Braised Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Topped With a Fried Duck Egg
This was a good interpretation of a classic dish. Great seasoning and perfect salt level with a touch of heat. I think the heat level could have been kicked up a bit. The Duck egg was cooked pretty close. Overall a delicious 8
Duck Fat Fried Hash Browns Brown Butter Hollandaise
I’m usually not big on Hash Browns. Most places use commercially produced frozen potatoes which are ok but they are always dry or soaked. They lack character. I was intrigued that the offered these as an add on. I had to give them a shot. I’m glad that I did. They were crispy tender. I think that they could have used a bit more caramelization. Brown food is good. The Hollandaise was a good addition. 8
Tomato Braised Lamb
The 60 minute egg was under 5 The Lamb was super tender and the sauce was on the money. The caramelized Onions were a good addition. overall this was an excellent dish. 9
House Ricotta Pancakes
Fig Compote, Hazelnuts, Chantilly
Thick Crumpet like Pancakes. Surprisingly light and tasty. The fruit compote and Chantilly Cream went well with the Cakes. The addition of the toasted Hazelnuts added a good textural element. I would have loved some Maple Syrup with this :0( This was a good finish 8
OK Gators That wraps it up for Portland II. I’ve included a few vacation snaps below. As for me I’m off to my next and much closer adventure.