PDX Breakfast Blog

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Genie's Café

Genie’s Café

1101 SE Division St



Ah, Genie’s. I have fond memories of venturing to Genie’s 4 or 5 years ago, but for some reason I had never returned until this past Sunday. It was a rainy morning, but that didn’t stop the Breakfast Mafia from enjoying the most important meal of the day. Genie’s seems to be known for its breakfast cocktail atmosphere. With a bar in the back room, and Black Sabbath’s Iron Man blaring in the speakers, we almost forgot that it was 9:30am and most of our friends were asleep in their beds at home. I personally cannot partake in alcohol before Noon, but that certainly did not stop me from admiring the sea of Bloody Mary’s all around me.

Armed with Stumptown Coffee, the mafia and I endured the rain outside until we were seated near the bar. Now, just a forewarning, this is not going to be the most extensive breakfast review ever. The reason is this – the food was amazing and I personally was lost inside my French toast stuffed with pear aguadulce, drizzled with sweet cream sauce. Yes, I know that sounds exotic and sexy. It was. I was too busy falling in love with that to take down quotes from the rest of the breakfast crew, but I do know that nobody had any complaints. Actually, my only complaint is that I wished that my French toast slices were larger. I know what you are thinking, didn’t I just complain LAST WEEK about how large my French toast was at Gravy? I know, I guess I’m never completely satisfied. Trust me on this, I did not want my meal to end.

And now for some pictures, as always...

My petite French toast (this dark picture doesn't do it any justice!)

Alexis - Scramble w/ tortilla chips, black beans, scallions, and cheddar. Sadly, no guac.

Jay and Kara - Veggie Benedict with Obrien's potatoes

Anne - Buttermilk pancakes

Wait Time Outside: 23 minutes
Wait Time For Food: 14 minutes
Service: Friendly, almost forced us to order cocktails
Food: Very tasty, hardly any complaints from us.
Options: Lots of scrambles and benedicts.
Price: $6-8
Atmosphere: breakfast cocktail atmosphere with Black Sabbath

Saturday, November 11, 2006


3957 N Mississippi Ave


Arrival: 9:20am

I am proud to report that the breakfast mafia is growing. How, you may ask, did I convince people to wake up before Noon on a Saturday and join me for breakfast? The answer is simple: a good old-fashioned guilt trip. I informed them that I would be flying to Chicago tomorrow and that if I were to die in a plane crash, this could be the very last time they would ever have breakfast with me. The guilt trip worked and I was pleasantly surprised when half of the LAK house (a famous house in NoPo, home to many wonderful ladies) showed up sleepy-eyed and ready to eat.

I was excited to travel to the great country of NoPo this morning to try out Gravy on Mississippi. We were immediately taken with the place; it was very cute inside.

A few of us noticed an “Animal Lovers” section on the menu. I think “Meat Lovers” would’ve been a more appropriate word choice, but I quickly forgot about that and began drooling all over the rest of the menu. Amongst the scrambles (featuring a "make your own" option), the pancakes, the fried egg sandwiches, and the “animal lovers” sections, I found French toast on Challuh bread. Aha, I made my choice.

We all noticed that breakfast at Gravy was a bit on the spendy side. Most menu items were between $8-12. We quickly discovered that it’s because the portions are GINORMOUS at Gravy. Were they expecting most of their patrons to be Sumo wrestlers this morning? I’m not sure, but I do know that not one person at our table finished their meal today. In fact, we were all so stuffed and unable to speak. I leave you with the few brief quotes that I managed to obtain from my friends.

Mandy: Greco Scramble
Quote: “OMG, this cheese smells. It’s good, but I recommend splitting meals. At least I’ll have breakfast for tomorrow!

Lex: Make-Your-Own Scramble w/ avocado, cheddar, and black olives. Hash browns on the side.
Quote: “Great portions, but I need more flava!”

Anne & Melinda: French Toast on Challuh bread
Quote from myself: “I liiiike, but I can’t finish. The jew bread is so good.”

Kara: Romeo scramble w/ onions, provolone, peppers, and veggie sausage.
Quote: “Portions are definitely too big!”

Jay: 1 biscuit w/ veggie gravy, 2 eggs, hashbrowns.
Quote: *grabs stomach*

I decided that the food was very very delicious, but if I ever go to Gravy again, I would probably share one meal with 6 people.

Wait Time Outside: 23 minutes
Wait Time For Food: About 25 minutes
Service: Friendly, but it took them a while to take our order.
Food: Everything was tasty, but the portions are made for Sumo wrestlers.
Options: Lots of options. I liked that they had a make-your-own-scramble.
Price: $8-12, scrambles were either $8.75 or $9.75. Spendy due to the portions.
Atmosphere: cute, awesome art on the walls, kid-friendly, Van Morrison in the background.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Utopia Café

Utopia Café
3308 SE Belmont St.

Arrival Time:

Today we got an early start to our breakfast adventure and arrived at Utopia Café at around 9:28am. I tried to recruit more friends to join the breakfast club, but most of them scoffed at the idea of eating breakfast before Noon on a weekend. Fear not, I will try and peer pressure them again next time. In my opinion, true breakfast afficionados are willing to sacrifice their time for a more pleasurable eating experience. It usually pays off, and today it definitely did. It was a drizzly Portland morning, the type of morning where you don't want to arrive late and wait outside for a long time. Because we arrived early, we only had to wait 9 minutes inside the warm café as the friendly staff offered us coffee.

We had a very difficult time deciding what to order for breakfast today. There were many eye-catching specials written on the big chalkboard near the kitchen (ricotta pancakes, cajun curry tofu scramble, potato cakes, etc.). The main menu featured many delicious scrambles, pancakes, brioche french toast, oatmeal, potatoes, etc. I could not decide, it was like a crazy breakfast war inside my head. My roommate always raves about Utopia's pancakes, so I decided to go with blueberry pancakes and a side of potato cakes. I was extremely impressed when our food came to us 14 minutes after we ordered.

I must admit that I could probably be classified as a pancake snob. I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but I can make pretty decent sourdough and swedish pancakes because of the great recipes that were handed down to me from my mother. So when I say that these blueberry pancakes at Utopia Café were so divine, so fluffy, and so delicious, just know that I really mean it and that I would not say that about just any pancakes. The potato cakes were also quite tasty, a bit smooshy in the middle, but overall I was pleased with the flavor.

Jay ordered the Cajun Curry Tofu Scramble that was featured on the specials' list along with a side of potato cakes. He was not too pleased with the scramble and mentioned that it didn't have enough spice. He thought that the tofu should have been cut into smaller pieces or perhaps crumbled. Jay was pretty much in love with the potato cakes, though, and was happy to not have to add ketchup.

Kara ordered the Veggie Saute, which featured potatoes, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, basil, and goat cheese. She said it was tasty, but after having a bite of my blueberry pancakes, she wished she would've ordered those as well. Our friendly waitress noticed Kara's shirt and asked if she had seen Quasi at the City Hall show this summer. We had a nice chat with her about that.

Even though Kara and Jay were not 100% impressed by their choices, they both agreed that they would love to come back to Utopia to try other options (aka my blueberry pancakes). I think next time I will have to try their famous French toast.

Wait Time Inside: 9 minutes
Wait Time For Food: 14 minutes
Service: Very friendly, always refilling our coffee/water, appreciated Kara's shirt
Food: Very tasty, I heart their pancakes. Don't order the tofu scramble.
Options: So many options, esp. w/ weekend specials. Veggie sausage is available.
Price: $6-8, all scrambles are $7.95
Atmosphere: cute, friendly, art on the walls, very Belmont.