2.09.2008

Alameda Cafe

Portland has a lot of great breakfast joints. I love Roux, I love the Tin Shed, I love Fat City Cafe, and I (at least) enjoy Marco's. Cadillac Cafe's great, and the 24 Hour Hotcake House on Powell is quite good as well. And there are many, many more that I haven't tried yet.

In fact, aside from the franchise-type places (Denny's, Elmer's, IHOP, Shari's), it's hard to find a place in Portland with a bad breakfast. The only one jumping to mind at the moment is The Red Star downtown, which is over-priced and over-rated and which has food that seems to be the food equivalent of form over substance, which is to say that it's pretty but generally tasteless.

One of the places that's moved up my list quickly, though, is the Alameda Cafe.

In general, there's a lot of good stuff in the Alameda area of NE Portland. Stanich's is generally my favorite place for a fatburger. Amalfi's has good Italian food. The Alameda Brewpub has great salads. So it only makes sense that one of Portland's finer breakfast spots would be in the area as well.

My general approach there is to go for a scramble. I've had the breakfast omelette and liked it a lot, and I've had one of the benedicts and it was great, but their scrambles are a can't-miss proposition that are substantial and hearty while also being just fancy enough to be distinctive. They also have great home-fried potatoes on the side.

My wife is a huge fan of their special house french toast, which is unique in that it's coated with cinnamon and corn flakes, and is absolutely fantastic.

One of the huge factors for a family guy in a breakfast place is family-friendliness. Although the place looks a bit pretentious from outside, it's never provided a problem for us and our daughter during our several visits in her first two years. The wait-staff is super-friendly and accomodating and noone ever looks at you with the stink-eye when you walk in with a kid.

I've seen the knock (over at the Portland Food and Drink blog, in particular) that the place is a bit over-priced, and to the extent that it's more expensive than one of the larger omelette-mills, that's true. But in the grand scheme of breakfast joints, I think the prices are about middle-of-the-road, and the food justifies the prices.

So add one to the list of great Portland breakfast joints...

1 comment:

BreakfastGuy said...

Enjoyed the review! I wrote that review at PF&D, and what I hoped would come across was that it's not a bargain place and that (in my limited thinking) first came off as possibly being snooty -- but totally didn't. I found it to be a pleasant combination of down-home and fine dining, of neighborhood and "destination," and while not "cheap" it's certainly not snooty, either.

All that, and I LOVE the French Toast, which you forgot to mention is deep fried, just the way this old Tennessee boy likes it!

Thanks for the write-up.