Harlow

Harlow, Portland, Oregon

Can we all just admit for a minute that breakfast in this town has gotten ridiculous? Don’t get me wrong — I love it, and when I’m on vacation in another city, I miss the incredible options we have here. All I’m saying is, we are seriously lucky.

Since we’ve been in love with Harlow’s sister restaurant Prasad (in the Pearl District’s Yoga Pearl building) for quite some time, we wanted to try the one across the river and it has wedged its way into our hearts for those Sunday mornings where we want to take our time over breakfast.

Harlow, Portland, Oregon

Prasad focuses on raw, vegan fare, but at Harlow the focus shifts to more gluten-free food. You can still get raw and vegan stuff though. I’m head over heels for the quinoa pancakes with blueberries, and Eric hasn’t yet stopped ordering the huevos rancheros (pictured below) exclusively.

Harlow, Portland, Oregon

The beverages are also sublime, from fresh juice concoctions that will start your day right to the dreamy Peruvian hot chocolate I enjoyed last weekend, complete with malty maca and melted dark chocolate.

Harlow, Portland, Oregon

Harlow is located at 3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd., right in the heart of that lively district. Go for weekend brunch or make a day of it and take in a bit of the neighborhood.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

This time of year makes me want something warm to drink in my hand every hour of every day. Luckily, we live in a town blissfully full of coffee and tea shops, each with their own lovely little arrangements of goodies to go with them.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

I love Bushel & Peck Bakeshop becuase it’s close to my office, because they make a bar with pretzels, almonds and caramel that is heaven and because it makes me nostalgic for the nights I’d spend the night at my friend Julie’s house when I was a kid, and her mom would tuck us in and tell us, “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” This spot is also just a great, relaxing place to pull up a chair and unplug for a few minutes.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop serves Trailhead Roasters coffee, Townshend’s Teas and and assortment of lovely specials for breakfast and lunch, or treats anytime. Pick a chair at the long farm table, grab a newspaper and prepare for a few minutes of hot-beverage zen.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop is located at 3907 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in NE Portland. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go there now and get one of those caramel pretzel almond bars. Trust me.

a n d Cafe

and Cafe, Portland, Oregon

My family all lives nearby, and we get together a lot. There are 11 of us now (just from my immediate family of my sisters and parents) and between us, we have a hilarious grouping of food allergies, intolerances and preferences. We’re also always in flux.

For awhile, one of my sisters was paleo while we were vegan and my other sister’s family was gluten-free and dairy-free (except for one kid). By the next gathering, it was plant-based for a few of us, flexitarian for others. My parents then went vegan for awhile but are notoriously flexible. But recently, we’ve had my mom stumped. She has resorted to telling us all to bring our own dinner when we come over. It’s just too much to keep track of.

and Cafe, Portland, Oregon

I’m pretty amazed in Portland at how many options we have. I don’t see a menu very often that doesn’t include something for the vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/paleo/what have you among us. And I think that’s a part of what makes Portland’s restaurants so cool and enjoyable and unique.

We ended up on a recent Saturday morning at the a n d Cafe on E. Burnside. Tons of options, including a special hash with vegan gravy and herbed tofu mixed with brussels sprouts.

and Cafe, Portland, Oregon

a n d Cafe is located at 5420 E. Burnside. They make breakfast and lunch, the service is snappy and friendly and they have lots of options for those of you with, let’s say, needs.

New Deal Cafe

New Deal Cafe, Portland, OR

Two years ago, Eric and I went on a two-week trip to India. We were there for a wedding (which meant I was working) and the wedding was one of the more stressful things I’ve ever been involved with. All in all, it wasn’t a super-relaxing trip. I’m so glad we went, but next time it’s going to be under different circumstances.

We only spent a couple days in Delhi, and the rest of the time we were in a smaller city in eastern India. I love Indian food, but eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 13 days started to get a little monotonous. Then, to top off the rest of the experience, I got some kind of water-borne illness on our last two days there. I drugged myself to the max just to get myself on the plane. I can’t ever remember wanting to be home so badly.

The next morning, we woke up in Amsterdam. As we got off the train at Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, the sun was just beginning to make an appearance and the bakeries began to open their doors. At last, I thought. The western world!

We ditched our suitcases and walked down the street, browsing for a place to have our first meal. It only took us a few steps and we were standing in front of an adorable cafe with an 8€ all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet with bacon, scrambled eggs, granola, yogurt, coffee and hash browns. I had barely eaten in two days.

I’m sure we didn’t represent our country very proudly that morning, inhaling plates of bacon and hardly saying a word to each other, except, “Breakfast is so good.” 

New Deal Cafe, Portland, OR

And you know what? Breakfast is so good. That’s why I’m so glad they serve it until 4 p.m. every single day at The New Deal Cafe in NE Portland. It’s welcoming and casual, you can camp out for awhile to work or read and the food is completely delicious. With specials like banana chocolate chip pancakes, how could you possibly go wrong?

New Deal Cafe, Portland, OR

The New Deal Cafe is located at 5250 NE Halsey St. Go for breakfast, anytime.

New Deal Cafe

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

He may have been 20 years too old, and he may have been my orthodontist, but that guy was hot. Every time I went in to have my braces tightened, my little fourth-grader stomach got butterflies. He looked like Paul Rudd. I would sit in his chair, mouth agape, trying to laugh at his jokes and be ladylike while he checked my teeth over. I’m sure it happened to him constantly.

The combination of Mr. Super Hot Orthodontist and what happened next made my early-morning orthodontist appointments totally worth it. I may have been the first patient in at 6:30, but after the hardware was taken care of for another month, my dad and I would head to Shirley’s Coffee House in downtown Beaverton, where I’d always have their signature coffee cake, which was dense and sweet and delicious. It was my favorite.

For twenty minutes, I got to enjoy a delicious, well-made baked good (and usually some hot chocolate) and some time with my dad. Taking a moment to sit with someone you love and eat something comforting is one of my favorite things.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

At Blue Star Donuts, you can find beautiful, comforting pastries and a quiet moment to sit. Pastry chef Stephanie Thornton makes her donuts warm, comforting and high-quality. All I know is, I’m never eating another donut in my life that doesn’t come from this shop.

I haven’t had them all, but each one I’ve had has been delicious. The main reason I haven’t had them all is because the second one I tried was a buttermilk old-fashioned and it was so good, it’s all I can order when I go back. I’d bet money that the hard apple cider fritter is just as delicious. At once sweet, milky and tart, this old-fashioned is like nothing you’ve tasted in a donut shop before. Wash it down with Stumptown coffee or Steven Smith tea. I recommend the chamomile.

Blue Star opens each morning with a fresh supply of donuts and stays open until they’re gone. For best results, come early and bring someone you love.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

The only donut you’ll ever need lives at 1237 SW Washington St. in downtown’s endlessly hip West End district. More donuts? Check out the Twitter feed.

Pine State Biscuits

Pine State Biscuits, Portland, Oregon

Dad’s Weekend at Washington State University, 2003. Those football fanatics up in the Palouse really love to camp out and wait for football tickets. The line ran around the entirety of Beasley Coliseum, and I don’t even remember what game the tickets were for. However, it was clear to us as we rolled up uncomfortably early on Friday morning to snag a spot in that line that we may not be getting tickets. That didn’t stop us from waiting, though — waiting and waiting, and getting to know the people around us, and hanging out on the cement floor playing Scrabble on Eric’s palm pilot (Yes, that’s right — palm pilot!)

Once every 15 minutes, the crowd would inch forward. We started to wonder if we’d ever make it to the front. Then my phone rang and it was my parents — in the time we’d been waiting in line, they’d managed to drive across an entire state to get to us. They came in to the coliseum and found us. It’s awkward to see your parents for the first time in a couple months while sleepily waiting on a concrete floor for football tickets.

“How long have you been here?” they asked. I couldn’t even remember. 3 hours? 5? 8? “Well, that’s ridiculous,” my mom said. “We don’t care about football that much. Won’t the game be on TV?”

She had a valid point. So we packed up our pillows and we walked out into the sunshine to spend our time doing anything else but continuing to wait in line.

Pine State Biscuits, Portland, Oregon

I was joking with friends lately about the lines that form in front of Portland’s favorite restaurants. In a city with so much great food, it seems weird that we’d be willing to wait an hour for brunch, but we seem to be a committed (and loyal) bunch. Pine State Biscuits is one of the restaurants with a perpetual line out the door. The line is there for good reason, though. The biscuits are insane. They’re fresh, melty, not-too-crumbly goodness and you can order them with gravy, with egg and cheese, with fried chicken or about a thousand other ways.

The smell is what draws you in and convinces you to wait around for awhile in a long line out the door. But once you place your order, the service is snappy and you can enjoy the side patio picnic tables and savor your large, cold Arnold Palmer while your biscuit cooks. The line is intimidating at certain times, but if you go for a late lunch or during work hours Monday-Friday, your wait won’t be too painful. Good things come to those who wait!

Pine State Biscuits, Portland, Oregon

Pine State Biscuits‘ main shop is located at 2204 NE Alberta in the Alberta Arts District. A second location near SE 11th & Division is coming soon, and you can also get Pine State at the Portland Farmers Market on the PSU campus on Saturdays through November.