The Mornings After

It’s summertime in Portland; the skies are clear and light pashmina shawls are worn not for temperature but to conceal some of the silky sundress induced nips (decipher as you will)

The sun sets late and thus prolongs the night. With the vast majority of my foreign friends being gone, I’ve been spending a lot of time daytime and late night frolicking around NE Portland with my work friends slash David and Anne (who have successfully integrated into the crew that is my work friends and their friends)- in parks, at the bachelorette pads and basements of friends, on patios, the sidewalk, and of course at brunch.

Caitlin has offered me multiple times to crash at her Alberta pad on those 3am nights when I insisted on going home to get my beauty rest (beauty…who am I kidding) because I had a brunch reservation to tend to in the morning. Yes, for some setting a 9am alarm for brunch sounds like a chore, but really there is nothing better than arriving to a classy PDX establishment on a brightly lit summer day- Matthew Williamson shades on (and kept on), one or two missing brain cells, and a glorious menu to pawn over…and then of course stories to recount.

So here I bring forth, not one, not two, but THREE epic Morning After Portland brunches; and I’m saving the best (and most epic of them all) for the end of the post.

The Country Cat

The Country Cat is in the neighbourhood of Montavilla, residing far out East on SE Stark and 80th. It’s an interesting dichotomy of a neighbourhood with a seemingly large immigrant population and cornucopia of ethnic grocers and eating establishments (everything from Ethiopian/East African to authentic dim sum hotspots). The particular stretch on Stark where it resides however is abundant with a few notable Portland establishments such as The Observatory, and then of course this homely Southern influenced brunch spot.

The menu…always the question of whether to have sweet or savoury

Anne: Cinnamon Swirl Challa French Toast
Dipped in Maker’s Mark custard with Winter fruit compote, clabber cream, & maple syrup

Me: Wild Mushroom & Fontina Cheese Omelet
Served with home fries

David: Shrimp and Grits topped with a fried egg

Kat: Smoky Bacon & Broccoli Hash
With two poached eggs & mustard cream

The Country Cat on Urbanspoon

Olympic Provisions (NW)

Anyone who knows anything about charcuterie in Portland (or perhaps the entire northwest) has heard of Olympic Provisions. Besides being Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria, the two locations (the other being in SE Industrial district) also feature an enticing deli and full on restaurant. Since David decided to bail out on our brunch plans this week (for good reason…his grandma is in town), we decided to stay on the westside. After a mere five hours of shut-eye, I put on some shades, a floral romper (though I despise rompers) and my Alexander Wang satchel (to add a semblance of glamour to my diced start du jour) and headed to meet Anne…who predictably looked v glamorous in an entirely Kate Spade/Tory Burch ensemble.

Too many excellent choices…per usual

Anne: Breakfast sandwich with bacon,
two eggs, cheddar cheese, ketchup, arugula

Me: Daily Frittata stuffed with asparagus, gruyere, and sorrel with schmaltz-roasted potatoes, and very buttery toast

This was the most delightful breakfast brunch considering my physiological state; plus having had a rather jumbled day of eating on the day before (artisanal cheese plates, slices of bresaola, strawberries, pecorino fries, and several Boot Strap Bucks/El Diablos at Kask); this was the ultimate satiation.

Olympic Provisions on Urbanspoon

…And now, for the most famous brunch in all of Portland (and perhaps the Northwest)…I present to you Top Chef mistress, Naomi Pomeroy’s…

BEAST

Just so you know, David, Anne and I had made our 10am reservation at this famed establishment nearly a month in advance. Beast has two brunch sessions each Sunday, one at 10 and one at 12 noon and then they have dinner Wednesday-Saturday nights with two nightly seatings. The brunch is a set charge of $35 and a four course surprise menu with never a single dish repeated. Despite having gorged on a Pine State Biscuit a mere 8 hours prior (that’s for another post) and having indulged in a mere five hours of sleep from another Alberta adventure, I was beyond the valley of stoked for this experience

My kind of place…

And…the surprise revealed

I love not having to stress about menu choices; in fact I will inadvertently shun any dining establishment with too large of a menu- I do not want to be given a choice; just give me what you’re good at, what’s in season, and what will be delicious (especially during the most debilitated classy meal of the week…I simply do not have the brainpower prior to carbs and Stumptown to make a coherent decision)

Also…David and Anne were quite stoked on not having to wait for me to photograph the food this time since we were ALL having the same thing

Course 1: Rhubarb Clafoutis with candied hazelnuts, whipped cream and maple-glazed bacon (I gave my bacon away to David)

While a delightful first course, it was a tad too sweet for my first taste du jour, but that’s really my fault

Course 2: Braised pork belly hash with maitake mushrooms, artichokes, turnips, asparagus and cauliflower, a poached duck egg and hollandaise

Yes, Beast is a pork-heavy establishment and I went in realising that as a non-pork eater I would have to do a little picking- but this course was perhaps the single most incredible brunch plate I have ever had. I have developed a new affinity for duck egg- yolkier and more velvety than that of the chicken, and an absolute divinity when drenching a hash of fresh local vegetables.

Course 3: Gathering of Cheeses from Steve’s Cheese Bar, Gathering Together Farm Greens, and an aged Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette

Course 4: Chocolate Truffle Cake, White Chocolate Mousse, and Oregon Strawberries

As much as I adore a fancy, unconventional, and savoury-tinged dessert; at the end of the day there is nothing like a slab of high calibre chocolate cake. At this point I was ridiculously stuffed but as one should know, I am not one to leave  a plate in residence

Conclusion: Phenomenal; now I just need to find someone willing to shell out $75 for the dinner here (in my defence I’ll sacrifice two Laurelhurst Market suppers to compensate). Any volunteers?

Beast on Urbanspoon

What are your summer weekend routines?

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2 thoughts on “The Mornings After

  1. Sooo I’m about to go to bed yet an suddenly wishing tomorrow was Sunday so I could have a legit reason to go out for brunch! Everything looks so delicious especially that slab of chocolate cake. Morning or not, any cake that looks like that is a good idea. Also Anne’s French toast in the first place looks to die for!

    One thing I love about summer weekends is definitely dining al fresco and the fact that the weather alone is enough reason for happy hour to be celebrated on a daily basis :)

  2. Is it sad that I’ve never been to an actual real brunch before? I was in Vegas the other day and I wanted to go to The Wicked Spoon but at the last minute I decided I wanted sushi….somehow sushi always wins.

    That french toast makes me want to change my habits though.

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