Weekend Comfort Food
You know you’re in Portland when you’re willing to cheerfully stand outside a breakfast joint for 20 minutes waiting to be seated… it’s one of the things to me that defines Portland for some reason, I’ve never been to another city where this was the accepted norm the way it is here. A line and wait to get in tells you, this place is really good – such is the case with Mother’s Bistro & Bar in downtown.
Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out … probably due to the fact that I don’t regularly eat a real breakfast except on weekends, and because having the luxury to actually sit down and eat a warm meal instead of drink-chewing cereal out of a coffee cup while I drive to work is such an indulgence. The trick for me is getting there early enough with hungry kids that you can get in before they’re ready to perish from starvation – grumpy, kids in the morning, moms without their first coffee – not a good combo on any day! You can tell this place has the young ones in mind, as while we waited outside we spotted one playing contentedly in the window. This is definitely a grown-up place, although they have the window seat area for small children and do offer crayons and a children’s menu.
Once inside, we were instantly charmed – there are cute mirrors, chandeliers and white cabinets complementing the homey brick walls – a display case full of baked goodies, steam rising from the station where the barista prepares the coffees, it’s got a very pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. I had to get a shot of the sign above the cash register, it just pulled the whole “Mother” theme together, I thought:
Our waitress was the best – very friendly and patient (the kids were a little grumpy to begin with but she understood). I asked what the most popular dish was there, and we ended up ordering both since they happened to be our favorites – eggs benedict and biscuits and gravy. They even have half orders, which is wonderful because in my experience those are two dishes that just don’t alway do well as leftovers. Everything came to the table hot and at the same time – which is HUGE when you’re talking about breakfast and can often be a problem in a place that’s popular and busy. My son can be a picky eater, but he loved the biscuits and gravy – although he did complain his hot chocolate didn’t have his required twelve inches of whipped cream on top!
My eggs benedict was quite good, and again just the right amount so I was happy they had the half-order offering. Everything was well-seasoned, sometimes you get too much of a tangy thing going on with the hollandaise but this was just right – potatoes cooked properly – everything. They only serve the eggs benedict on weekends, so make sure to note that if you go!
We convinced my friend’s son to get a pastry – we were all dying to live vicariously through his ability to basically eat a dessert for breakfast guilt-free so we encourage this… didn’t take much convincing!
My friend Jen is on a very strict no-carb diet – and they were again very helpful in coming up with a solution, tough to do in a place swarming with potatoes and bread with each entree, and featuring waffles and other items that are griddled. They brought her a salad instead of the potatoes with her order of “Mike’s Special Scramble”, it had raisins, sunflower seeds … not a bad substitute, I thought, if you have to forego the yummy potatoes.
There are two kinds of people when it comes to encountering good food. If you’re like me, you try to plot out how you can return as soon as possible, work this stop into your routine somehow so you can revisit the dishes you love and crave over and over. Or, if you’re like Jen, you sit there and note the ingredients so you can make it on your own at home! Her scramble had stuff in it I’ve never even heard of, a soft cheese she said was like feta but without the briny (“briny”? feta is briny?) taste. Prosciutto, roasted garlic… she said it was the best one she’d ever had. I would not know how to roast a garlic if I had one, (see note above re the cereal out of a cup) so I’m grateful there are other Mother’s out there who do!