29 January 2010

Another Day, Another Breakfast

Breakfast Sandwiches, $8.95 (very splittable)

Biscuits are a comfort food. They warm you up and make you feel good inside. They add an extra oomph to any meal and turn a boring, so sad breakfast sandwich into something that melts in your mouth. Can we talk about breakfast sandwiches for a second? I love em’. I love having all my breakfast items packed nicely into a sandwich. However, your everyday bread, toasted and loaded up with an egg and cheese will be one giant mess, not to mention the fact that your mouth will be bleeding from the roof top from the toasted bread. There are some cooks who recognize this agony and actually do something about it; Cricket Café keenly places their breakfast sandwiches on a biscuit. Making for a most delicious start to my day.

Cricket Café, on SE Belmont has what I like to call GIANT breakfasts. They are almost all splitable! Cricket doesn’t look like anything special on the outside, but inside is a cute, nicely attired café, filled with Belmont’s hipsters. Don’t worry though, they aren’t exclusive and the vibe inside is not hipsterish in the least.

My friend ordered the Big Farm Breakfast, $9.00. I think they call it the Big Farm Breakfast because there is enough food to feed a farm. The meal includes 2 eggs anyway you like, two crispy slices of peppered bacon, a choice of either challah french toast or a pancake, potatoes or fruit and toast. This meal is HUGE and should be split!

I of course ordered their breakfast sandwiches with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon ham, on a homemade biscuit, with hash browns. I was thinking one breakfast sandwich would come out and was soo pleased to see two! And their hash browns are cooked up perfectly golden. The breakfast sandwiches are the kind that are dangerously good and make it impossible to leave without being stuffed to the brim. Even after finishing one, I was so full and decided to take one home for my dinner. It didn’t of course last until dinner, but my intention was good.

Cricket Café is all about choices, with an extensive menu—including “make your own scrambles/omelets.” I can’t wait to try their Oatmeal Cinnamon Pancakes next time.

Cricket Cafe on Urbanspoon

23 January 2010

Pie for Breakfast? Helser's on Alberta

Pear and Havarti Pie, $7.50

Only a step away from the ever hectic Alberta, Helser’s offers a calm, quaint backdrop to your morning dining. I’ve been hearing about Helser’s for awhile now and with a few hours to spare on a Friday morning, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to beat the long lines which wait outside on the weekends.

Their menu is small and meals stay reasonably priced. I enjoyed their ability to step outside of the typical Portland scramble box (although I do love my scrambles!) and offer Dutch Babies, Pigs in a Blankets and Pepper Bacon and Cheddar Hash. I decided to ignore my constant urge for benedicts and tried the Pear and Havarti Pie: Bartlett pears and havarti cheese baked in an egg custard and served with crème fraiche, fresh fruit and a toasted crumpet.

Paying no attention to its name, I was surprised it came out looking like a piece of pie. But indeed it was a piece of pie, made with creamy egg, almost like a crustless quiche. The thick slices of pear were delicious and the melted havarti added a pleasant touch to the creaminess of the eggs and soft pear. My favorite part was the crème fraiche on the side, bringing a slight tartness to the pie. The crumpet was a nice change from the typical “whole wheat toast”, but disappointingly enough they dropped the ball on the jam. They simply had a small bowl filled with Smucker’s individual jellies. This was an IHOP mistake—we are in Portland; give us some homemade jam please! Even some sweet butter and honey would have been better then these. Nonetheless, the egg pie was unique and tasteful.

I will certainly be back soon to try the Smoked Salmon Hash and of course their Eggs Benedict.

Helser's on Alberta on Urbanspoon

20 January 2010

Stinkin’ Stanich’s

“The Special” The World’s Greatest Hamburger and fries, $7.75

I was at the gym this Saturday morning and the trainer standing next to me was blindly telling his client that he was headed to Stanich’s that afternoon. He was describing their heart attack burger and she oohed and ahhed, while dripping with sweat on the bike. My first thought was that I hadn’t been to Stanich’s in ages and my second thought was just pure confusion as to why this idiot trainer was torturing his client by telling her about this must have burger that she clearly shouldn’t have.

Stanich’s, a family owned burger joint on NE Fremont, has been around since 1949 and most likely hasn’t been deep cleaned or upgraded since. This adds to their beloved character—oh so much character at Stanich’s; from their oversized, poop brown vinyl booths, wood siding walls covered in outdated college flags, to their dingy carpet and psychedelic juke box. Don’t worry about leaving crumbs on the floor, they may be the single establishment left that owns a Dustbuster.

These trades make going to Stanich’s like a visit to your grandparent’s basement and that first bite of their unmistakable burger is that much more interesting for them. But nothing and I mean nothing could take away from their burgers. I’m gonna say it; I’m just going to throw it out there: Stanich’s has Portland’s and most likely the NW’s and according to them, the worlds, GREASTEST BURGER. I know, you have your favorite, but nothing, not even the $21 chic burger, trumps Stanich’s. When I say burger, I’m talking about their Special: they start with a soft bun, topped with lettuce, onions and a secret sauce. Then they place a hot of the grill patty of ground chuck with melted American cheese. This is where they get all special on you, adding a piece of ham, then bacon, and topping it off with a fried egg! Pure protein overload. Maybe that woman at the gym could eat it?

Add their house cut fries and some RC or a $3.00 pint and you are set. Splitting this burger isn’t a bad choice at all. Half a burger is plenty filling with fries.

P.S. you will be burping up your Stanich burger for at least 4 hours—but that should be the least of your concerns . . .

Stanich's on Urbanspoon

17 January 2010

Patty's Got Cakes

Be Bop a Rebop Rhurbarb, $1.50

Ever heard anybody say, “She’s got cakes”? Ok, well I work in a high school, so this term is making its way to the masses and starting with our local teens. It’s slang for meaning a girl has a nice booty. Well, the when I first heard this term, I thought the reference was to cake—cupcakes? Chocolate cake? Coffee Cake? I didn’t know what kind, but suddenly I was searching down the halls for the girl who apparently had cake. To my disappointment, the girl had nothing but a tight pair of jeans.

But then I went to Jim and Patty’s Coffee shop on NE Fremont and realized that Patty really did have cakes—coffee cakes. In fact, the most scrumptious, fruit topped coffee cake in town! Blueberry, raspberry, rhubarb, peach, the list is endless; and each one with a goofy name, like Naughty Supermodel Marionberry. Jim and Patty’s, who in the past few years moved to a brand new location down the street from their old hole in the wall, know about coffee—bold, strong, make you jitter kind of coffee. They are the original Coffee People! Now serving Stumptown coffee, their second specialty, which in my book might even trump the jitters, is their homemade, fresh out of the oven, sour cream coffee cakes. They have so many to choose from, and each one is moist and crumb topped.

Now here’s the secret— the day old coffee cakes sit in a basket next the register and trust me, these are just as good as the day of cakes and for half the price ($1.50, compared to $2.95 fresh). One more thing, if you mourn Coffee People’s Black Tiger drinks and shakes as much as I do, besides the Portland Airport (concourse C West and B); this is the only place in town that still offers them.

Jim & Patty's Coffee on Urbanspoon

16 January 2010

Mangia, Mangia, Mangia

Finally, my long awaited for blog design is here! A huge thank you to Penny Lane Designs for their style and patience while I laid awake at night picking colors. I hope you enjoy the new style update as much as I do.

Eat Up.

09 January 2010

Mangia Gets a Makeover!

You may be wondering why there haven't been any new blogs in quite awhile. Do not fret; Mangia is on a short, but much needed hiatus. In lieu of the the big 2010, Mangia will be coming back bigger and better and with a whole new design. Hold tight and check back soon for the unveiling.