$ Cheap (entrees less than $10)
$$ Average (entrees $10-$18)
$$$ Expensive (entrees $19-$25)
$$$$ Half a paycheck (entrees $26 and up)
Ratings are based on a four-star scale
**** Excellent food, creative items and top notch service.
*** Good food, good value and nothing below reasonable expectations.
** Two stars are given to restaurants that are adequate but need improvement. You wouldn’t go out of your way to eat there again unless changes in quality and menu were made.
* One star is reserved for places that you would not recommend under almost any circumstances.
1404 NW Galveston Ave., Bend
A knot of patrons in their 20s and 30s hover over a fire, warming the parts that their knit hats and down vests don’t cover. The Victorian Café’s waiting room is an outdoor firepit with encircled benches and anticipation. Inside one of Bend’s finest breakfast venues, the small cafe is bustling at a pitch. Known for making and re-making creative breakfast classics in-house with regional produce, the Vic is a fresh dish in the local culinary scene. One of the best items on the vast menu is the Naples Eggs Benedict ($15.95). This dish begins with house-made Mediterranean sausage patties, artichoke hearts and shiitake mushrooms, then is served on a grilled English muffin with two poached eggs. Over the top lies a silky homemade roasted red pepper hollandaise sauce. It is nicely finished with a side of homemade apple sauce. The full-pint Man-mosa from a private label champagne ($9.95) is a good accompaniment with the Naples. Stay on the savory side of the morning with the Green Hornet omelet and its fresh spinach, jalapenos, scallions and Gruyere. Every savory deserves a sweet bite, too. The French toast Kaanapali ($12.95) is sent from above. This treat comes stuffed with pineapple mascarpone cheese and is crusted in toasted macadamia and coconut, and topped with a homemade Kaffir lime cream sauce and fresh mango syrup. Prepare to huddle around an open fire on weekends until a table opens, but know that your wait at Victorian Café is well worthwhile.
Stepping Stone Café
2390 NW Quimby Street, Portland
If you wake up extra hungry for an unpretentious breakfast in a funky neighborhood joint, Stepping
Stone Café is your answer. This greasy spoon has been around for more than sixty years. Despite an extra dose of quirkiness (holiday ornaments that rise to the ceiling as you enter the door), it’s simply great breakfast grub. Located far from the hordes on NW Quimby, Stepping Stone flirted with national attention in 2009 when featured on “Man v Food.” It was Adam Richman vs. a stack of Man-Cakes—
pancakes so gargantuan that most earnest consumers can’t finish just one, let alone a stack. Man-Cakes come in buttermilk or whole wheat; a single is $3.50. Three-egg omelets ($8-$9) are offered in ten different combinations, or design your own using traditional filling such as ham and cheese or gourmet treats—portabella mushroom, artichoke hearts or fresh jalapeño. Try the eggs benedict, a perfectly engineered balance of poached eggs, Canadian bacon and hollandaise ($9). Stepping Stone Café is a haven for hash brown lovers. Try the Dilemma, hash browns covered with fresh spinach and cheese ($6.75). Specials range from breakfast enchiladas to Cajun scrambles ($8.50). There are few guarantees in life, but one is a waiting list at Stepping Stone after 8:30 a.m. on weekends. Get there early.
Blue Scorcher Café
1493 Duane Street, Astoria
With a focus on local, sustainable, organic and vegetarian, Blue Scorcher Bakery & Café captures Astoria along with the eccentricity of its NBAs (Native Born Astorians) and the heartiness of its ABCs (Astorians By Choice). Since 2006, Blue Scorcher has offered up the creative and unusual, proving that poetry goes well with poached eggs. Try the Breakfast of Wonder ($10) and Huevos Scorcheros ($11), served with their baked breads. The delicious French toast is made with Scorcher challah and soaked in spiced egg and cream, and served with organic maple syrup ($10). There’s also the Persian yogurt breakfast ($7.50), freshly made granola and a showcase full of buttery tarts, croissants and pastries. Located in the historic Fort George building, this venue has wooden tables and a reclaimed counter facing large vintage windows, a cozy couch and even a children’s play area. Daily specials are based on what’s fresh from local farms and forests–an in-season chanterelle omelet is delectable.
Deux Chats Bakery
222 A Street, Ashland
In recent years, abuse of the word “artisan” has caused it to lose much of its former glory. To understand the true meaning of the word, one only needs to venture off the beaten path and discover Deux Chats Bakery in Ashland, one of Southern Oregon’s true gems. Baker Michelle Furuichi and her husband, Garrett, operate this wholesale artisan bakery, which is also open to the public several days a week. Deux Chats features a wide selection of classic breads, pastries, cookies and desserts for any craving. Sweets not to miss include the almond caramel knot ($3), a fluffy, flaky and addictive pastry topped with a drizzle of warm toffee and a garnish of sliced almonds, as well as the Sunrise brioche ($3), a brioche roll layered with orange frangipane filling ($3). Savory items of note include the blue cheese roll ($2), a perfectly textured dinner roll with hints of Rogue Creamery blue cheese, as well as the savory galette ($5), a buttery and flaky hand-held crust filled with different flavor combinations each day. Deux Chat’s cookies ($1 each) and their classic breads are hands down the best in town.