Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
12/12/2007 9:13:00 PM
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we suspect "they" are from Portland. Portland is a breakfast-hound's paradise, filled with restaurants that open in the early AM, and close after lunch. One of our favorites is a high-energy, stylish but casual place called the Bijou Cafe.
You will likely wait for a table at the Bijou; this place is no secret, and locals and tourists alike fill the airy dining room. Young couples read the morning paper over good coffee at the counter. The personable host and helpful waitstaff add much to the whole scene. All comers, regulars or not, are made to feel welcome. They all come for generous breakfasts built around top-notch ingredients, beginning with fresh-squeezed OJ with an uncommon intensity of fresh orange flavor. Hash is a specialty here, although this is no hash house. The Bijou is famed for their oyster hash, which we haven't tried, but we very much enjoy the roast beef hash and halibut hash. It seems hash in these parts is not like the finely-chopped, crusty versions we're more familiar with. This hash is based on chunky homefries combined with chunks of the named meat or seafood. The halibut tastes remarkably fresh, and the roast beef is, in fact, like "roasted beef."
Lunch is also served, and we understand that they make a first class burger from something called Painted Hills beef, which as far as we can gather, is a locally-prized organically produced beef. It's a lovely name, and if it's the same beef as is used in the hash, it's surely worth a try.