There have been two great pieces of machinery at work lately in downtown Portland.
One is the growing empire of one John Gorham, owner of Toro Bravo and co-founder of two of the best brunches in Portland: Simpatica and Tasty N Sons. Gorham got a place downtown and announced plans to open Tasty N Alder, basically another Tasty N Sons to rock the downtown Portland brunch scene. Gorham is a machine in the good sense, with multiple successful restaurants, a cookbook in the works, and now this. Good for him, and us!
The other machine at work has been the Portland Media Machine. It fell in love with Gorham years ago, and the number of blogs and publications lining up to hump this man’s leg lately has been awesome to watch. The Media Machine has showed us pictures of Tasty N Alder before it opened (Oregonian), previewed its staff (Eater PDX), typed in its menu (Food Dude), posted a food slideshow (Examiner), interviewed one of his chefs (Willamette Week), and along the way even let us know that Gorham likes the doughnuts at Helen Bernhard Bakery (Eater) but hates the whole “hottest (looking) chef” thing (Zester).
For the record, I am not hating here. I had John on my podcast a couple years ago and heaped praise all over him in my book.
So by the time Tasty N Alder opened, I mean … how can you not go? It started brunch on February 6, with dinner coming February 20, and a grand opening March 1. So, yes, that’s three more chances at praise-heaping and leg-humping. You’re warned. I even teamed up with another blogger, Jen Stevenson of Under the Table with Jen and, with me, Operation Big Belly.
Meanwhile, what’s up at Tasty N Alder? It f–ing rocks, just like Tasty N Sons does. Go back and look at that menu from Food Dude, and here’s a little taste of what it was like to eat brunch there on opening day.
The thing to remember about brunch at Tasty is that you need to get past the idea of “to each their own.” Instead, think of it as “from each, a contribution to the whole.” That is, the plates are small, so everybody order something that sounds good, and let’s share.
The first thing we got was the yams glazed in cumin and maple. They went way too fast for photos.
Next out was Robin’s Steakhouse Sandwich, which might look like a burger but actually was Cascade Natural smoked coppa steak with fried onions & horseradish. We are talking tender, luscious meat in scrumptious sauce.
Next out was Jen’s Korean Fried Chicken, which again sounds like fried chicken but comes with house kimchi and two easy eggs.
I was getting jealous and hungry by this time, so it’s a good thing the Potatoes Bravas came out. They don’t share many details about this dish, but according to Wikipedia it’s chunks of potatoes that are boilded to soft, then fried, then covered in a sauce of either tomatoes, red pepper, vinegar, and spices or olive oil, red pepper, paprika, chili, and vinegar. At Tasty, it comes with an egg on top and aioli on the side, and it’s amazing.
Are you hungry yet? I was ravenous by this time, and that worked out, because out came my Pork Schnitzel. That would be a breaded and fried (and super tender) pork cutlet, served with a slice of ham, havarti cheese, over-easy eggs and mustard braised cabbage.
After a while we were all pretty giddy and happy, and then Jen suggested we finish things off with the Budapest Coffee Cake. I don’t know what’s up in Budapest, but apparently they do their coffee cake warm and soft and loaded with cinnamon. I couldn’t even get the girls to wait before I snapped a photo of it!
I am really worried about Tasty N Alder being downtown, and in fact a block where I board the Streetcar going to and from work. I am trying to lose weight even as I eat all these breakfasts, and having this huge menu of awesome food nearby isn’t going to help.
Count me, therefore, as part of the Tasty N Alder Brunch Machine.
Tasty N Alder is at 580 SW 12th, at Alder. It’s open for brunch 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. You can follow them as Tasty N Sons on Facebook. You can also follow The Breakfast Guy’s Twitter list of Portland Breakfast Places. And here’s The Breakfast Guy on Facebook.
And keep up with all things Paul – hiking, traveling, food and spirituality – over at PaulGerald.com.