My mom never really made me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was little. Maybe it was my irrational hatred of chunky peanut butter (hey, I was a weird kid) or love of anything that has cheese on it, but my sack lunches rarely contained the simplest of childhood food pleasures. So I came to PBJ's, a newish cart in Northwest Portland that slings nothing but grilled sammies filled with inventive combinations of locally produced fruit spreads and nut butters, as something of a skeptic. I left content to never eat anything else for the rest of my life. Though everything I've tried so far is delicious, it's hard to imagine a better way to start the day than with a messy Good Morning ($6): two thick slices of French toast slathered with blueberry jam, peanut butter and real maple syrup, enveloping two slices of crisp, salty bacon. And then you have the Betty, a Frankenstein PBJ/grilled-cheese hybrid that one of WW's production designers swears is every pregnant woman's food craving thrown together: melty Gruyère cheese, bread and butter pickles, peanut butter and a liberal dosing of sea salt. It's probably the grossest-sounding thing I've ever put in my mouth, but I couldn't help but finish my half in less than a minute. Sorry, Ma, but I know what I'm packing for lunch these days.
- Best bite: The rich, creamy Good Morning proves that everythingâeven a PBJâis better with bacon.
- Cheapest bite: A âkidsââ sandwich, with choice of jam and peanut butter ($3).
PBJ's is located at the corner of Northwest 23rd Avenue and Kearney Street, pbjsgrilled.com. Open 10 am-6 pm Wednesday-Sunday. $ Inexpensive.