Did you know that Square-equipped iPads double as regular iPads?
I'd never noticed that before, but as a drizzly and depressed autumn brought a lull to Portland restaurants, I started seeing servers around town using their registers recreationally after finishing their side work and exhausting their phone batteries.
Which brings us to breakfast at Pine Street Market. The upscale food hall, which opened in April with much fanfare (Eater Portland's editor called it "the food hall that will change downtown forever"), added breakfast in late October. Every place except Wiz Bang Bar has participated, beginning at 8 am and continuing through the start of lunch service at 11 am. (John Gorham decided to discontinue breakfast at Shalom Y'all and Pollo Bravo just before our print deadline.)
Are you one of those people forever complaining about long lines for good brunch in Portland? Well, fam, this is your spot. On three visits for breakfast, I've yet to wait behind anyone to order anything. And there are some really nice options.
In its early days, Pine Street was plagued with logistical issues, like unnecessarily keycode-protected restrooms. Well, the restrooms are unlocked now and they haven't been annexed by tweakers. Getting your own silverware and figuring out the market's recycling system is a lot less stressful when you're not being jostled by overeager Okie tourists.
Here's what I suggest you seek out.
Fancy toast and classic pastries at Trifecta Annex.
Ken Forkish's mini-bakery was slated to have a fancy-toast bar when it opened. Instead, we get a rotating lineup of fancy toasts and the same excellent croissants and loaves. My favorite is a walnut bread coated with translucent layers of melted housemade butter and a little local honey ($4), though the house jam is also good. The croissants are—well, they're Ken's excellent croissants. I was especially fond of the double chocolate that has just a kiss of gooey melted chocolate in the center.
Lattes at Barista
Billy Wilson's sparse third-wave aesthetic is a somewhat stern and fussy choice for this space. To me, the best thing in the whole market is still Salt & Straw's soft-serve spot, Wiz Bang Bar, which embraces and elevates the idea of a mall food court.
Pine Street has a huge tourist clientele, and Barista doesn't even have whipped cream. But what it does do, it does well—I've had a fabulous latte and a respectable Americano. Tea lovers should make a point of ordering some tea, as Barista has a BKON flash brewing system that costs as much as a Smart car and makes tea that aficionados go nuts for.
Breakfast dog at OP Wurst
Olympia Provisions' extra-smoky wiener is wrapped in ultra-thin slices of house-cured bacon and fried on the flat top. Then, it's put into a fresh, just-crisped bun with eggs and cheese, plus onions, peppers, mushrooms or pretty much whatever veggies you want—such is the case when you're the only breakfast customer they see on a quiet Wednesday. Split this and some Trifecta toast, and you have a very nice brunch for two.
Trifecta Annex breakfast pizzas.
Trifecta rounds out its breakfast menu with "breakfast pizzas," topped with eggs, potatoes, fontina, pecorino, pancetta and sage. The sage is the dominant flavor. There's nothing wrong with them, per se, but pizza that tastes like sausage gravy isn't especially useful to me. On the other hand, it's a fun novelty.
Sundaes at Wiz Bang Bar
Fun fact: Ice cream is made of milk. That makes it basically yogurt and a totally respectable breakfast, right? Well, Wiz Bang Bar opens at 9 am, and you can sneak right up to get one of the best soft-serve sundaes in town without having the massive lines that form later.
Pine Street Market, 126 SW 2nd Ave., pinestreetpdx.com. Open at 8 am daily.