Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gracious Goodness

When I was arranging to have breakfast with my friend Mary Fishback of Portland's newest (and bluest) foodie landmark, the Waffle Window, there was only one place to go. And that was Gracie's in the Hotel Deluxe, formerly known as the dining room of the Mallory Hotel.

Why not Toast, or the Tin Shed, you ask? Because of its quiet elegance, the same qualities I admire in Ms. Fishback, and also because of its marble-topped tables with restrained table settings, thick drapery on the windows and deliciously strong coffee in white ceramic cups.

The corned beef hash.

The other reason was more self-serving, and that was to have the bread pudding that I'd sampled on my last visit, a lusciously decadent version that was crisped and warm and served with a small pile of bananas and pecans, all dusted with a gentle sprinkling of powdered sugar. There was also a small pot of maple syrup on the side, but it wasn't necessary to make this crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-in-the-middle bit of heaven a total treat.

Mary opted for heartier fare, a hash of variously colored heirloom potatoes with corned beef, topped with two of the most perfectly poached eggs I'd ever seen. The effect of sitting and sipping our coffee in this sumptuous and calm expanse, the morning's sunshine pouring in the windows, was the opposite of most clanky, bright and jarring breakfast places. And one I'll be going back to soon.

Details: Gracie's in the Hotel Deluxe, 729 SW 15th Ave. Phone 503-219-2094.

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