Saturday, August 28, 2010

Belly Up to the Bar

I found myself literally stumbling across the Bakery Bar on NE Glisan just east of 28th.

I had the address, and you'd think the fluorescent orange paint job (left) would be hard to miss, but the signage marking its location is subtle and the orange storefront is tucked at the back of a parking lot-cum-patio studded with tables shaded by potted trees.

But once Dave and I traversed the patio, we found a small café at the back dominated by a counter and blackboards listing the day's offerings. We were obviously in for a treat, but not the kind that would normally be conjured by the "bakery" in its name. Yes, a small case containing a few petite, beautifully decorated cakes (right) was in evidence, but they were an oddly civilized counterpoint to the menu itself, which was one that a long-distance trucker would pull his 18-wheeler over several lanes of traffic and a few hybrid vehicles to get to.

Big plates of hash, scrambles and biscuits and gravy, sided with the bakery's English muffins and sizable pallets of hash browns were pouring out of the kitchen, feeding the mix of late-morning diners and bed-headed musicians standing patiently in line (top photo). I got the pastrami hash (left), little cubes of housemade pastrami and potatoes, red peppers and onions topped with two fried eggs and parsley pesto, a mountain of breakfast that I was only half-able to climb, indicating that Mr. B would get a nice little eye-opener when he arose later. The English muffin was a good version, griddled and tasty, but I missed the open, cratered texture of other versions that gets crispy on the edges when toasted and gives the butter little lakes to melt into.

Dave's migas, three eggs scrambled with a hefty shower of owner Dan Stoop's pickled jalapenos, caramelized red onions and fried tortillas, all topped with tomatillo salsa, were another big plateful of morning man-food. Dave had to pass on the cotija cheese, but did go for the additional of the house chorizo, and it all came with some of the aforementioned hash browns and the ubiquitous English muffin.

It's a breakfast to wash down with many cups of their strong coffee, and not just because of the volume of food they provide. The sunny patio, convivial buzz of conversation and mix of patrons give a reason to linger, with no pressure to move on to other activities. And what better start to a morning is there than that?

Details: Bakery Bar, 2935 NE Glisan St. between 29th & 30th. Phone 503-477-7779.

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