It started drizzling off and on during my first morning in Portland. This put my plans for a trip to Washington Park on the back-burner. So I decided to walk a few blocks and have breakfast at Mother's Bistro & Bar.
Mother's specializes in "Comfort Food", just like Mom used to make....well not my Mom, no Miso Soup, Sukiyaki, or Nishime here, but someones Mom. The menu features such comfort items as Matzo Ball Soup, Chopped Liver, House-Cured Lox, Chicken & Dumplings, Pot Roast, and Meatloaf & Gravy. Mother's also seems to have cornered the market on "shabby chic" furniture. I arrived at about 10 after 7 on a Friday morning, and several tables were already going strong.
I found that there are two items that Oregonians are really passionate about; beer and coffee. I ordered a cup of coffee, and went through the same drill several times; brewed or French Press, Organic, Dark roast..........and I thought those Vietnamese Restaurant menus were confusing!
To be perfectly honest, I loved the coffee(Holler Mountain Organic Blend - French Press - $2.95), provided by Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The very friendly and helpful Server; I believe Her name was Michelle, gave me directions to Stumptown.
As for the food; I decided to order "Mike's Special Scramble"($8.95):
A scramble of Prosciutto Ham, roasted garlic, fresh tomatoes, basil, and provolone cheese. Nothing wrong with the scramble, though I thought that perhaps a bit more tomato would help cut the richness of the scramble a bit, I'm really not used to such a "heavy" breakfast. The honey whole wheat toast was fine, but the breakfast potatoes were lousy. Some of the potatoes were cold, some molten hot, some pieces over slated, some not salted at all. The edges of several pieces of potato were dry and hard as rock.
The prices at Mother's are fairly reasonable, with breakfast running from Two Eggs any style at $5.95 to $10.95 for Wild Salmon Hash. Mother's also flies in H&H Bagels from New York. Most Lunch entrees run from $8.95 to $10.95, so prices for lunch seem to be fairly reasonable as well.
Mother's Bistro & Bar
409 Sw 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204
Breakfast: Tues-Fri 7am-230pm
Lunch: Tues-Sun 1130am-230pm
Dinner: Tues-Thurs 530pm-9pm
After eating this, I was ready to go right back to my room. But since I was armed with my umbrella, I decided to take a walk up to Chinatown(5 Portland-sized blocks North). Here's a photo of the Chinatown Gateway:
In contrast to Chinatowns in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, and Honolulu, Portland Chinatown was very quite and sedate at this time of the morning. I later read that for a 30 year period between 1880 and 1910, Portland had the second largest Chinese community in the West.
This building for this restaurant; the House of Louie was built in 1922.
As with several "Chinatowns" in the US, like the Chinatown in Washington DC, there's not really much that is truly Chinese about "Chinatown". There was one destination, that I really did want to visit in the area.....
The Classical Chinese Garden.
This garden was completed in September of 2000, by workmen from Portland's Sister city of Suzhou.
According to what I read, from between 1000AD, and through the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644AD), Suzhou was the city where Imperial Court Officials retired to. In retirement, these officials built housing compounds that featured beautiful and opulent gardens.
These gardens take up a whole city block.
A nice relaxing break.
Portland Classical Chinese Garden
239 Northwest Everett St
Portland, OR 97209
November 1 - March 31: 10:00am - 5:00pm
April 1 - October 31: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Admission: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5.50 for students