My mom and I had the most amazing brunch at Tasty n Sons in Portland, Oregon this winter. It was honestly one of my top-ten brunch experiences, and that says a lot, considering how much I love brunch.
But we’ll get back to the scrumptious food in a minute (many more delectable pictures to come, I promise!); first, I want to share the first-lovely-then-creepy walk we took to brunch. This was the view of the Willamette River from our hotel downtown.
Here’s my mom, with the first of many bridges linking East and West Portland, behind her.
We walked north along the river, all the way to the N Steel Bridge.
This brought us past an industrial Old Town. This historic district has a lot of character.
The day was gray (it was December, after all) but it was quite nice out and I thought they city still looked lovely.
I thought this lock was cool, you don’t see such an elaborate one every day.
Here’s the view looking Southwest from the bridge we crossed to get to the East side. This is when the city started to get a bit sketchy (I believe this was the Lloyd district). The area housed the convention center, and was a bit abandoned (it’s not shocking that this area was dead on the few days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve). We walked pretty far, up to Northeast Portland (all to get to Tasty n Sons for brunch, which was luckily totally worth it!). At one point we had no choice but to walk on a pretty shady street next to a freeway, and a creepy homeless man was the only person in sight. Of course, he was huge and mumbling, and coming towards us. My mom and I turned a corner to avoid him, but it looked like that would lead us into another sketchy area. Luckily, a public bus came by right then so we just hopped on! My mom launched into her version of the what had just happened (“we were attacked!”) leading the sympathetic (and gullible) bus driver to let us ride for free. She brought us all the way out of the sketchy area, and dropped us off in cute Boise, the hip district we were trying to get to. Thank you kind bus driver!
We sat at a counter facing the street, perfect for people-watching. My mom and I began with a “Tasty Mary” each: monopolowa vodka, tomato, Worcestershire, horseradish, lemon, sriracha, celery salt, and house pickles. Of course, I ate all the pickles. This beverage was superb, and only $8 which seems cheap compared to NYC!
We shared three dishes, two of the “smaller plates,” and one of the “larger” variety. Look at this menu; how did we not order more!? I wish I could go back and just try it all, literally.
Our first small plate was the Spanish-inspired potatoes bravas with over-easy eggs and aioli. Just look at that awesome, gluten-free mess. The many spices on the crisp and soft potatoes were mellowed out by the egg and aioli. It was just so utterly delicious, I could eat this at brunch weekly!
Our second small plate: “Polenta n Sausage Ragu” with mozzarella and and over-easy egg.
I chose this dish, and my mom was skeptical, but it turned out to be her favorite of the three! It was delicious, a true “brunch” dish that felt like a cross between breakfast and lunch. The polenta was super creamy, the sausage and sauce were very flavorful and of course, over-easy eggs are good on everything. The mozzarella was an added bonus.
Our third dish was very good, but my least favorite of the three. It was brown rice with a bunch of vegetables (bell pepper, onion, kale and more), topped with an egg and kimchi. To reiterate, it was still very good (especially the super strong, house-made kimchi) but the first two were just so unique and decadent, they won me over.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that this meal came out to less than $40?! Everywhere we went in Portland, me coming from overpriced New York and my mom coming from equally expensive Honolulu, we were astonished each and every time our bill arrived. My mom kept leaving huge tips, saying “I just feel bad not paying more!”
The surrounding blocks are really cute if you want to shop (pictured is a thrift shop – in a bus!) or grab a beer.
Tasty n Sons
Location: 3808 N. Williams, Suite C, Portland, OR 97227 Phone: (503) 621-1400