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Thursday, January 24, 2013

happy places: why we're smitten with seattle's portage bay cafe

Some of the best moments of my life have taken place at brunch. 

There was that moment when I looked across the table at my then boyfriend (now husband, L.) over blueberry pancakes one fine autumn morning at Sylvester's in Northampton, MA and I knew, I just knew that he was the one. 

There were the mornings on the sun-dappled patio at the Four Seasons Los Angeles when I enjoyed meetings with some of my favorite people at the movie studios. Negotiations over Lemon-Ricotta pancakes is always a good choice. 

There were the Sunday mornings in Manhattan when I met friends for maple bacon Bloody Mary's at David Burke Kitchen.

Brunch is relaxing. It's happy mornings with coffee mugs that are always filled and tables that are laden with omelettes, fresh squeezed juice, ripe beautiful strawberries and fresh baked whole grain toast. 

If you are having brunch with someone it means either the night before went really, really well or you are meeting up with someone you really really want to be with. Brunch is just a happy meal. Friends know that if they suggest getting together for a meal that I will say "Breakfast? Brunch?" Sure, dinner is lovely with the right people but brunch is wonderfully slow, delicious and typically full of laughs and those moments that just make your serotonin levels go all poppity pop pop

Traveling the world I am not the girl who wanted to go to the hottest dinner spots. No, I always asked locals about their favorite breakfast/brunch spots, little dives, hidden restaurants that may be off the beaten path. The best oatmeal I ever had was in Melbourne, Australia. I remember the scrambled eggs at the small cafe in Paris that made me swoon and French Toast, well I've pretty much traveled the world in search of the most heavenly French Toast. 

My Goat Cheese Omelette

Here in Seattle, we're lucky to be surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the world. Not long ago, we discovered Portage Bay Cafe (391 Terry Ave. N, Seattle) a restaurant well known for their organic, local and sustainable take on delicious, hearty meals. Housed in what feels like a Manhattan loft space, Portage Bay Cafe is open, airy and cozy. Here you'll find artsy folks, dads with strollers and Microsoft executives (Microsoft is located in the same building) sharing some of the best breakfast fare in the city. 

On the Saturday morning we visited, the place was PACKED (there are loads of stores and apartments in the area) but the wait was less than two minutes. (We would have waited 60!) The coffee was quick and the menu thorough. I opted for the Goat Cheese Omelette and L. had the Chorizo Sausage Scramble. (Click here for the full breakfast menu)  Had we ordered any pancakes or french toast we would have taken a trip up to the succulent berry bar.  

Yes, this is the infamous berry bar!

The omelette was amazing. The coffee was rich and perfect. L. opted for fruit instead of potatoes and instead of an expected sad grape/cantaloupe/melon combo, he was presented with a bowl of freshly sliced bright grapefruit, orange and pineapple. 

L.'s Chorizo Sausage Scramble. Look at that gorgeous fruit!

Sure, the breakfast was incredible but what made this restaurant easily one of our new favorites was the fact that the menus were clearly lovingly invented and prepared from locally sourced ingredients with sustainability kept in mind. Maybe this fact made the food taste better or maybe it was just that people doing good things made everything just feel good. 

Portage Bay Cafe is owned by John and Amy Gunnar and offers breakfast, brunch and lunch at three locations with catering as well.

If you're in the Seattle area, this should be a stop on your Happy Places list. Maybe I'll see you there!

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