Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Byways Cafe--Portland OR.

Located just up the street from the world-famous Powell's Books in Portland is Byways Cafe. The chef/owner of Blueplate recommended it for breakfast.

We actually didn't roll up until way into lunchtime. Luckily we got there about a half an hour before they closed. Byways is only open until 3pm most days and 2pm on Sundays.

We could tell it was pretty packed inside as we drove by looking for parking. Once we did park, we raced a group of nerdy teenagers to the door. Their youth and acne beat us to the last open booth, but they raced for nothing! A table opened up immediately.

Byways celebrates the classic American road trip and the "home-style cooking" you'd encounter along the way. The interior is decorated with vintage travel souvenirs: plates, mugs, maps, teaspoons--don't quote me on the teaspoons, though. I'm assuming. I know my mom collected souvenir teaspoons from locations we visited on family road trips.

Above the booths are display cases overflowing with souvenirs and knick-knacks--neat little pieces of Americana, placemats featuring cartoon cowboys riding jackalopes and offensive portrayals of Native Americans on just about everything else. I wish I had gotten a picture of some of these items...stupid teenagers.

The menu hits the high points of road food and diner breakfasts and since this is Portland, there had to be some homemade granola. Maybe we had been in Portland too long, because that granola sounded really good. We knew they were closing soon so we rushed through ordering. Looking at their menu online, there's a lot of stuff that just sounds amazing.

I ordered the blue corn pancakes, which were served with honey pecan butter. I've been craving good corn pancakes for a long while and I have been disappointed so often. This dish did not disappoint. The addition of the honey pecan butter really made these special.

I ordered only the pancakes so I would be sure to have plenty of room for the pie. As we took our seats, I spied a pie plate on the counter with only two slices left. Next to it a little sign said "Tart Pear Pie" (or was is Pear Tart Pie?). I told our waitress to set a piece aside for me.

Antoinette did go full-tilt Portland and ordered the granola. It was a freshly made batch and was quite good. It's hard for granola to really be awe-inspiring or to knock your socks off. This granola had a lot of nuts, which was nice. The biscuit was delicious. It completely blew away the biscuits we later had at Pine State Biscuits.

When we were done eating our breakfasts-for-lunch, I asked our waitress to bring me my slice of pie. "Oh, right. I hope we have some left." I almost FREAKED. OUT. I told you woman!
I didn't eat a lot of pie on Dinerwood Honeymoon because my belly was full of other sweets a lot of the time (taffy and salt licorice). I wanted my pie! My tart pear pie!

Lucky for me and our waitress there was a slice left. It was a good pie. It delivered what it promised--a tart pie made out of pears. Or a pie-sized pear tart. Either way, it was good.

Even though the food was good, it didn't overly impress us (save for the biscuit), but the feeling of the place really made it a highlight. We were on a road trip of sorts and were at a place celebrating the road trip, so maybe we were biased. We'll end up in Portland again someday and we'll definitely end up back at Byways.

Food: Good.
Service: Good, but forgetful.
Price: $8-$10.
Pie: Yes.

Byways Cafe
1212 N. Glisan St.
Portland OR 97209

Interesting aside: After we returned from the honeymoon, a coworker asked where we went. When I told her about Portland she said "Oh, there's this cute little place my husband and I used to go every time we were in town. The food is so good. It's called Byways Cafe."

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