Brunch is that sweet spot of weekend food. It’s religious for those of us who value sleep on the weekends and only slightly less so to those hungry after their own religious devotions. When we visited Sanborn’s, a small venue located in inner SE Portland just South of Powell Blvd., we didn’t know what to expect. This trip began by incessant use of our smartphones to find brunch that wasn’t overly crowded or overly expensive, something Portland’s brunch scene has much of. Were we satisfied? Twice over.
The tall purple building we found on accident after thinking we’d passed it. There are no large signs reading “Now Serving Brunch!” outside, and that’s because it’s all they do. 8am-2pm Wednesday through Sunday. Want food at another time? Tough luck. This is the brunch business, not just another restaurant. Stepping inside revealed a clean and classic look one would expect on their Sunday morning. The tile work and decor screams quaint. And the best part? Plenty of seating so there’s a table available without an hours wait.
The menu comes straight from your dreams – Watermelon mimosas, fig & goat cheese German pancakes, kiwi pancakes, Bo-Bam (Bacon, Apple, Maple with Bourbon) crepes… Yum! It’s not all extravagant either. Your basic eggs, meat, & potato breakfast comes with perfectly cooked eggs that melt in your mouth. The ‘Build-Your-Own’ breakfast burrito puts you in control and the house made biscuits scream at your taste buds as they’re doused in from-scratch jams sitting on your table.
I’ve not tasted potato pancakes like this before. The amount of flavor in each bite makes a scrumptious meal even without the fresh sour cream and cinnamon applesauce sitting ready. If you’re like me and want to try one on top of your meal, they come in 6 bite size portions ready to share. Even the scrambles are done with care, mixing chorizo, onion, eggs and cilantro evenly to provide the same same scrumptious taste bite after bite.
What topped it all off? The incredible service provided by one of the friendliest staffing crews I’ve met in recent years. They were always on top of coffee and water refills and aware enough of their surroundings to be ready when you needed help without feeling overly pushy. They were genuinely interested in your experience and how you were liking things – One waiter even mentioned how he was an active visitor before working there.
With all of the good brunch spots in this city it’s hard to recommend one above another. Most of my favorite locations will have you waiting in line outside for an hour plus, which is not overly exciting in itself. It’s refreshing to find a brunch house with all the things you’re looking for – atmosphere, quality food, and friendly service – that has an available seat for you now, when you want to eat. A revitalizing experience you need to try… except for Mondays or Tuesdays. Who really wants brunch when you’re supposed to be dreading your work day anyhow?