If you came over and sat down in the living room to chat with us, the conversation would inevitably turn to food and our favorite restaurants here in Portland. Our current southeast favorites are Vindalho and Nuestra Cocina. Today I get to add a new one to the list—the Arleta Library Bakery & Cafe.
This small restaurant is tucked into a row of all storefronts on SE 72nd Avenue across the street from the Mt. Scott Community Center and Park. They’ve only been open about seven weeks, but there was already a brief wait to get a table. The atmosphere is cozy and warm with scavenged, reused, and recycled dinerware and decorative accents. The bathroom has a wainscotting made out of old 3-panel wooden doors and wallhangings and cookbooks straight out of grandma’s 1950’s kitchen. They serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week and focus on local, organically-grown food.
Today I had the Portland three-egg scramble with wild mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar and bacon–an earthy tribute to fall in Portland that was FULL of mushroomy goodness and made me happy. My friends had the biscuits and gravy special that featured squash biscuits and Carlton pork sausage in the gravy. I had a bite and it was one of the best b&g’s I’ve had (the wise and bearded one is a b&g officianado so I’ve had a bit of experience in this field). The biscuits were dense and flavorful. The gravy was yummy–good flavor throughout and not the least bit greasy or wallpaper-paste-y. Both of these meals came with home fries and your choice of breads or scones. The homefries were decent and they had home-made ketchup on the table. The scone I had was not as light and airy as I prefer scones to be but it had good flavor. Oh, and best of all, they serve Stumptown coffee.
I’ll definitely be back and I know it won’t take much to convince Nate to accompany me once he hears about the biscuits and gravy. If you’re in the neighborhood, you should check it out!