A trip to Saturday’s farmers’ market can be a quick trip for some local produce or all morning affair. If you opt for the latter, which I think one should, then breakfast at the market is a must. With numerous vendors, a variety of choices and accompanying musical entertainment provided by the rotating bands at the main stage, dining alfresco is one of the highlights of any Saturday morning. If you arrive overwhelmed by the crowds and unable to choice a dining option, here are some suggestions.
When in doubt, follow the lines. Waiting in a queue encourages patience and promises a local favorite. Pine State Biscuits typically has a line several yards deep, but it is well worth the wait. These flaky Southern biscuits are a welcomed North Carolina addition to the market fare. Choices range from a palm-sized biscuit served with preserves or gravy to customizable sandwiches to behemoth meals, including the Reggie, a tower of fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy. Pine State also serves Cheerwine, a syrupy sweet cherry flavored soda traditionally found only in the Carolinas.
A line is omnipresent at Salvador Molly’s as well. The speciality here is tamales. The options rotate, but normally chicken and artichoke heart are two varieties. These large envelopes of corn masa are served with salsa and cotija cheese. Like much of the breakfast food on hand at the market, these tamales are filling and if you do not arrive at PSU with ravenous hunger, they are best enjoyed shared.
For Southwestern fare, Enchanted Sun offers fantastic breakfast burritos. Organic eggs, Tillamook cheddar cheese, potatoes, and green chiles are stuffed into huge burritos. The folks at Enchanted Sun are quite accomodating and orders can be altered to include various meats or eliminate cheese and eggs for vegan minded diners. The filling is spicy and delicious. The portions are impressive and compact for those who choose to eat while navigating the crowded paths among the farmers.
Other choices at the market include Zuppa Soups, offering soups, oatmeal, grilled cheese and curry and C’est Si Bon!, a creperie with various sweet and savory menu items. As Portland is a coffee-centric city, so too is the Saturday market. Café Vélo and Spunky Monkey Coffee Roasters are on hand to satiate your early morning caffeine needs.
Breakfast is practically essential for any visit to the Saturday farmers’ market.