Foodlandia: Roadrunner Cafe

Photo by Food Mountain

It’s the weekend. You wake up, not sure what you’re in the mood to eat, so you decide it’s best to just eat out. That’s typically the steps it takes us to decide to go out to brunch. But here in Portland, it isn’t always that simple. Finding  a decently delicious brunch spot on the weekends here with a conservative wait time that everyone and their sister doesn’t know about is like trying to find a piece of gold in sand. The number one factor that makes me decide where to go? The estimated waitlist, and my level of patience for the day (or rather, my stomach’s patience). Portlandia has even featured a sketch about waiting in line for brunch. It’s just one of those “Portland things”. It’s expected. This is a foodie town, and the foodies know where the good food is.

Portlandia has even featured a sketch on the phenomenon. Before I moved here, when I’d come up to visit the town for the week every now and then, I’d always make a point to go to notable places (aka. places with long wait times) and sacrifice in order to try something new and exciting. I don’t regret it, but most of the wait times were between 1 to 2 hours. Right after I moved here, I had been having dreams about The Screen Door’s weekend-only brunch (and the place is only a mile away from my apartment thankgod!), and the second we drove up we saw a line about 50 people deep. And it wasn’t even open yet. Maybe you get the picture, yeah?

It’s a hard life we live. We get hooked to all of these delicious restaurants and there’s only so much goodness to go around. It’s a food fight. Literally. I suppose you take the good with the bad though, don’t you? I’ve learned to live. I’ll be alright.

So what do you do when you’re craving a roasted root vegetable hash with parsnip puree, chard, and over-easy egg dish? Or chicken and sweet potato waffles? You make a list. You start a journal. You write down all of the places you’d like to try sometime, particularly those “less popular” ones that no one (yet) knows about. Food carts in hidden neighborhoods, new signs for places you’ve seen driving down the street, typical bars that you wouldn’t expect to be serving brunch on the weekends. So that when you’re stumped and brain dead with low blood sugar in the morning and all you want is a damn good brunch rightthisverysecondthankyouverymuch, you have a handy dandy go-to reference at your fingertips.

I haven’t yet spent much time on SE Division since I’ve moved here, but when I have driven down the street, this particular place continually caught my eye and I knew I had to try it. Roadrunner.

And there was no wait. By the interior and exterior design alone, I fell in love with it. There were horseshoes nailed onto one of the beams when we first walked in, and vintage photographs and paintings decorating the mustard yellow walls. It was adorable. Even the napkins were made out of a nice, soft linen. The menus were splattered with coffee and grease stains, but that gave it all the more character. Upon first glance of the menu, the most exotic looking dish I could find was the caramelized carrot, okra, broccoli and havarti cheese scramble. I debated upon trying the biscuits and gravy or the pulled pork breakfast burrito but found out that the burrito was pretty spicy, which I leave up to the boyfriend to handle (I can’t do it at all). The waitstaff was very friendly and on top of everything, the decaf was delicious and not too bitter, we had nibbles of mini biscuits and raspberry jam to curb out hunger even though the food came quickly, the atmosphere was lovely, but the food was a bit more underwhelming. You could find pretty much anything on the menu for less than $10, but nothing really seemed to do the trick. I ordered the scramble, and added a biscuit (which ended up being heart shaped! cutest thing ever! I appreciate those kinds of details) for 50 cents more. And at least I got to try okra for the first time! I liked it!

Road Runner Café

3570 SE Division St.

Portland, OR 97202

(503) 232-3004
Hours: Wed-Sun 8 am – 2 pm

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