It’s amazing how sometimes misunderstandings can lead you to something you didn’t even know you wanted.
This scenario happened to me during my recent trip to Portland. During my initial stages of planning, there were several activities I knew I had to get under my belt before leaving: a bike tour, Voodoo Doughnuts, and of course, hitting up a vegetarian restaurant.
The bike tour plan was derailed when the cold rain (unexpectedly) set in, so the arduous trek to Voodoo Doughnuts had to be executed on foot. Such things are encountered sometimes on trips; you can’t let the disappointment hamper your overall enjoyment (though, c’mon, missing out on a bike tour of Portland? It seems tragically unfair.)
Determined to make at least two of my three big plans come true, I brandished an umbrella and took off from the Courtyard Marriott heading north and then west, to a place called Milo’s City Café.
Milo’s City Cafe
I have to admit I know nothing about the vegetarian dining scene in Portland. I only know that the city comes off as a very veg-friendly place, what with scores of tiny farms and vegetable gardens scattered throughout the city proper. I was only going to be in Portland for the weekend following a conference that was just finishing up there, so I knew I had limited time to find the perfect dining spot. When a fellow conference attendee mentioned Milo’s, I was all ears.
Here’s the problem. Apparently I was not all ears enough. Somehow in our brief conversation, I got the idea that Milo’s was a vegetarian restaurant.
But on the Friday morning when I arrived there, sniffling from the cold, umbrella dripping fresh rain drops onto the floor, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I did not do my homework well enough. Missing were the telltale signs of a vegetarian café; no dreadlocks, no lone diners, no bike helmets. There were families dining there. Old people. Business people. Bright, cheerful lighting. A hurried buzz among the waitstaff that is virtually unknown in the vegetarian dining world.
I took a seat up front by the kitchen, still hopeful. But when I received the menu, my fears were confirmed: not at all a vegetarian place. Just a breakfast café—though a cute one, I must admit. I could have bolted, but my mimosa had arrived, and after a few minutes skimming the menu, I figured I could make it work.
I ordered the vegetarian eggs benedict, a dish I had not had since my friend Dave introduced it to me during my early years of living in Chicago. The dish was placed in front of me only minutes after I ordered it, everything steamy and aromatic. I started right in on the eggs benedict, which came on crispy French bread. To complement the savory gooeyness and buttery quality of the eggs, crispy, hearty potatoes and a cup of fresh fruit served as sides. It was more than I had bargained for, and more than I could eat.
Milo’s turned out to be a bright, warm, tasty start to my cold, dreary Portland day, and I suppose now I can say it was a blessing in disguise. Though I will never concede that missing out on the Portland veg experience was a good thing.
Milo’s City Cafe
1325 NE Broadway