Bar Casa Vale Brunch

I’ve shared previously how I enjoy the tapas and the drinks at Bar Casa Vale, but this weekend they are launching a new weekend brunch. From now on they will be serving up, in addition to their all day happy hour on Sunday, brunch from 10 AM – 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. I recently attended a media preview that let us share a taste of some of the offerings, so here’s my report back on some of the items. As usual, the menu is subject to change – I think they do tweak the dinner options pretty often by swapping out what is on flatbread or toast and such, so go open-minded. Based on my meal here, I am sorta thinking this is now the best hungover brunch spot in Portland.
Bar Casa Vale Brunch is served on weekends, Sat and Sun 10-3 Bar Casa Vale Brunch cocktail of Tea Cobbler with Brandy, hibiscus, and citrus Bar Casa Vale Brunch Chocolate Toast with pistachio and olive oil Bar Casa Vale Brunch Grilled Sardine Toast with potxta beans, calcot, and 'nduja
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Circa 33 Brunch

Circa 33 on SE Belmont is probably most  known for in the evening as a neighborhood Prohibition-themed cocktail bar. But, did you know they also offer an al fresco dining alley area, and on weekends by the restrooms when the red light is on, host a speakeasy type bar? And don’t overlook the additional hidden gem of its weekend brunch, served 10 AM – 2 PM, featuring a curated list of dishes which include several vegetarian and vegan friendly options and of course, cocktails. Today I share my brunch visit, and here’s a look at the secret speakeasy – which will be put to good use on a Prohibition Party in a couple weeks!
Circa 33 interior during the day. Circa 33 is a Prohibition-themed cocktail bar and on Fri Sat boasts a hidden speakeasy - look for the light to be on - and you can enter past a bookcase door with a special code Circa 33 brunch, Bloody Mary c.1921 with vodka, summer-spiced bloody blend, creole-salt rim and choice of bacon/veggie/combo garnish

The name Circa 33 is a nod to the neighborhood street block they are on (SE 33rd block on Belmont) as well as the year prohibition was repealed, 1933. Their cocktails are a mix of drinks from the late 1800s and early 1900s as well as more current inventions that follow the framework of spirit, sugar, citrus, and bitters. You’ll see a dozen options of specialty cocktails. If you are not into cocktails, not to worry – they have almost a dozen wines by the glass and smaller selection of beer, and non-alcoholic beverages like a ginger limeade. Below, you’ll see the Circa 33 cocktail, The Huntress which is c.1937 with Effen vodka, bubbles, black currant, citrus, Becherovka herbal liqueur
Circa 33 is a Prohibition-themed cocktail bar. This Circa 33 cocktail, The Huntress is c.1937 with Effen vodka, bubbles, black currant, citrus, Becherovka herbal liqueur
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Alto Bajo Brunch

We’re rounding the corner to the end of January, and as the dark winter days are now getting shorter, I thought I’d give you still a little more color for your breakfast or brunch. Alto Bajo is a restaurant in the new boutique Hi Lo Hotel (in fact, Alto Bajo is Spanish for High and Low) offering a blend of Northwest with Oaxacan cuisine for weekday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a weekend brunch. All of the seatings take reservations, including brunch.

The hotel and restaurant are new, so still seem a bit under the radar on the Portland scene. I really like their twist on brunch, so wanted to highlight it here for you. Otherwise, I’ve been here for drinks a couple times – getting drinks in the Hi Lo very cool lobby area is a classy way to start a night out downtown. Alto Bajo does not have its own bar, and so the drinks are shared between this lobby bar and the restaurant.

Hi Lo Bar inside the Hi Lo hotel Hi Lo Bar inside the Hi Lo hotel Alto Bajo cocktail - margarita Alto Bajo cocktail

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Expatriate Brunch

Brunch at Expatriate, despite being highlighted a few times in the food media here, still seems to be a hidden secret. But this is fine with me, as it means the vibe is laid back and uncrowded and unhurried. It’s available only on the weekend on both Saturday, Sunday 10 AM – 2 PM. It’s easy to find parking a few blocks away, even on a Sunday – and no line! Here’s a look at some highlights of their brunch menu.
Expatriate Brunch Expatriate Brunch, Rice Waffle with Black Sesame Ice Cream, Smothered and Covered Expatriate Hash Browns and Expatriate Congee

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Headwaters Brunch

I’m going to share one of my brunch secrets – Headwaters PDX, a place that is never too crowded for brunch so I’ve easily walked in (they serve brunch both in their main restaurant area and their lounge area by their bar so have large capacity). PLUS they take reservations! It’s only been almost exactly a year since they opened and I’m not sure if not everyone knows they offer brunch. Whatever, this all adds up so it’s perfect when you have out of town guests and want to stick to a schedule and not have to wait around so you can get going on your way to other weekend adventures. The atmosphere is classy and the service has always been impeccable for anytime I stop in. Weekend brunch is available Saturday and Sunday 8 AM – 3 PM and they also serve breakfast on weekdays.

Start with a brunch cocktail – of course I always recommend a bloody mary. The Headwaters Mary version offers lemongrass green chili vodka and housemade bloody mary mix, horseradish, and Steigl Radler
Headwaters Brunch - Headwaters Mary, lemongrass green chili vodka and housemade bloody mary mix, horseradish, and Steigl Radler

But, my other favorite and highly recommended cocktail for your consideration is the Never Too Early brunch cocktail with aged rum old fashioned, averna, coffee syrup
Headwaters Brunch - Never Too Early brunch cocktail with aged rum old fashioned, averna, coffee syrup

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