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33 is a nod to the neighborhood street block they are on (SE 33rd block on Belmont) as well as the year prohibition was repealed, 1933.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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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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Brunch at Tusk and Upcoming Summer Party

Tusk in Portland took over the old Levant space on SE 24th and Burnside, transforming it into a light filled bright space with a sweet touch but continuing to offer Middle Eastern food and making use of the inherited open wood-burning hearth. Brunch at Tusk is only 10 AM – 2PM on Saturday and Sunday, otherwise they are open for dinner daily.

It’s quite a contrast seeing almost kitty corner across the street the line of people waiting for the heavier Southern brunch and fried chicken and biscuits versus here, the lighter Middle Eastern brunch plates, many which are vegetarian, can be made vegan, and feel healthier. Extensive studies have shown that Mediterranean eating patterns – of which Middle Eastern food share some commonality with its use of chickpeas, lentils, vegetables, olive oil, etc. –  are directly correlated with good health including the reduction of that LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) bad cholesterol,  risk of Alzheimer’s by approximately 40 percent, and the development of Parkinson’s Disease. So let’s bring on the hummus and pita, shall we!

Bright interior full of light welcomes you and keeps you feeling cheerful during your meal.
Tusk in Portland interior Tusk in Portland interior

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Brunch at Broder Nord

There are always lines for the Broder restaurants at brunch on the weekend for their unique Swedish cuisine – but I’ve never experienced them. That’s because though I love Broder, I go on the weekdays because they offer brunch everyday 8 AM – 3 PM, not just on weekends! For an example of my favoriter Broder dishes, here’s a look at my brunch at Broder Nord.
Brunch at Broder Nord - Lefse, a Norwegian potato crepe filled with rotating ingredients (mine was Havarti and salami) topped with baked eggs and served with mixed greens; Aebelskivers (Danish Pancakes) served with lingonbarry jam and lemon curd; Smørrebrød, Danish Open Faced Sandwiches where you can choose two of five options, we picked the Gravlax with shrimp skagenröra, radish, mustard sauce, microgreens and the Beet and Asparagus with asparagus, beets, and chevre; and at the top Förlorade ägg (Lost Eggs) a dish of 2 eggs on a bed of sliced ham and spinach baked under breadcrumbs in a skillet
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Wares at the Zipper – Brunch Specials

Did you know Mother’s Day, Easter, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season are the busiest brunch days of the year? With Easter this weekend I thought I’d highlight an under the radar brunch option that requires no reservations or waiting in long lines – so its already a winner even when its a regular brunch and not just high brunch time. And with, that, let me highly recommend brunch at Wares at the Zipper.

That’s right Smallwares is back! After shuttering and causing much sadness, Smallwares was able to emerge as a smaller microrestaurant concept now called Wares. They’ve brought back many favorites, from the signature bright red shelves to loved dishes from their regular menu and their brunch menu. Here’s a look at Wares, and I have been especially going for their Brunch Specials. No line to get seated or to order – Just go up and order, get a number for your food order, and go find a seat yourself among many open tables (so far it’s been indoors but soon it’ll be al fresco brunch at their outdoor patio!) and wait for yummies!

Entrance to Wares at the Zipper Menu board and more description of items on paper menus at Wares at the Zipper

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