04 November 2007

francisco's blue house café

(no longer open)
dining date: 11.04.07
eatery: francisco's blue house café on way outer brighton avenue
pricing category: one of the more expensive restaurants we've been to, but definitely worth it
guest critic: nada…just the three of us today
overall grade: A

the lowdown:
- for you "peninsula purists," you should know that this place is WAY off the peninsula (can you say practically westbrook?)
- the small interior is quite intimate and cozy, but with only 6 tables you should get there early or prepare to wait for a bit
- the service: 37 > blue house > 6.2 (good and attentive)
- very extensive menu – including irish coffee!!
- where else in portland advertises catered pig roast parties?
- the tables are decorated with mismatched placemats and cloth napkins – a creative and eclectic (and not wasteful) touch…they could use some cooler mugs however

the food

the benny girl
- avocado, crabmeat & bacon benedict, homies, and tea
- grade: A

"i woke up with a bit of a stomach ache this morning, so the idea of dining at a greasy spoon was not all that appealing to me. so when wild toast suggested that we knock the blue house café off our list, i immediately had to look their menu up online to make sure that my stomach could take it. i am aware that "café" is not usually synonymous with "greasy spoon," but considering some portlanders think "becky's" is synonymous with "tasty" i just had to be sure and look for myself. i began salivating as soon as i saw their extensive brunch menu and knew before i even showered that i would be eating the avocado, crabmeat & bacon benedict in a mere hour's time. i have to admit, when we got there and i looked at the menu more closely, i almost wavered on my choice…but for the integrity of my namesake, i decided to stick with my gut instinct. i couldn't have been happier with my choice. okay, i could have been happier if the hollandaise had a little more flavor, but it was pretty damn close to perfect. the eggs were poached just right, and the combination of flavors was pure genius. have I mentioned that bacon is my favorite food group, with avocado and crab being a close fifth and ninth respectively? and then there were the homies…oh, the homies. homie, homie, yummy homie. seriously, these were some of the best grilled taters that i've had since the inception of the breakfast club. yes they were well-seasoned, but the best part was that they were actually cooked. do you hear that you chefs at becky's, front room, and most importantly hot suppa (i refuse to include the stupid exclamation point)? yes folks, home fries are supposed to be cooked and grilled and potentially even crispy. the blue house gets my vote for the best homies and i think other portland eateries could take a lesson from this out of the way café. so there you have it – the blue house basically kicked ass and i would recommend that anyone make the trek out there to check them out. and you can shop at marden's after! so what kept this café from getting an "A+" you ask? as you may have guessed from me, the tea presentation wasn't up to par. how many times do i need to say that the proper presentation of tea is in a pot, NOT handing a customer a mug of hot water and a tea bag? sheesh. but i was willing to overlook this faux pas because the rest of the meal was just that good."

the usual
- eggs florentine with tomato and spinach, homefries and coffee
- grade: A

"ok, so i've been straying from 'the usual' a lot recently. but sometimes i get a little a LITTLE tired of it, especially when my cohorts get to basically order whatever they feel like. i can't always be constricted to a couple of eggs, some potatoes and some toast week after week. sometimes i yearn for something more. like today. the menu at the blue house is just such a glorious thing to behold, double sided, with a cleverly named "unch" section with a few selections for the losers who prefer the midde meal of the day. it won me over and i got the florentine, a decision that i certainly wouldn't regret. my coffee took a little while to arrive, but this might be due to the table switcheroo we pulled as we made room for a larger party. from our new table, i had a lovely view of the marden's renovations, (i can't believe they got rid of the castle theme) and of busy brighton ave. the coffee was tasty and included bottomless refills, a sure sign of a classy establishment. the food was a little slow to the table, but was utterly worth the wait. my eggs were poached just the way i asked (un-runny), and sat proudly atop perfectly ripe tomatoes, wilted spinach and english muffins. the hollandaise was fine, i'm no connoisseur of the stuff (like some people), but it did the trick. i wish there had been a tad bit more to slosh my english muffin tidbits around in, but that's ok. the homefries were superb. i'm fairly certain that they reign supreme in portland, at least so far. they were well-cooked, a little crispy and seasoned to perfection. there was even a little spice thrown in. my bunch had a few hardened crackles of potato bits in the mix, but that's a small price to pay for fabulous fries. the blue house really wowed my socks off. i would venture to say that i had no idea what to expect from a tiny blue ramshackle house tucked in next to one of the least scenic/grossest roads in portland. but i didn't expect perfection, and that's darn near what i got."
wild toast
-blue house scramble, marble rye, bacon, homefries, coffee, and mimosa
-grade: A

"feeling a little parched from last weeks red sox victory i decided to order a spray of bevies and upped the ante by ordering myself a mimosa, in addition to the common coffee and wawa. while i knowingly ordered a small one, i was a little disappointed when it was as meager as it was. for the same thing back at the good egg i could have had twice the amount and three times the options. anyway, i was happy in the end with my $4 mimosa as i sipped it til the end. changing seats, i was pleased to see that marden's was in my view; a constant reminder that when in doubt go to mardens. if you need expired fruit snacks or size 58 x 82 carhartt overalls you can be sure marden's is the place to go. you can find garden hoses, feminine hygiene products from the 70s, chex mix flavors never even sold to the general public, self tanning cream that i bought for my favorite, albeit pale, hungarian friend. you can even find a cute dingy elephant sponge! across the street i sipped my coffee and waited for my meal to arrive. i decided to pull out a wild card and tossed it on the cloth-clad table and ordered myself a wicked tasty scramble. with portabellas, tomatoes, onions, asiago, spinach, and pesto served on a bed of scrambled eggs, this meal started off great. quickly i found the homies to be astounding. they were better than anything becky's could come up with and probably better than anything you could find at marden's. they were everything a potato aspires to be. loved, cooked, crispy and soft, hot and starchy – everything i personally strive to be…i kid, i'd rather not be that soft, but that's a personal preference. in fact, i'd rather be like the baller pesto that topped my eggs. freshly made by an italian legion of basil choppers, garlic farmers, and pine-nut pickers, it really made the meal. i strongly urge my readers to go out of their way and tickle the tables of francisco's. four trips to the town of tasty bacon strips later, i sat eyeing the remains of my meal, admitting to myself that I really didn't need the last 2 pieces of marble rye that sat silently on my plate. this i will note was one of the only mildly disappointing factor of my meal. everything, from the chicken farm to the plate, the bubbly to the homies, was awesome, except for the toast. it was standard. that is all. while this was the case, it is not the note i'd like to end on. this ruby in the rough, is a place i will surely go again, perhaps even the next time i head out for new curtain rods at marden's…"

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