By Matthew DiTullo
Portlanders’ love for a good brunch is equal to their love of craft beer. The Rose City has a nearly limitless selection of brunch restaurants, with nearly every neighborhood sporting their own hip spots. My fiancée and I usually hit up Nob Hill’s Stepping Stone Cafe, The Pearl’s Byways Cafe, and Belmont’s Pine State Biscuits (which can also be found on Alberta) when we’re in the brunch mood. But for the past couple of weekends we’ve found ourselves enjoying the incredible brunch offerings at The Hop & Vine.
Establishment owner Yetta Vorobik’s passion for quality food, great beer, wine, and cocktails is certainly evident. The Hop & Vine has quickly become well respected by beer geeks as a go-to destination for bottles, tap handles, and intimate beer events. Now boasting a successful brunch menu, patrons are offered options of small and large plates, egg sandwiches, java drinks featuring coffee from a local roaster, and a solid cocktail menu.
On our most recent visit, we started with a plate of zucchini bread. Two pieces of moist bread, house made rhubarb jam and butter arrived as our first palate pleaser. I enjoyed the bread with a beer cocktail called the Dutch Devil. This was one tasty beverage consisting of Duvel, Bols Dutch Gin, and Angostura, a bitters compiled of tropical herbs and spices. It was smooth drinking, with a yeasty, citrus-fruitiness from the Duvel blending with the gin’s pine-like qualities. The carbonation added a perfect texture to the dry nuances of the gin.
For my main dish I ordered up some cornmeal cakes. This is the ideal dish for those who can’t decide between a sweet or savory brunch, which is a predicament I always find myself in. The cornmeal cakes came with a rich, thick maple syrup. The cakes offered a texture reminiscent of cornbread and were accompanied by two eggs, two thick strips of pepper-flecked bacon, and a side of collard greens. The bacon was tender and juicy, and the egg yolks were a mesh between hard and soft, perfect for dipping the bacon in. A glass of Rodenbach Grand Cru was the ideal palate cleanser between each bite.
My fiancée made a great choice with the Crumpet. A poached egg served on top of bacon and a crumpet, topped with a leek white butter sauce. The Crumpet was of a great consistency: moist and not overly dry. The egg was cooked to perfection and slightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Greens with fresh radishes and a light vinaigrette finished the dish making it a perfectly sized and satisfying meal.
Considering the quality and freshness of all this food, my wallet was left just as happy as my taste buds. The cornmeal cakes fell in at a reasonable $8, and the Crumpet was not far behind at $7. This delectable yet inexpensive brunch allowed me to grab some bottles to go for enjoyment later in the day.
The Hop & Vine is undoubtedly one of North Portland’s best bars. It’s no wonder why it has received such high praise in the two years it’s been open. Weekend brunches just add another layer of commitment to serving exceptional food and libations to their patrons.
Become a fan of The Hop and Vine on Facebook & Twitter to find out about events and special deals! Brunch is served from 10:00am to 2:00pm both Saturdays and Sundays. The Hop & Vine is located at 1914 N. Killingsworth Street in Portland, Oregon.