News Bite: Gluten-Free Father’s Day Brunch at Sweetpea Baking Company

We know it’s kind of late notice, but we found out that the Sweetpea Baking Company on SE Stark Street in Portland is experimenting with gluten-free brunches, and on this Sunday, Father’s Day, they will be serving a gluten-free brunch from 9 AM to Noon.

They have a blog and update it with details of what will be on the menu. Click here to see information on their brunches. Here’s the blog post that caught Sienna’s eye. I haven’t sampled their food but our beautiful and talented Head of Research, Sienna, has had one of their gluten-free soy-free pumpkin ginger muffins and thought it was delicious. (Did I mention that Sweetpea is a vegan bakery?)

Sweetpea Baking Company
1205 SE Stark Street
Portland Oregon

Restaurant Review: Francis – Adventurous Dining on Alberta

We realized recently that we didn’t have any breakfast or brunch reviews, so we decided to make it a point to get over to Francis. We’d already heard a lot about the restaurant from friends of ours, so we were looking forward to it.

The Interior at Francis

First some miscellaneous notes about Francis. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and is clearly popular. Our waiter was awesome, friendly, and spent a lot of time talking to us about the gluten-free options. Besides a gluten-free menu section, they also have vegan options. The coffee was awful, but the grapefruit juice was perfect. Our food came out in a timely manner. The presentation was good. I love fresh fruit! Did I mention that they have a whole section of their menu devoted to gluten-free and vegan options? That was really nice. They also have a full bar.

Avocado and Tomato Eggs Benedict at Francis

Our Head of Research, Sienna, had the special of the day Eggs Benedict, which in this case was baked avocado and tomato with a truffle Hollandaise sauce. They are made gluten-free by serving them on a gluten-free biscuit. Sienna told me to note in the review that she is hard to please when it comes to Eggs Benedict, and that she felt her dish was only so-so. For one, the poached eggs were undercooked, and also she felt like the dish was a little bland. She was left wishing for some Canadian bacon.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes at Francis

I had the gluten-free “overnight” oatmeal pancakes, which I thought they were really good. They are basically oatmeal pancakes, heavy on the oatmeal, with apple chunks and hazelnuts. They are nutty and very flavorful. The one complaint we had was that they seemed about twice as thick as they should be. Sienna didn’t like them because they ended up being a little underdone in the center. For me, the thickness imparted a kind of “hearty” feel to them which won me over in the end. I would definitely order this again.

Curried Hash at Francis

Our waiter did something custom for us, which was to take the curry tofu scramble and have the chef make it with vegetable hash. The waiter told us this was his favorite dish. I was expecting a more traditional yellow curry, which I sometimes do with my eggs at home. Instead this dish is a coconut curry with just a bit of a hot spicy kick. Included in the hash (besides eggs) were brussels sprouts, onions, squash, and broccoli. It took my palate a while to switch gears, but in the end I decided that I could see why the waiter liked it so much.

There’s a phenomena where our expectations go up a notch when we are presented with a fancy menu, and in the case of Francis this went against the restaurant. Originally, we were thinking about giving them only three and a half stars because we felt like the food wasn’t amazing enough for the fancy menu, but in the end I decided to give them an extra half star for being adventurous. They are definitely that and are doing it well.

P.S. The gluten-free biscuits are perfect!!!

Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same price, although the restaurant itself is a little more expensive than your regular brunch spot.

Francis Restaurant
2338 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon 97212