MY ROOMMATE and his girlfriend go through roughly 46 eggs a week. I average two. For the most part, and outside of benedicts, I look to eggs as a vehicle for whatever else I'm cooking them with, and the proportions are skewed toward those other ingredients. An egg-and-toast breakfast bores me; even a mushroom scramble won't lure me out of bed on a weekend.
But the breakfast wrap/burrito recognizes the egg for what it is: a yeoman staple that nobly holds and balances flashier flavors and textures. Portland has a number of great options, but these, in this reviewer's opinion, are the very best.
Jam on Hawthorne
2239 SE Hawthorne, 234-4790
If you're looking to wake up, eat, and fall right back into a food-induced sleep, then Jam has you covered. Their wraps are enormous—like, split down the middle and bring half home for later and still feel like you're going to fall out of your chair. They have five to choose from, some filled with meats, others stuffed with tofu and veggies. All come wrapped in tomato basil tortillas, and are served with a fairly sizable portion of hash browns. If you prefer, you can substitute tofu for eggs where you see fit.
My favorite is called Tommy's Joint ($9), one of several vegetarian options—three scrambled eggs, veggie chorizo, hash browns, black beans, pepper jack cheese, and cilantro. Though the portions are gargantuan, it's not a gut bomb; ingredients are fresh and there's no over-saturation of grease. And now that they've expanded to the cafeteria-sized space next door, you won't even have to wait all morning.
The Big Egg
4233 N Mississippi, twitter.com/thebigegg
Scrolling through the Big Egg's Twitter posts feels something like reading Jack Torrance's typewritten pages. Day after day, over and over again, one refrain. "Wraps are sold out."
And there's a good reason. For $6 or $7 they serve transcendence wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla. Each wrap is filled with scrambled eggs, grilled potatoes, organic portobello mushrooms, fire-roasted poblano salsa, and—the key ingredient that sets the Big Egg apart—a yogurt-lime sauce. There are a variety of meat and cheese combinations, but to my mind there's only one: Carlton Farms smoked slab bacon and gorgonzola. The sharpness of the cheese mingles perfectly with the tangy sauce.
If I were to make a list of must-try food-cart items in Portland, the Big Egg's wrap would be right near the top of the list.
Meat Cheese Bread
1406 SE Stark, 234-1700
Not every wrap needs to be so fancy. Sometimes immaculate craftsmanship and quality ingredients are enough. Enter the Meat Cheese Bread breakfast burrito ($5). I'm immediately struck by its construction. This is a burrito you're safe eating on the way to the church in your wedding dress. The tortilla is grilled, folded, and tucked so tightly you'd think they used duct tape.
Along with the scrambled egg comes a layer of hash browns, cheddar cheese, and a spectacular green chili salsa (you can, and should, add avocado for an extra dollar). You can add bacon, but—and I know this sounds crazy—I don't think you need to. The burrito is already bold and full of flavor without it.
2935 NE Glisan, 477-7779
I've never quite thought of a breakfast burrito as an elegant dish, but Bakery Bar's rendition ($8.50) certainly gave me pause. In terms of preparation, ingredients, and presentation, it's probably the most elaborate in town. Three eggs scrambled with bacon, red onion, diced potatoes, cotija cheese, and pickled jalapeños. It's dressed with a light tomatillo salsa and topped with chili sauce, cotija, and cilantro. For an additional $1.50, you can add Bakery Bar's house-made chorizo.
While it's a little bit spendier than some of the options, as soon as you bite into one of those pickled jalapeños, you'll see that the money's worth it.
SE 50th & Division, 875-2615; 1212 SE Division, 445-6289
There are dozens of taco trucks scattered across the city, and most of them do some variation of the traditional breakfast-burrito formula: eggs, meat, refried beans, rice, and cheese. Many of them do it well, and it's no small task to choose a favorite among them. But to my mind, Los Gorditos' salsas—along with their vegan-friendly alternatives—give them the edge.
For $5.50, you get a burrito as big as your thigh. And while the beans tend to overwhelm, the chorizo fights to be noticed. While it's true that I'd eat just about anything drowned in that orange salsa, and also true that this particular burrito craving often follows a night of heavy drinking, the Los Gorditos breakfast burrito has never let me down.