Discovering a brunch spot that is not only excellent, but empty in this town is something akin to winning the lottery. I checked out Bad Habit (Saraveza’s event space that does brunch on weekends) on a whim, and thought I’d hit the jackpot. The space is cozy and elegant, the mood enriched by some low-key blues and rock’n’roll. The cocktails hit the mark—stiff but not punishing—and, combined with the Red E Coffee, are the perfect way to start pulling the morning together.
There’s only a short menu—eight items, ranging from a simple granola to a more complex corned beef hash. It’s wholesome fare but executed with real polish by the chef, Matthew Simons. The eggs Blackstone ($9), a version of eggs Benedict that comes with bacon and a roasted tomato and truffle jam, was a great balancing act, playing off a perfectly cooked egg with crunchy beer bread from SugarPimp. The accompanying arugula salad was more than just greens dumped on the side to look pretty—it provided freshness and worked to cut through the richness of the dish. Meanwhile, the breakfast board ($12) wasn’t dissimilar to what you’d find served in a Swedish home—a spread consisting of house-smoked trout (tasty but not oily), Bellavitano cheese, a hard poached egg (firm but not dry), more beer bread and a fruit parfait that was so good it had to be finished despite what my rational brain was trying to tell me about being full. Plus, if you’re into hot sauce Simons makes his own, roasting the chilies himself.
My visit was on a hot summer’s morning when North Portlanders were most likely away for the weekend, floating on the river or still sleeping. I wouldn’t expect to have the place to myself again, especially as they will be showing Packer games during NFL season (best check beforehand unless you want high-spirited Mid-Westerners with your eggs), but it’s earned a place at the top of my go-to brunch list.
Bad Habit Room, 5433 N Michigan, weekend brunch 9 am–2 pm