4236 N Mississippi 281-3926

Portland has a lot of weird fusion businesses that make no sense to me, but are nonetheless charming in that campy, Portland-business way. Dog washing and espresso, billiards and hairdressing, and the most ludicrous and hysterical--tanning and pond supplies. But then, of course, there are the completely sensible fusion businesses, such as the Soup and Soap, another version of the popular Laundromat + some other activity while-you-wait business.

After recently telling a friend about the Soup and Soap, he replied, "That sounds dumb--like they'll be putting all their energy into the gimmick, not the food." Not the case, because the wonder of Soup and Soap is not that it's half cute breakfast restaurant/half-washer and dryers, but that it's some of the best AM grub in Portland.

With a heavy soul food influence and crazy breakfast combinations (waffle, chicken wings, and eggs for $7.95 or potatoes, red snapper or catfish and eggs for $9.50) it is completely unique. Inside there's a sunny, diner atmosphere, which is a surprise in the unassuming yellow building. More noteworthy, though, are the waitstaff--some of the world's friendliest ladies--who have no pretension or stiffness.

S 'n' S opens every day at the late hour of 7 am, and serves about 20 different combinations of breakfasts, most of which include eggs, bacon or pork, hashbrowns, and grits. Highlights include the pan-fried breakfast steak, which is thin, lightly breaded, and just greasy enough. After consuming it along with two eggs, toast, and a side of potatoes, you're full all day.

The devilish breakfast sandwich is served between two warm, toasted, giant pieces of sourdough bread, and is loaded with dripping grilled cheese, salty, crisp bacon (or ham), an egg, and crispy, shredded iceberg lettuce, and tomato. (A half sandwich is filling enough, but you'll eat a whole.) Also, try the delicious confections such as the sweet potato pie or the cinnamon roll. Generously smothered with melted butter and icing, you'll be licking the buttery cinnamon goo off the plate. And just think, now everytime you need to do a load of laundry, you have an excuse to go back. SHIMEY McSHIMERSON