Portland, Oregon: Breakfast at Tin Shed
"Tin Shed is a feel-good place. Big plates, sustainable ingredients, cleverly-named dishes, potted plants, and lounging dogs waiting for fallen sausage bits."
1438 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211 (map); 503-288-6966
Even if—no, when—you have to wait for a table at Tin Shed in Portland, it's hard to get annoyed. You can mosey inside for the self-service water and coffee (many people BYOmug) and take in the pleasant garden vibe. Plus, it's dog-friendly. On our visit there was an especially stare-worthy bulldog.
We spent our 20-ish minute wait (it was a Thursday morning—be prepared to wait much longer on weekends) strategizing the big order. Ha, the Tummy Warmer! That would be their oatmeal. And Everything Naughty! The biscuits with gravy and scrambled eggs. Creatively-named dishes, check.
The menu also states up top that they compost the leftovers; the eggs, chicken, and beef are all cage-free; and the dairy products are packed locally using no growth hormones. Gotta love Portland.
Everything Naughty ($9.50) gives you two gravy options: we went with the mushroom. Rosemary-speckled and very peppery, it covered the entire biscuit, which was tasty, but not too memorable. Hanging out on the side were two strips of chicken apple sausage (a whole one cut at the belly). Incredibly moist, it squirted out apple juiciness and a big hit of oregano. The sour cream-dolloped potato cake was creamy and buttery inside, with a nice brown-charred skin.
Sin ($7.50). We obviously had to order that. ("One sin, please.") The sweet potato French Toast made with brioche, an inch-plus thick, came out smelling like pie fresh from the oven. Sadly, it was on the dry side. Syrup very required.
The Good Dog ($8.25) is a mess of scrambled eggs, sausage, bell pepper chunks, melted cheddar, salsa fresca, and a mound of sour cream on top, all spread out over a potato cake (a bigger version of the Everything Naughty one). This wasn't fancy but made us happy, in a taco seasoning-doused kind of way. It's something you could easily make at home, but it was satisfying, like so many eggy Mexican breakfasts are, and scarfed up the fastest.
Belly Pleaser (half order for $5.25) rivaled the Tummy Warmer (the oatmeal) for best-named spoonable food. Served in a ceramic boat, the tender jasmine rice porridge floated in a thick, vanilla-simmered coconut milk, topped with mango pieces and a few wrist's worth of cinnamon. It pleased our bellies much more with a drizzle of syrup on top.
Tin Shed is a feel-good place. Big plates, sustainable ingredients, cleverly-named dishes, potted plants, and lounging dogs waiting for fallen sausage bits. People smile here, and you forget you ever had to wait for a table. And if it rains (hello, Portland) they have blankets folded and ready to bundle.