Breakfast today was Heidi's of Gresham. This is an old-school place done up all Alpine-lodge Germanic/Austrian/Switzerland style. It seems to appeal to both young and old, and has an attached "lounge". Other amenities include a wall o' greeting cards and an extensive gift shop. There are additional knick-knacks and tchotckes for sale throughout.
When I say it appeals I mean the lot is packed, and you have to wait in the lobby to get a seat. I see the same phenomenon at every Denny's I've ever been to (back before I appreciated food...) In retrospect, this should have been a warning, but my previous dining experience here had been so unremarkable that I didn't remember it. I had to go back and try it again. I continue to hold out hope that there is a dining area of excellence somewhere in my section of the city. That hope grows fainter every day. Good job, Gresham/Troutdale/Fairview/Happy Valley/Oregon City/Molalla/Wilsonville/Milwaukie/etc...
There is a pastry case on either side as you stand in line to get to the dining area, which I'm sure must improve their sales of those items. They didn't look any different than the same pastries at any grocery store, so I wasn't all that interested. There were some rather large eclairs on display in one of the cases that I was halfway tempted by.
Breaking my fast here entailed a bloody Mary. The mix was weak in all respects, with a very mild horseradish kick. It was a relatively small volume glass, and was dressed with stick of celery, a lime slice, a plain salt rim, and two large but slightly bland green olives. By the book, for sure. What did I expect? There are old people here, you might kill one of 'em if you put any flavor in the food, right?
I also had their coffee. And that is how remarkable it was.
My food came, and the verdict is: straight greasy spoon line cook fare.
I had some delicious ironed hash browns, some serviceable over-medium eggs, a little bit of some salty, fatty cured pork flavored bubble gum they were calling "bacon", and some French toast. The French toast came with a gravy boat full of syrup. Enough syrup to saturate an entire loaf of bread, easy. It had a nice congealing film on the top of it when I went to slop it on my plate. Yum! Also, part of a Florentine omelette which had mushrooms from a can and swiss cheese that was probably purchased in individual plastic wrapped slices (processed, for sure!) The spinach in the omlete was salty, and the eggs tasted vaguely of grilled cheese sandwich. Nice. How weird is it when the hash browns are the high point of your meal?
Once done with breakfast, I went to stand in line again to check out. The prices weren't even all that good, given that it's such mediocre fare.
I have learnt me a lesson for this second visit: DON'T GO LOOKING FOR GOOD FOOD IN GRESHAM! Also, write it down sooner so I don't make the same mistakes over and over. Note to self: you know how to make good hashbrowns. And bacon. And poached eggs. And coffee. And a damn fine bloody mary. What the hell are you doing complaining about places like this?
Heidi's: Take your grandparents there. As an aside, this place felt very similar to the TA truck stop in Fairview, although that breakfast was a buffet and the tables had telephones on them. The rest of the vibe was very similar to me.
Answer to self above: because sometimes you aren't in any state to cook on weekend mornings, but still need calories to hike! Best those calories be tasty and cheap...