7 November 2021
Broder Cafe has not exactly been here forever, but it seems almost as if it has, woven so deeply into the fabric of what we now see as Portlandness that its seems inextricable. If I, seeking what counted for street cred in a pre-pandemic, pre-racial justice protest world, might have told you I remember a time before Broder was there, I think I may have sent us back to before even the concept of a place called “Portlandia” existed in most people’s minds. (Indeed, I remember a street empty of Broder…)
In any case, this is now the new Portland, and in this Portland the followers now gather on Saturdays and Sundays for Holy Brunch no matter the weather. On a rainy Saturday in November, a rare time for us to be without groups of tourists biking or walking or hiking in and around the city, the faithful accepted the fate of 45 minutes to an hour in line without much complaint. “I should have been here in line an hour before opening!” said one young woman, “so we wouldn’t have to wait an hour!” (Teehee)
It’s… dare I say, worth it? It is. We have eaten many a dish here, and can attest they are all so far delicious. The breakfast sandwich is simple and yet also extraordinary, with fresh-made bread from a bakery just down the bike route and a very fresh veggie or smoked ham filling, all with melted havarti. The seasonal fruit fritters are more like traditional pancakes; the poached eggs are perfectly cooked.
Today’s hot skillet of “lost eggs” (Fölorade Ägg) in creamed spinach with smoked ham and a crust of melted parmesan and panko was exactly what I was desiring, rich and savory and warm and filling. The abelskivers, Danish pancake balls I learned to make as a child, never fail to be both comforting and delightful, served with lingonberry jam, lemon curd and maple syrup if you desire.
Our brunch was extra-holy on this rainy Saturday, complete with a Danish Mary cocktail — Bloody Mary variants are part of the tradition after all — an excellent version of the genre spicy and delicious but mellow enough for a morning drink. If following the new Portland tradition of holy brunch is your thing, Broder delivers, rainy days or sunshine.
Broder’s 2508 SE Clinton Cafe, at this writing, is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Other locations are Broder Nord, 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Broder Söder on Oleson Road, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The Söder location is especially lovely, in the Nordic Northwest heritage center.