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good taste greets the sun

Hungry clientele pushes versatile bistro to set the breakfast table

In Good Taste already functions as a culinary school, caterer, cookware and wine shop, and bistro. But this comely Pearl District multitasker continues to expand its scope.

Having established itself as a stealth favorite for lunch or a cup of Illy coffee and pastry, the bistro has just kicked off breakfast service with an ambitious menu.

Co-owner Barbara Dawson says the decision was prompted by requests from regulars and weekend shoppers who were hungry for morning nosh. (Within the immediate vicinity, only the squeezy Byways Cafe and Fuller's Coffee Shop offer a sit-down breakfast.)

Chef David Martin's menu swings from homemade honey granola to gourmet three-egg omelets and includes the all-important hangover-helping mimosa. The French toast is artfully plated, with thick, soft slabs of baguette served with a wonderfully tart cherry compote, a drizzle of crme fra”che, pure maple syrup and terrific home fries that crunch like crackers. Not bad for $6.50, especially when you throw in the blissful solitude of a nearly empty cafe.

If first impressions can be trusted, I have a feeling it won't be empty for long.

In Good Taste, 231 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-248-2015, breakfast 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tidbits

While we're in the Pearl, it's worth noting that the fabulous Pearl Bakery, 102 N.W. Ninth Ave., now provides 10 free parking spots for its devoted customers in the lot directly across the street.

Elsewhere in town, Greg Higgins, who pioneered the dedicated use of organic, seasonal and locally grown ingredients when he opened his namesake downtown restaurant in 1994, last week snagged the esteemed James Beard Foundation award for best chef in the Northwest or Hawaii.

A man who grows some of the restaurant's herbs and vegetables and who believes that beer is just as important as wine, Higgins offers an unfussy style of cooking that has inspired countless chefs and diners.

One of his restaurant's current first-course dishes illustrates the beauty of Higgins' craft. It's a simple crepe Ñ nothing fancy Ñ but in his able hands it becomes the crepe to end all crepes. Stuffed with ricotta and chunks of tender artichoke and accompanied by delicate, fresh pea shoots and excellent olives, it is delicious every bite of the way. Filling enough to be a light meal, it's $9.75.

If you've never eaten at this purely Portland restaurant, you now have one more reason to go.

Higgins is at 1239 S.W. Broadway, 503-222-9070.