Somewhere along the way, granola got a bad rap. Lumped into the unappetizing health food category along with wheat grass juice and tofu bricks, it was branded good for you, but not good tasting.
Given that granola is toasted in oil and a sweetening agent such as honey (otherwise it would be muesli), it's not exactly low in fat and calories, but it can be quite delicious.
This good old oats-and-nuts breakfast food is having a bit of a renaissance, cropping up in hip cafes all around town.
Crowsenberg's Half & Half
This house-made granola is a cinnamony-sweet blend rich with whole almonds, hazelnuts and dense oat nuggets. Smooth green pepitas (pumpkin seeds) bring both a jolt of color and good textural contrast to the mix. The granola is served to your liking, with milk, soy milk or yogurt and fresh fruit.
From the Stumptown coffee to the superb magazine selection (Black Book, Bomb, The New Yorker), there are many other excellent reasons to swing by Crowsenberg's: killer sandwiches, trinkets for sale, Nutella on toast, friendly smiles. É
923 S.W. Oak St., 503-222-4495
The Daily Cafe's homemade granola is so satisfying Ñ infinitely better than what you find on grocery store shelves Ñ that the owners thought you might want to take some home with you. Available by the bowl with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, it's also sold in 1-pound bags.
More flaky than chunky, the toasty granola draws much of its sweetness from dried cranberries and raisins. Slivered almonds and pecan pieces augment the crispy oats. Don't hesitate to ask for extra milk; the little pitcher that accompanies your bowl is rarely enough to cover the generous cereal serving.
902 N.W. 13th Ave., 503-242-1916; 1100 S.E. Grand Ave., 503-234-8189
Gotham Building Coffee Shop
It seems that more than one recipe is employed for the granola offered at the Gotham Building Coffee Shop, which is alternately delicate and clumpy (in a good way). The mix of sugar, maple and enormous pecans (perhaps too many of them) overwhelm the toasted oats.
The best part about this breakfast Ñ which is served with milk or yogurt Ñ is the optional seasonal fruit. Currently, you might be offered half a champagne-poached pear. In the summer, be on the lookout for juicy berries and peach slices.
2240 N. Interstate Ave., 503-493-2646