A McMenamins Zeus Café Breakfast
Wednesday 6 July 2016 — Category: Dining Out
On June 6, 2016, I left home early (4:44 AM!) for another photo hike in Portland. Instead of my usual McDonald’s breakfast which I like so much, I decided to advance my McMenamins Passport Adventure by breaking my fast at their Zeus Café, part of McMenamins historic (built 1910) Crystal Hotel, located on an entire wedge-shaped block between SW Stark and West Burnside Streets, and SW 12th and 13th Avenues, in downtown Portland, Oregon.
Once I had driven to Portland, parked at the Sunset Transit Center, and taken Bus 20 downtown, I was still a bit early for their 7:00 opening. That was just fine, because it gave me some time to take pictures. Because it was early morning, the light was not very good. When I was editing the photos back home, I found that they looked best when processed as black and white. However, it seemed a pity to reduce the colorful red signs to a shade of gray, so I opted for the color splash look instead. I’m quite pleased with how all six color splash images turned out.
When I had breakfast at Ken’s Bakery last November, although the food was excellent, I was very disappointed with the weak, tepid tea I had there. That negative experience definitely left a bad taste in my mouth! So I was very pleasantly surprised to have the opposite experience at the Zeus Café. The black tea they brought me was nice and hot and strong. It doesn’t seem that hard to achieve, so I was very happy that McMenamins got it right.
For breakfast I had a prosciutto and Mama Lil’s Peppers omelette (I don’t think there was any cheese), with a bowl of creamy polenta, and whole wheat toast. This was the first time I had ever had polenta for breakfast, and it sure was good! I’m going to have to try that at home. Everything else was delicious as well.
With that truly scrumptious and satisfying meal under my belt, I took a couple more photos, and then walked a third of a mile to the starting point for that day’s outing to explore Portland’s NW Alphabet District. As is often the case, I just couldn’t resist taking some pictures along the way, before the outing officially began. Check out my article Of Bikes, Beauties and Bell Towers for all of the details, and to see the resulting photos.
During the one hour I was at the McMenamins Crystal Hotel / Zeus Café block, I took a total of 27 photos. The best 16 are now on display in the new McMenamins Crystal Blocks 2016 album. I used the word ‘blocks’ because just a block to the west is the McMenamins Crystal Ballroom complex, which is a whole nother story.
In my McMenamins Passport there is a single page for both of the Crystal locations combined, which requires seven stamps to complete. As of now I have only the Zeus Café stamp, so I know I’ll be back to get the other six stamps and, of course, take a lot more pictures. Those future photos will be added to the Crystal Blocks album.
Some Passport stamps require that you buy a ticket — usually one of their nine theaters, but also for the Crystal Ballroom itself and for Lola’s Room on the floor below. It is doubtful that I would ever attend an event in either of these venues, but fortunately McMenamins offers a daily 2:00 PM tour of the building, which takes you through these two rooms, and allows you to get your stamps without buying tickets. That is very accommodating and I really appreciate it! The tour is on my list of things to do in Portland.
UPDATE: Check out the truly scrumptious omelette I made at home, inspired by the above-mentioned McMenamins omelette.