Arleta Library Bakery and Cafe was another one of the places I found out about from watching Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. This quaint little bakery and cafe has become one of my favourite breakfast spots in Portland. The decor is eclectic, non-pretentious, and has a retro feel to it. The food is reasonably priced and much of it is organic and locally produced. Be prepared for lineups on weekends as this place is tiny with only about seven tables and a couple of seats at the bar.
Their signature dish, which was featured on the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives episode, was the Sicilian Hash ($10.50). I was really impressed with this dish ever since I tasted it for the first time a couple of years back. This dish takes hours to make as the Painted Hills natural beef is first braised in the oven overnight until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender. The beef is then sautéed with peppers, onions, and potatoes. It is served with a parmesan scrambled egg and a choice of toast or scone. I usually choose the scone as it is freshly baked in-house. The parmesan scrambled egg is fluffy and light. For the most part, the food at Arleta’s has been pretty consistent. I’ve ordered this hash every time we’ve visited (about half a dozen times now) and on most of the visits, it’s been just as good. One thing to keep in mind though is that this dish is only available on weekends for brunch. If you’re lucky, you may on occasion find it as a daily special on a weekday.
On this recent visit back in November, in addition to the Sicilian Hash, my friend C and I ordered a Sharp Cheddar, Bacon Corn Muffin ($3.50) and a side of Thick-cut Bacon ($3). We ordered these side items mainly because my friend C and I wanted a small meal on this visit. We were planning to share one order of the Sicilian Hash since we had a packed eating schedule ahead of us. The Sharp Cheddar, Bacon Corn Muffin was not what I had expected. Arleta’s is pretty well-known for their baked goods and I had tried their coffee cake before and was quite impressed. Sadly, this Sharp Cheddar, Bacon Corn Muffin was dry and crumbly. I was hoping that it would be a lot more cheesy and flavourful. I’d definitely pass on this on my next visit. The Thick-cut Bacon was well-prepared and not greasy at all.
Another signature dish at Arleta Library Bakery and Cafe is the Biscuits-n-Gravy ($10.50). They claim these biscuits-n-gravy are one of Portland’s Best. This dish consists of thinly sliced slow roasted pork loin atop two sweet potato biscuits that is smothered in a rosemary sausage gravy and served with their house fries. On a previous visit, my friend C had tried a variation of this dish, which was the Vegetarian Biscuits-n-Gravy that was one of the daily specials. Since my friend C was not crazy about the rosemary sausage gravy on the regular dish, she opted for the vegetarian version which came with a portobello mushroom gravy. Instead of sliced roasted pork, the vegetarian version was served with slices of fried tempeh. My friend C really enjoyed the flaky, buttery sweet potato biscuits and the flavourful portobello mushroom gravy.
Arleta Library Bakery Cafe
5513 SE 72nd Avenue