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Fearless Critic restaurant review
American, Baked goods
Food cart

Mon–Fri 6:30am–2:00pm
Sat–Sun 8:00am–3:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC


Mississippi Ave. Area
Mississippi and NE Fremont
Portland, OR
(503) 282-9866
Mon–Thu 9:00am–4:00pm
Fri–Sat 9:00am–8:00pm
Sun 9:00am–3:00pm

North Portland
2310 N. Lombard St.
Portland, OR
(503) 289-9866
The spot for waffles...and bacon...together

American waffles—as long as they’re not the frozen kind—tend to exist within a limited range of quality, bracketed between the slightly more moist and the slightly more dry, between the slightly sweeter and the slightly saltier. It’s comfort food. Sure, you’ll find the occasional Liège waffle here and there, served in its sticky glory by an obsessive Europhile, but that’s the rare exception to the homogeneous waffle rule.

Given waffles’ genetic similarity, it’s surprising that so many establishments stick to the one-dimensional sugaring-up school of waffle improvement—maple syrup, corn-syrup-based imitators, fresh fruit—instead of hamming them up with savories. It’s a shame, because the salty and umami aspects of pork products, eggs, and pungent cheeses can spin a great deal more complexity from the simple waffle. Why is the bacon waffle still the exception to the rule, the almost-exclusive domain of certain fast-foody pancake-house chains and only the most avant-garde of comfort-food throwback joints?

FlavourSpot, one of whose two branches sits on an emerging end of Mississippi, is one of the rare establishments that gets the genius of the pork-plus-waffle formula. There’s a very Portlandy food-cart feeling to the freestanding garage-sized, sided, sleek-wood-fenced structure. The more sophisticated the city’s food-cart culture becomes, the more the line blurs between food cart and sit-down restaurant. This one’s hard to classify.

The menu’s so-called “waffle sandwiches” or “dutch tacos” are basically waffles folded over fillings and half-wrapped in foil. The menu evokes that of a crêperie. All of this is very exciting, which makes the frequent execution problems all the more frustrating.

Waffles often come out overcooked, too dry, or too cool, and fillings too often fail, whether for dryness, toughness, or lack of integration. Melted cheese has been oozy but sparse; Black Forest ham has been leathery; bacon and sausage have lacked the juices and dripping fats that you hope for. The sausage can be nicely set off by maple butter—a good idea even if it gets a bit more hype than it deserves. Ironically, given our rant, some of the sweet waffles—Nutella, for instance—eclipse the savories, perhaps because they require fewer ingredients and less expertise.

Still, it’s hard to argue with a decent waffle—there’s your bracket theory again. And the picnic tables are a perfectly pleasant place to while away the day. It’s hard to argue with that either.

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