The one spot I was really looking forward to going for breakfast was Arjon’s favorite place, Arleta Library Café. It sounded so very interesting to me because, like Arjon’s other breakfast suggestion of Bread and Ink, its name is made up of two things I like very much: libraries and cafés. The Sunday of our friends’ wedding, Keith, Marcella and I drove over from Troutdale to check things out at the café.
Again — or should I say, as usual — I found myself riding the seesaw between two choices: the Florentine (with its melange of basil, ricotta, beans and Parmesan) and the Grand Torino (a frittata of salmon, scallions, potatoes and Brie under a squiggle of truffle oil). I opted for the latter ($9.50) since Marcella decided to order the former; she promised me a taste.
As with my so-called frittata at Bread and Ink, Arleta’s wasn’t quite one accurate. I don’t know how evident it is in the photo, but what looks like a solid wedge of eggy cake is actually multiple layers of thin omelet stacked atop one another like a gâteau de crêpes. Like that other ersatz frittata, terminology shouldn’t get in the way of something that tastes good, as was the case here. If anything, the one thing I would change of the Grand Torino would be the number of omelet crêpes; one or two less, and this would have been plate-licking good. Instead, I had to leave a good portion of it behind.
Arleta comes highly recommended from me, but only to those of you who have a great deal of patience. We lost track of how long it took for the line cook to prepare our three meals, but suffice it to say that I went through three cups of coffee. (Have I mentioned that I’m a slow sipper?) The end results were worth the wait, particularly Marcella’s lemon-coconut scone, but still — a little speedier service would have been nice.
Arleta Library Café
5513 SE 72nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97206