It was the early morning when Annie picked me up in her wee VW and sped us out of downtown Portland. We were bound for Mt Hood Territory, a region known for its jaw dropping natural landscapes. Our first stop would be a leisurely brunch at Bob’s Red Mill, an early morn local favourite.
Bob’s Red Mill sells over 400 grain-based products (80 of them gluten free) in 80 different countries and counting (arguably Oregon’s most famous food export)! This employee-owned company is based in the small town of Milwaukie, where its Whole Grain Store and Visitor Center features its entire product line and also includes a bakery, restaurant and demo kitchen where cooking classes are offered. Visitors can sign up for guided tours Monday through Friday, exploring the wonderful world of stone grinding whole grains at the Bob’s Red Mill manufacturing facility.
I was wildly impressed while strolling through the space, if not even a bit jealous of locals who enjoy such easy access to the place. Staff were all big smiles as I loitered through aisles of spelt, heritage oat and cornmeal. Bob’s Red Mill is literally Disneyland for anyone who loves baking. At the back of the store we placed our order before waddling over to an outdoor shaded patio where we sipped fresh OJ and coffee which forced an eye bulging.
Portions are plentiful here and not until everything arrived at the table did I realize that I had unintentionally ordered items from each grain category (so pleased with my subconscious self here). I started by scooping warm globs of steel cut oat porridge into my mouth, topped with raisins, brown sugar and cream. Moving on to a massive plate featuring toasted biscuits covered in sausage gravy (be still my heart) followed by a bowl of steaming cheesy corn grits. My final bow was a trilogy of 10 Grain Pancakes covered in maple syrup and paired with crispy bacon. Bob certainly knows how to help travellers kick-start their day!
Steel Cut Oatmeal Porridge
raisins, brown sugar, milk
10 Grain Pancakes
bacon, maple syrup
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Cheesy Corn Grits