While you were in your usual biscuit coma, Roman Candle Baking Co quietly perfected the breakfast of champions: light and lean, with flavors to keep you happy and healthy. This may be Portland’s best daily a.m. menu right now. Chef Joshua McFadden oversees the menu at both Roman and sister restaurant Ava Gene’s. His Old World Cereal is a warm ooze of heritage rye, cracked emmer, flax seeds, sprouted raw almonds, and maple syrup, simmered in almond milk. It makes standard-issue oatmeal curl up in a corner and quiver. House granola sports olive oil roasted oats, pumpkin seeds, giant cracks of pistachio, and thick yogurt. Just-baked bread shines everywhere: sourdough toast stacked alongside shakshuka-like “eggs in purgatory,” or a fab slab of raisin-cocoa-walnut bread beneath fresh hazelnut butter, bitter chocolate, and roasted nuts. 3377 SE Division St, romancandlebaking.com
“I’m having a revolution in my mind!” exclaims Ataula’s Jose Chesa, brandishing his latest innovation: Spanish eggs reimagined as “dessert” in a chilled skillet. Coconut milk clouds, thickened with a modernist whipped-cream gizmo, stand in for egg whites, and kataifi (Greek shredded wheat pastry) represents the browned edges of over-easy perfection. On top: egg-yolk sorbet, sunny and suave. It’s a super-delicious signal that Ataula is officially serious about desserts—adding creative dares to its already-strong roster of Catalan comfort food. We couldn’t be happier, but no one is more excited that Chesa. (Bonus: We’ve got the recipe for his luxe take on traditional Spanish bread and chocolate.) 1818 NW 23rd Place, ataulapdx.com
THE V-DAY CHEAT SHEET
Chocolate bars, for fools in love ... and lovers of the good stuff
1. Cocanú Valentina
This PDX line’s latest is deep, pure, and complex in ways you can’t explain, down to the campfire-y, burnt-maple notes that skip across your tongue. Plus, each hand-wrapped square is wax-stamped with a fleur-de-lis. Sweet.
2. Dick Taylor, Black Fig, or Fleur de Sel
Count on these California bars for piercing satisfaction. The fig bar comes on like a low-rumbling port, deep and jammy, and the fleur de sel juggles brownie-like intensity with crackly salt flakes that ping and reverberate top to bottom.
3. François Pralus Barre Infernale
Leave it to a French pro to deliver the diamond ring of chocolate bars, stretched out like a limousine and meant for slicing, cake-style. Get dark or milk, filled with praline paste or pistachio nougat. Their catchphrase says it best: “hellishly delightful.” Just like love. All brands available at the Meadow or Cacao.