Portland worships brunch as though it were a centuries-old mandate. But one could argue the meal’s golden age didn’t really dawn until 2010, with Tasty n Sons, the second restaurant from Toro Bravo chef-owner John Gorham and one of the first places in the city to take local breakfast beyond its Benedict and pancake-stacked roots. Gorham, whose ever-expanding empire now includes downtown’s Tasty n Alder, plus Mediterranean spots and a “gastronomic society/test kitchen,” describes Tasty n Sons as being the “new American diner,” a globe-trotting menu with a dish for any craving. Chocolate potato doughnuts? No problem. Burmese red pork stew? Of course. Boudin blanc omelet? Don’t forget the truffle cheese.
In the just-out Hello! My Name Is Tasty cookbook, Gorham and local food writer Liz Crain memorialize the restaurant’s coveted brunch recipes, which still inspire hourlong waits, even midweek. Chief among them, Tasty’s faithful rendition of Israeli shakshuka, now a breakfast staple on many brunch menus around the city in part thanks to this recipe: a simple stew of tomatoes and peppers fried in smoky chile oil, cratered with oozy baked eggs. And, because no brunch is complete without one, we’ve included the recipe for Tasty’s awesomely savory, horseradish-hot Bloody Mary.
Tasty n Sons Shakshuka
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling the bread
- 2 medium sweet onions, julienned (i.e., cut into ⅛-inch-thick matchsticks)
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp piment d’Espelette
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1½ tsp paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 35-oz can whole tomatoes
- 8 medium red bell peppers, roasted and julienned*
- 5 medium green bell peppers, roasted and julienned
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 6 to 8 large eggs
- 1 loaf rustic bread, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
* Roast bell peppers under a broiler or over a grill, until blistered and blackened. Remove stems, skins, and seeds.
Sauté and Stew In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot over medium heat, add onions and garlic to 1 cup olive oil and sauté 10–12 minutes, or until translucent. Add sugar, spices, and bay leaves and cook about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and bell peppers, and simmer slowly, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes or until the stew thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake Divide mixture evenly among six to eight shallow ovenproof containers (like a 6-inch cazuela or ramekin). Make a nest for each egg in the stew, crack the eggs into the hollows, and season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekins in the oven and check every 3–4 minutes with a spoon to see if the whites have set (around 10 minutes). While the shakshuka is baking, drizzle the sliced bread on both sides with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toast, grill, or bake until the slices are nicely charred. Serve immediately with the shakshuka in the ovenproof containers.
Makes 15 cocktails
In a large pitcher, combine a 46 oz can of tomato juice, 1 cup Worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp prepared horseradish, 2½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Sriracha, 1 tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper, and ¼ tsp celery salt, and stir well to incorporate. Spread additional celery salt on a small plate. Use a lemon wedge to wet the rims for as many Collins glasses as needed, then dip them into the celery salt to lightly coat. Fill the glasses with ice, pour 1½–2 oz Sobieski vodka into each, top with 3–4 oz of the Bloody mix, and stir. Garnish each with a lemon wedge, celery stick, and any desired pickles, and serve. Bloody mix will keep, refrigerated, for 3 days.