The Big Egg
A PERFUME of smoky bacon and sweet-potato jam wafts out of the Big Egg’s yolk-colored door. Like the scent of a lilac, it’s a sign of sunnier days ahead: after a hiatus to bypass winter’s cruel treatment of mobile vendors, this street-side temple to fried-egg sandwiches has bloomed again on N Mississippi Avenue, with a menu of fresh ideas. Look for house-made vegetarian sausage and new seasonal sandwiches—daily specials like rosemary-scented eggs, thick-cut bacon, and dandelion greens engineered with the sweet-tart surprise of homemade lemon curd.
But breathe free: the cult classics are back, too. That includes the Monte Cristo, served on cardamom-shaved French toast, and the Arbor Lodge, a tower of thick-cut grilled portobellos and balsamic onions holding down an over-easy egg, served on toasty brioche lacquered with roasted-garlic aioli. And then there’s the Breakfast Wrap, bulging with roasted potato chunks, roasted poblano chiles, and tangy rivers of yogurt lime sauce running through its savory depths.
Each sandwich at the Big Egg is beautifully burnished and assembled like a masterpiece just for you. The process can take up to 35 minutes, depending on the crowd. The drive for perfection—seasoning eggs to order with orange mint or nasturtium flowers, slathering bread with homemade condiments—takes time.
Portland’s season of sideways rain and gray skies was tough on street vendors. But for the Big Egg’s Gail Buchanan and Elizabeth D. Morehead, the break was a sanity reboot—their first since opening in late 2009. “We recharged, and realized we wanted to push even further—to be as homemade and local as possible,” says Buchanan. “No more Morningstar patty. No more high-fructose sodas. No more corporate anything. No reason to be selling those products.”