Sweetpea Brunch

Update:

Sweetpea no longer provides Sunday brunch.

 

Updated 2/11/2009:

Note from the Sweetpea Facebook:

Rather than raising the price of our brunch as food prices go up, we will now no longer include orange juice for free. to add a single 16 oz glass of OJ to your meal will now add an extra dollar. still a steal for a glass of juice! 

Times Visited: Many and many more to come!

So we’re reviewing Sweetpea’s all-you-can-eat-$10-brunch but we haven’t reviewed the bakery yet?!
What’s wrong with us? Well, we’ve been waiting for the dust to settle and the possible inclusion of a simple grab and go lunch menu. There’s also the problem that our current rating system only goes to 5 and Sweetpea Baking Company deserves its own rating system with the awesomeness of their sweets – cakes, cookies, doughnuts, danishes, and so on. Hell, Sweetpea sweets are on our Top 10 list in Herbivore Magazine, so you already know we dig ‘em.

The rumor of Sweetpea’s first $10 all you can eat brunch spread like wildfire across town and they sold out within a few hours! Never again – they are now prepared to take on the masses, and “mass” is definitely a word that goes well with “all you can eat buffet.”

All-you-can-eat buffets are unique dining experiences. They are often placed along the Interstate, near on and off ramps, and conjure up images of a stereo-typical American with the plate piled neck high with chicken wings. And even the food itself is stereo-typed – old, dry, and fatty.

Some people love them, and some people would rather visit the buffet line once and pay less. We happen to fall into the latter category, but love the idea none the less. Unlike our respective regular dining companions, we do not have hollow legs. We’re the type to take home leftovers (often for the companions), so any buffet isn’t going to be an everyday dining adventure – but finally, our partners have the chance to fill up on good vegan food at a reasonable price! With that, we welcome Sweetpea’s brunch with open arms, and mouths.

Sweetpea’s all-you-can-eat brunch offers a rotating menu which usually consists of: pancakes, biscuits, gravy, greens, tofu scramble, seitan, potatoes, an additional side, orange juice, and coffee. The bottomless juice and coffee make a good selling point for the price. The items in the bakery case are not part of the buffet, but can make a nice addition if you want a bagel smeared with bac-un and chive toffutti to accompany your meal.

The food is what you’d expect from a buffet – hit and miss. Depending on the time you visit the buffet, the pancakes you grab may be light and fluffy or a bit dry. The same holds true for biscuits. Both of these issues can be fixed by pouring on the delicious maple syrup or gravy. Either way, cover your food with the maple syrup and gravy! The maple syrup is real – no corn syrup here. The gravy is simple, creamy, and white, with a touch nutritional yeast for flavor. It was perfect for us with a touch more pepper added. Greens have been cooked perfectly and tossed with just the right amount of Braggs or left plain for your own sprinkling of nutritional yeast, hot sauce and salt. The collards and kale have been such a pleasant addition to the heavy items, thank you for thinking of our gut!

The scrambles have been simple: sans vegetables and with various special spices and turmeric, for color. The seitan has been inconsistent in texture but flavorful. Sometimes chewy, sometimes a bit lighter, but always a great addition. It is one of our favorite pieces of the buffet. The potatoes have been diced small and are nice and salty, but can be dry. Thankfully, there’s organic ketchup available for smothering. The grits have been simply seasoned with Earth Balance and salt. The texture has been much more like polenta because of the texture, which is fine, but our grit-loving friends couldn’t bear to hear them identified as such. We found ourselves using forks as opposed to spoons with these. Such is the life of buffet food.

The thing is, Sweetpea offers a simple savory brunch that tasted good and has something for everyone with their rotating operations. We love that we have the option of a set price, all-you-can-eat, vegan buffet. It has a great feel to it with the partial community seating and music on a Sunday morning. All-you-can-eat does lead to people sitting at their table a bit longer than normal, wondering if they can put more food in their face – we know we did our own first visits. Consider taking your plate outside as the weather gets nicer. We do wish we could pay $7 for a single plate of food to avoid over-stuffing ourselves again, and again. Good thing we have the options of a cinnamon roll, bagel with blended cream cheese, or even cake.

Compared to other vegan buffets in town, it’s at the top of the list. No question about it, there’s a ton of potential that’s already been untapped with a recent addition of peach crisp. Peach crisp! You should know that the highest quality offerings have been eaten before 10am, but that’s to be expected. Don’t be silly and expect the freshest food right before closing! Though, psst, we do hear the buffet sometimes goes half price right at the end!

This weekend brings Breakfast Tacos – including jackfruit! Also, look forward to new donuts coming soon featuring Jelly Doughnuts and Maple Bars!

Buffet:
Sweetpea Brunch 3

Plate from week #2:
new group march 039

More Brunch:
Sweetpea Brunch 3

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Address: 1205 SE Stark St. Portland, OR 97214
Hours: M-F 7am-8pm, Sat. & Sun. 9am-8pm

Wednesday and Saturdays are doughnut days!

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8 responses to “Sweetpea Brunch

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  5. Finally tried this, and even though things didn’t look that great (other than the kale)–it exceeded every expectation. The morning I went, the menu featured: diced russet potatoes, kale, “chicken-fried steak” seitan, white gravy; and waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, and a banana/pineapple pudding. As I mentioned, none of it looked incredibly appetizing so at first we were prepared to be a little disappointed (and had been jonesing for biscuits & gravy): the waffles looked rubbery, not crisp; the potatoes looked bland; the seitan looked dried-out; and I’m not a big fan of sweets in general, especially for breakfast.

    But the taste–oh man, it was fantastic. The potatoes and kale were the perfect consistencies, neither mushy nor undercooked, and the simple flavors of black pepper and olive oil (for the new potatoes) and Braggs (for the kale) were just right. The seitan, which by looks had neither of us excited, was oddly addictive, and fantastic with the gravy (which was also richly flavorful despite looking so plain). The biggest surprise for me were the waffles and sundry accoutrement, which were great despite being soft rather than crispy–and the whipped cream was amazing, and according to my non-vegan girlfriend, better than most whipped cream.

    A caloric indulgence, I’m sure–but very very tasty and a steal at $10. Staff looked not entirely happy for the big crowd of ravenous vegans and sudden restaurant-style change of pace, but they were very friendly and eager to answer questions. Can’t wait to go back.

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