Stepping Stone Cafe

Times Visited: 1

Another day, another tofu scramble. It had been awhile since I wasn’t happy with a tofu scramble, and this will tell the tale.

Stepping Stone Cafe is located a couple blocks north of NW 23rd; with booths, bustling wait staff and greasy home cooked style food. If I hadn’t done my homework, I may never have sough it out, but I had a day off and a tofu scramble in my future. Who knew vegans in Northwest Portland had breakfast options besides baked goods?

While breakfast is served all day, the tofu scramble is the only option for a full meal that stood out. Come afternoon, and there is also vegan-friendly pasta with olive oil and garlic (yawn) and a hummus plate (snore). Their oatmeal is cooked to order so one would hope they’d make it vegan if you were to request such a thing.

The default tofu scramble plate ($7) is huge, but it was only borderline good. You could dare call the tofu pan fried. While ordering, I inquired as to what their scramble consisted of – there are veggies yes, but spices? herbs? My question was answered with the offering of cajun spices. This translated into a welcome sprinkling of cajun on top of the dish. The scramble also included sauteed spinach, mushrooms and tomato. Since Portland has induced my local food snobbery, the watery tomato chunks didn’t hold any appeal. The other two vegetables and spice gave this scramble all it’s flavor. If this had been cajun-less, I would have been utterly bored. There was a ton of spinach, which was frankly almost too much. Helping things out were hash browns and toast.

The scramble comes with two full slices of toast, cut in half – definitely take advantage of the jams available here, as there was no vegan margarine. As a vegan in new territory I asked the obvious – for my toast dry. A bite of tofu and potatoes does scream hangover cure, but I wasn’t hungover and the potatoes were mostly undercooked. I found myself eating maybe 1/3 of my plate and taking the rest to go. Let me add that the person I gave it to, however, enjoyed how simple it was. To each their own!

If Stepping Stone was not in Portland, I’d give it a hell of a lot more recognition. This should be the starting point for diners across the US! It’s always relieving to have an option on a menu, but here it’s just that. It’s not something to seek out from across town, though it could be borderline temping for a vegan in NW on a tired morning. It’s merely a breakfast option at an otherwise homey diner.

Tofu Scramble Plate, with Hashbrowns and Toast:
end feb 08 005

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Address: 2390 NW Quimby Portland, OR 97210
Sunday: 7:30 – 10:00
Monday – Thursday: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.

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12 responses to “Stepping Stone Cafe

  1. It was around midnight and I was going to eat here with a friend last month, but they were closed. Sign said they are open tell 3 or something like that. I don’t like bland tofu scrambles so I’d probably stick to the humus plate. Cameo Cafe is another place that has bland tofu scrambles.

  2. I like this place. It’s kindof a pain in the ass to take the bus across town to eat a lazy weekend breakfast (you lucky Eastsiders!) and I appreciate that they have something cheap in this ‘hood that I can eat. I also really like that they have squeezy bottles of salsa on the table! The Boozy Coffee is a nice touch, too :) This place is way better than the other choice in NW, Cameo, where a tofu scramble will set you back $12. No thanks!

  3. Tofu scrambles usually taste really bland to me. I can’t stand the stuff they have at Old Wives’ Tale, for example. Personally, I swear by the postpunk kitchen recipe, which is FULL of oniony/garlicky goodness. Plus it’s yellow (from turmeric), like tofu scramble should be.

  4. Like Chelsea I am just happy there is an option in NW. Beesaw’s, NO! Cameo – apparently but expensive. Industrial Cafe – No! Papa Hydyn’s – Hell no! My favorite thing about Stepping Stone is their motto “We serve you because we want to” or something. :)

  5. Hey Chelsea and Veganfabulous – I certainly give the place credit for an affordable tofu scramble as a vegan option, no doubt, but it honestly pales in comparison to other scrambles I’ve had across town.

    Justin – My favorite scramble in town is actually one that benefits from turmeric – Junior’s Cafe. Check it out if you haven’t!

    lynn – let us know how the hummus plate is~

    I’m strangely intrigued and horrified by this $12 scramble! If only someone else paid..but I’d still feel bad if it wasn’t miraculously amazing.

  6. First of all, anybody curious about the Cameo need not check it out: just go get a typical bland breakfast and pay twice what they ask for it.

    As for Stepping Stone, I’ve loved it for years. But I also would never describe it as having some of the best food in town. That means that either (A) I like some places because of atmosphere, convenience, dependability, the staff, memories and quirkiness, or (B) I’m an idiot.

    Either way, I enjoyed this writeup.

  7. Pingback: Breakfast in Bridgetown » Blog Archive » Stepping Stone, why do I love you so?·

  8. Pingback: The Great Portland Tofu Scramble Census « Get Sconed!·

  9. Nell’s (at Kearney and 20th) has an awesome tofu/potato hash scramble…full of flavor. Thanks for this review…was thinking about heading there for dinner to use up a google offer. The only other time I ate there, I was eating eggs at the time and even those were just meh, so glad to know I have 3 options or a revised salad.

  10. Pingback: Stepping Stone, why do I love you so? - Breakfast in Bridgetown·

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