Between the years 1997-2005, I was living in the Midwest, where I was employed as the Editorial Director of a monthly B2B magazine. Travel was a large part of the job requirement. During that time, I visited 42 of 50 U.S. States, as well as several foreign countries. In 2002, my business travel schedule peaked with me spending 35 (of 52) weeks on the road and amassing a level of airline miles and hotel points that would cause George Clooney’s character in “Up in the Air” to take pause.
Breakfast on the go—the focus of the Portland Food Bloggers collaborative effort this month—was an everyday occurrence back then. How many hundreds of “McMuffin” style breakfast sandwiches were scarfed down in parking lots, I cannot tell you. Ditto for the thousands of cups of coffee consumed in various airport terminals and the cups of barely cool yogurt choked down while sitting bleary-eyed in some hotel lobby in advance of an 18 hour workday.
My life is much different these days. Self-employed for the last six years, I now work out of my home, often
naked in my pajamas. While coffee is still a key part of my morning regimen, I don’t often find myself hungry enough to eat an actual breakfast (This is much to the chagrin of my doctor, who is a firm believer in the adage that we should “eat breakfast like kings, lunch like princes and dinner like paupers.” I tend to adhere more to the “eat breakfast like a pauper, lunch like a pauper and dinner like a starved honey badger” approach).
That said, I do still try to get downtown every now and then in an effort to stay current with Portland’s ever-expanding breakfast offerings.
In recent months, I’ve found myself visiting Fit to Eat (65 Market Street) increasingly often. For those unacquainted with Fit to Eat, I encourage you to check out Malcolm’s review on FromAway.com, which provides a bit of history as well as an overview of some of the sandwich shop’s lunchtime options.
Usually, I’ll do my morning errands (drop off deposits at the bank, get a haircut, leave laundry at the dry cleaner, go to the post office, etc…) and then reward my efforts with a visit to Fit to Eat. I always order the same thing: the breakfast sandwich made with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and apple wood smoked bacon served on a homemade English Muffin. (More ambitious diners can try the sandwich with apple sage sausage instead of bacon. A third sandwich, featuring spinach, goat cheese, eggs and caramelized onions is also on the menu.)
Because the coffee maker at Fit to Eat has been on the fritz for awhile now, I’m usually content to leave the staff alone to make my sandwich in peace while I wander over to Bard Coffee for my morning caffeine jolt. (By the way, lest you be tempted to save a few steps and stop at Starbucks instead, you should know that every time someone bypasses Bard for Starbucks, a live kitten is fed to a crocodile.) When I return a few minutes later, coffee in hand, my sandwich is always waiting on the counter for me, wrapped tightly in foil to keep it warm.
With a five dollar price tag, this is not the cheapest breakfast sandwich in town. But it is easily one of the best values. The English Muffin is homemade, and close to twice the size of your average “fast food” english muffin. Inside, you’ll find a scrambled egg, perfectly seasoned and topped with two—sometimes three—slices of thick, salty bacon. I’m not sure where Mike Mastronardi (owner and the guy behind the counter during most of my visits) sources his bacon from, but I can tell you that it is vastly superior to what you’ll find on the breakfast sandwiches at most other establishments. At first glance, the cheese appears to be missing, but trust me when I tell you that it is there, delicately folded in with the egg.
Occasionally, I’ll eat my breakfast at the shop. Other times, I’ll take it over to the park to enjoy in the morning sun. And on some days, I’ll just head home with it, as I did during my most recent visit.
The “on the go” breakfast sandwiches that I consumed when I traveled for a living, I regarded as little more than fuel. I never really enjoyed them. At best, they were unremarkable. At their worst, they were inedible. And while the Fit to Eat breakfast sandwich may qualify as an “on the go” type of meal, the best compliment that I can give to it is that—with its homemade English muffin, fresh ingredients and careful preparation—it is the antithesis of every breakfast sandwich I ate between 1997 and 2005.
Fit to Eat is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is served until 11am.
Looking for more “Breakfast on the Go” goodness? Find it below:
- Kate of The Blueberry Files reviews Mr. Bagel here.
- Edible Obsessions explores the East Ender’s “donut bar” here.
- Vrai-Lean-Uh offers “breakfast on the go” tips and techniques here.
- Appetite Portland tackles the various offerings at the Standard Baking Co. here.
- From Away dissects the Punky’s breakfast sandwich here.
- Flavor and Zest suggests a few outstanding coffee shops outside of city limits here.