It’s hard to beat a dinner at Caiola’s, in Portland’s West End, but for this morning meal junkie, the Sunday brunch just might do the trick. While a meal and live music on the back patio might be a great way to spend a warm summer evening, nothing wakes you up and warms you up on a drizzly, Maine spring morning quite like a plate of the Warm Lost Bread (more about that in a minute) or any other item on the menu for that matter. To top it all off, what better way to cover this delicious location for Map & Menu, than with two of our favorite people in Portland, Carolyn and Darcy – coincidentally, the two people responsible for this Sunday morning addiction.
Brunch should be all about comfort. It’s the “I slept in, woke up slowly, want to fill my belly, and crawl back into bed or just take it easy all day” meal, and to this point, Caiola’s hits the nail on the head. The location is more “neighborly” than “downtown”, the ambiance is more “cozy” than “uptight”, the staff more “friendly” than “reserved”, and the food is never anything but spot on.
I want to start with the impossible task of describing our favorite item on the menu – the Warm Lost Bread. Knowing that I cannot possibly do this dish justice, I would highly recommend that you just ignore the rest of this paragraph, call now to make a reservation for Sunday morning, piddle away the rest of the work week, get over to Pine Street early, and try this dish for yourself. Simply, the Lost Bread is the Caiola’s version of pain perdu, or frech toast, but to belittle the delightfully soft chunk of bread, drizzled in butter and warm Maine maple syrup, and topped with a generous helping of fresh fruit, to a meal that anyone with a frying pan and some day-old bread can whip up is an insult that I cannot bear. Every bite will leave you wanting another, and when it’s finally gone from the plate, you’ll find yourself wondering just how silly you’d look licking your plate clean in front of the other patrons. Seriously, try it.
If the better part of our meal and company stopped there, my job would be too easy. Every person at our table seemed more than thrilled with their brunch selections. From the West Side staples of eggs, bacon, and home fries, or the goat cheese, spinach, and tomato omelette, to the Eggs Tostada (a dish I’ve always wanted to try), or the Crawfish and Grits (a dish I was lucky enough to try), every meal was fantastic, and every one of us was delighted. If the line hadn’t been literally out the door, I think we could have just spent the entire morning, and a good chunk of the afternoon, sharing stories and bragging about who ordered the best dish. Great friends, great food, and a great location – the perfect Sunday morning brunch.