52 Washington Ave., Portland
Summer is a particularly busy season for me, so it can be hard to find time to sit down for a meal worth writing about. I’d been trying to go out for a nice, leisurely weekend brunch, but work kept scrapping my plans. I finally decided to seek out a quick, weekday breakfast instead. And damn, am I glad I did.
I first wrote about Terlingua’s stellar brunch back in 2016, not long after they opened on Washington Ave. Brunch is still served there on Sundays, and still worth the trip. But they recently added a limited breakfast menu available during the rest of the week, and though the menu is shorter, the food is every bit as good.
At 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday, Terlingua was a quiet place. With just a couple other diners sitting at the bar, there was a decidedly relaxed, socialiable vibe. My wife and I got mugs and served ourselves some outstanding coffee from Westport Island’s Crossroads Coffee Beans ($3), then placed our breakfast order with the bartender.
The menu has three primary options, carnitas, brisket or black beans, served as a taco ($4), burrito ($8), or bowl ($6). There’s also a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit, hibiscus honey, and housemade granola ($7). Rather than force ourselves to choose, we ordered the parfait and one of each taco.
The parfait would make a perfect light meal on its own. The yogurt, from Winter Hill Farm, in Freeport, was rich and slightly tart, offsetting the honey and the crisp, slightly sweet granola. Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries were a delicious addition to the bowl.
Each taco we tackled was better than the last. The black bean taco had crispy bits of potato for texture and saltiness, along with scrambled eggs, queso and cilantro. The salsa roja had just the right amount of heat for a morning meal. The brisket taco was filled with tender, smoky meat, charred scallions, eggs, and that same wonderful salsa. And the carnitas — oh, the carnitas! — were the best of all, with crispy bits of smoked pork and a mild salsa verde that inspired my wife to place an additional order for the carnitas bowl.
Some mornings are made for lingering over a rich brunch and a Bloody Mary, and maybe, before the snow flies, I’ll have time for that again. Meanwhile, when I want a hearty breakfast in a hurry, Terlingua will be perched at the top of my list.
Terlingua serves breakfast Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.