Portland Eats: Pine State Biscuits

Bursting at the seams with booth after booth of fresh berries, summer vegetables and forest mushrooms, the Portland Farmers Market is an embarrassment of riches straight from local farms.

The market is utopia to locals (and visitors) clamoring for farm-fresh, organic, sustainable produce, meats, cheeses, and of course, North Carolina biscuits.

Wait a minute. Huh? North Carolina biscuits? In Portland?

Yeah, and guess which line is longest at the 130+ stall Saturday market? The organic, hot oatmeal booth?

Hardly. It’s the Pine State Biscuits booth, tucked away in the center of the farmers market.

It’s become something of a market phenomenon ever since three North Carolina college friends first set up at the market in 2006. The success of the biscuits at the farmers market prompted the guys to open a restaurant storefront a couple years later.

Sign

Wandering around the periphery of the market, lost in the sheer bounty of gooseberries, tri-colored carrots and fresh porcini and morel mushrooms — not to mention tiny-but-real Oregon truffles for $10 an ounce — I feel my husband tugging on my shirt sleeve and he won’t stop.

He pleads with me to follow him– all the way to the back of a snaking line of market goers chomping at the bit to get their hands on (and sink their teeth into) a hot, buttermilk biscuit.

Biscuit

North Carolina fancies itself a bastion of southern-style biscuits. I know this because I lived there for six years (it is also the birthplace of Krispy Kreme doughnuts).

Truth be told, a good buttermilk biscuit isn’t as easy to pull off as it sounds. It takes a deft hand (and soft flour) to make a really tender biscuit.

I spotted the “Reggie” on the menu and asked Wes, the biscuit artist assembling the sandwiches, “Who’s Reggie?”

Wes

Wes, an engaging character and clearly loving the adoring crowd, tells me Reggie is a fictitious name. Oh.

Even if the name is made up, there is nothing remotely fictional about the sandwich ($7, or $8 topped with an egg).

It is, without a doubt, the most “real” biscuit sandwich ever to pass my lips and from there, land directly on my hips.

Let’s see, a biscuit topped with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and then covered in gravy? Outrageous — in a gotta-have-it way, though.

Chicken

Pine State Biscuits may not make the gravy on-site — but get this — they DO bake the biscuits right there (and fry the chicken, the bacon and the eggs, too.)

Eggs

The line of folks waiting for their shot at a North Carolina heart-attack-on-a-plate is only mind-boggling given the location – a farmers market, filled with fresh produce.

I feel for the booth selling wholesome, organic oatmeal. I’m sure the oats are delicious, but they had no customers. Everyone was in line for a biscuit.

The-Reggie

But seriously, how could you not fall for this knife-and-fork beast?

Juicy, double-crusted fried chicken, a lone strip of chewy bacon, just melted cheddar cheese, sage and pepper-spiked gravy as thick as molasses and of course, that tender, butter-laden, fresh-from-the-oven biscuit.

Finale

It just goes to show you. You can lead a normally sane person to healthy food, but you can’t make her eat it.

At least not when a Pine State biscuit is an option.


Pine State Biscuits
3640 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR
(503) 236-3346
pinestatebiscuits.com

12 replies
  1. Sara@Sprouted Kitchen
    Sara@Sprouted Kitchen says:

    ha, love your last quote about leading a girl to healthy food. I adore farmers markets and fresh produce, but you give me a pint of ice cream and i have no qualms about over indulging on that puppy. your biscuit looks fabulous, lovely blog!

    Reply
    • chefgwen
      chefgwen says:

      Welcome, Sara… thanks for stopping by. I checked out your Sprouted Kitchen and you just might inspire me to eat healthier. Maybe.

      Anyway, your pictures are beautiful and you write lovely, too.

      Reply
  2. chefgwen
    chefgwen says:

    Strange, I’m leaving a comment on my own blog, not a reply to someone who did leave a comment) but I keep seeing on my blog stats that this post is one of the most popular posts.

    Some people are looking for a recipe. If you are one of them, here is a link to none other than Oprah.com.

    http://www.oprah.com/recipe/food/recipessandwiches/20080509_tows_reggie

    After reading the recipe, may I suggest that you just go to Portland and try it there.

    I promise you that it will be more special than if you make it yourself. Just sayin’.

    Reply
  3. Bernadette Julca
    Bernadette Julca says:

    Hi. Really pleasant info on Maqui Berry. I discovered your nice blog while searching bing. For the previous few days I have been seeking to discover more. Particularly anything to do with the diet talk. I’ve heard it all and my sister proceeds promoting her new weight loss craze on me. So I’m happy I encountered you. Take care!

    Reply
  4. Barbara Toombs
    Barbara Toombs says:

    Okay, I am officially drooling. Very seldom do you really find a good biscuit like that! Brings back memories of “cream teas” in England and their scones (biscuits, to us…not like the things they serve at Starbucks) right out of the oven, slathered with clotted cream and home-made strawberry jam. Yum…

    Gwen…if you’re ever down in Chandler, do check out the biscuits at Wonderful Wanda’s on Chandler Blvd, just a bit east of the I-10. Some of the best I’ve ever had here in AZ.

    Reply
    • chefgwen
      chefgwen says:

      Barbara… Thank you for the great tip… I will get to WW because I do love a great biscuit, and it’s much safer for me to eat one out instead of making a whole batch that I then consume in one fell swoop.

      And congrats again on the Examiner.com Phoenix Gourmet Food gig. Excellent!

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I’m not one to shy away from fat and calories. I did, after all, polish off a Pine State Reggie biscuit with no […]

  2. […] I’m not one to shy away from fat and calories. I did, after all, polish off a Pine State Reggie biscuit with no […]

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