A pancake filled with eggs, bacon and cream cheese spread, cheesecake-flavored cinnamon rolls and biscuits with wild mushroom gravy — these are the hottest food truck breakfast options being served in Central Oregon.
Diners looking for quick, on-the-go breakfast food have a limited assortment of eateries to choose from. To fill the gap (and your growling bellies), more food trucks are opening their windows to serve early and mid-morning meals. Breakfasts are ready in 5 to 10 minutes, sometimes less, and most of the options cost between $4 and $9.
Three food trucks offer consistent breakfast fare: The Pancake Wagon, Brown’s Basics Bakery and Eatery and A Broken Angel.
“A lot of people are really breakfast-focused now,” said Amanda “Charley” Brown, owner of Brown’s Basics Bakery and Eatery. “Diet wise, everything says eggs and bacon, eat a substantial high-protein, high-calorie breakfast.”
The Pancake Wagon
When Basia Brach returned home from working a graveyard shift as a registered nurse, she’d eat breakfast with her wife, Caley Brach. Because of their opposite work schedules, breakfast was the main meal they enjoyed together. Thus came their favorite motto, “I do believe we love breakfast together.”
Several years later, Caley wanted to put her culinary skills to use, and the two opened The Pancake Wagon in 2016.
The Pancake Wagon serves exclusively breakfast and brunch from a bright yellow 1974 Fleetwood camper, sitting on the grassy lawn in front of Mountain Supply on Colorado Avenue. The food truck dining area is filled with personality. There’s a giant dog stuffed animal, a sign that says, “Why eat rice cakes when you can eat pancakes?” and the truck’s pet bunny, Rue, who welcomes visitors from her cage. The Brachs have created a walled-in area with seats and heaters for diners to use in the wintertime.
On a recent morning, Caley cooked two golden pancakes, while Basia worked on a “purrito” filled with scrambled eggs and sausage. “Swaddle it up like a baby, support the neck,” Basia joked as she wrapped up the pancake. “Can you tell I worked at a children’s hospital?”
The purrito is a pancake burrito, the trademark dish at The Pancake Wagon. The purrito is breakfast on-the-go, “so if you can’t sit down with a knife and fork, we made it all in one,” said Basia. Savory breakfast eaters love the Johnny, which is a spicy, savory version of the purrito: a large cornmeal pancake with a sweet chili sauce and spicy homemade serrano pepper cream cheese spread, filled with an egg and bacon scramble and topped with lime juice.
They are also known for their “puffins,” which are muffins made from pancake batter. Puffins come in a variety of flavors, including lemon ricotta, cinnamon and Nutella swirl.
In addition to the traditional stack of buttermilk cakes, there are also Johnny cakes — crunchy, cornmeal-based pancakes, an updated version of the Western trail pancake that pioneers would make on a cast iron skillet. The peanut butter jelly banana is a large protein batter pancake topped with peanut butter, sliced banana, a homemade mixed berry and chia seed compote and powdered sugar. “When we opened the wagon I was like, I need something for those people that are working out, that are CrossFitters, skiers on the way up to the mountain,” said Caley. “They needed to have something other than buttermilk pancakes that may sound like there’s a lot of sugar.”
Brown’s Basics Bakery and Eatery
Brown, who is married to Bulletin reporter Kyle Spurr, started Brown’s Basics Bakery and Eatery only a few months ago. The truck is located in an up-and-coming artists’ collective area in Bend, next to the DIY Cave and Bright Place Gallery. Alongside the food truck, there’s a school bus that has been completely refurbished as a cafe with tables, chairs and a small bar inside.
“There’s a lot of people that work here, and if they catch on to the fact that they can get a reasonably priced, gourmet, fresh-cooked breakfast in a good time frame, that will meet a need that maybe they didn’t know they needed met,” Brown said.
Brown’s truck is surrounded by businesses. Many of her customers stop by to grab a bite on their way in to work or during their lunch break. Customers can call in orders to go, so their food is ready when they arrive. “I say I’m a small-batch bakery and eatery, so I do a few cinnamon rolls, a few muffins; I make popovers both savory and sweet,” Brown explained.
“They’re all things you can grab if you didn’t have time to wait the 6 minutes for me to make you a breakfast burrito,” she said.
Brown offers breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos and scrambles for customers looking for a heartier breakfast. “Those are my three egg options in the morning, and you can get those with sausage, ham, bacon or roast beef, a variety of vegetables or cheeses, and then I make a salsa and have sour cream,” said Brown.
Her specialty is cinnamon rolls, which sell out most days. All of her baked goods are made from scratch, and sometimes she adds bits of cheesecake or pecans to her cinnamon rolls to enhance the flavor. Brown uses organic flour, butter, sugar and eggs to make all of her food. “There’s no filler or additives in my foods, just basics,” she said. “If your great-grandmother didn’t cook with it, neither do I.”
Brown has always loved baking. In high school and college, she sold her homemade cookies and cookie dough to make money. “I would bake cookies and go through the dorms and be like, $1 cookies!” Brown said. Before she opened the food truck, she was volunteering her baking skills to keep up the quality of her work up. She would bake birthday cakes for families who didn’t have the means and baked goods for fundraisers.
A Broken Angel
Richard Hull, co-owner and chef of A Broken Angel, is one of the few food truck owners in town who specialize in vegan meals. “I’ve always loved brunch,” said Hull. “I’ve opened 12 restaurants in Oklahoma and two of mine were based around brunch.”
After moving to Bend from Oklahoma, Hull decided to start cooking without any animal products. “I think what we’re trying to do is educate people on how to feed themselves in a more humane, sustainable way,” said Hull. “And it’s very easy, it’s just getting out of that rut that you’ve gotta have those main things.”
When creating breakfast and brunch items, the lack of milk, eggs and bacon forces a chef to be creative in their menu.
“I think when you use animal products, you’re actually limiting yourself,” Hull said. “Most people, they’re just caught up in that eggs, bacon, sausage routine; they don’t really step out and think about other things.”
Some of Hull’s offerings include the big country, the Mt. Bachelor hash and griddle cakes. The dishes range from $5 to $8.
The top seller is the big country, which combines biscuits and wild mushroom gravy with the house scramble.
“I watched my gran. I started cooking with him in his kitchen at 4 years old, making biscuits, making gravy,” Hull said. “They’re just classic; it’s southern comfort, biscuits and gravy.”
The scramble is a combination of organic tofu, crimini mushrooms, roasted chilies, squash, caramelized onions and braised greens, seasoned with toasted curry powder and smoked paprika. “The toasted curry and smoked paprika give it that color, but a little bit of a smell factor that you get before you eat it,” said Hull.
The Mt. Bachelor hash is a roasted chili potato hash with wild mushroom gravy, braised greens, smoked turtle beans and avocado, accompanied by grilled corn tortillas.
“People are so in that zone where you have to have eggs to make things rise,” said Hull. “Really it just comes down to working with ingredients.”
The griddle cakes are vegan pancakes, made with flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla and almond milk, and topped with bananas, peanut butter and blueberry syrup.
“It’s hard to find delicious vegan pancakes by a chef who specializes in vegan food, and made at an all vegan facility,” said Barbara Troyer, co-owner of A Broken Angel. “So this is a special treat for many people.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0351, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original stated Scoutpost routinely served breakfast food. The food truck serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The Bulletin regrets the error.)