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Monday, Jun. 07, 2010

10 Great Northwest Wine Country breakfasts

A full day of wine touring can go astray in a hurry if you don't begin with a hearty breakfast. Here are 10 of our favorite starting points in Northwest wine country.

Olive Marketplace & Cafe

Tom Maccarone and Jake Crenshaw of T. Maccarone's bistro in Walla Walla took over Merchants Ltd. earlier this year, moving into a venerable place on Main Street. It's open for breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. and provides the same subdued and serene atmosphere Merchants offered for more than 30 years.

21 E. Main St., Walla Walla, WA 99362, 509-526-0200, tmaccarones.com

The Orchard House

This young Snake River Valley diner provides an ideal base coat for a day of wine touring. Choices include beignets, Swedish pancakes, breakfast burrito or migas - a Tex-Mex egg dish. Within three minutes, you can be on the doorstep of a winery.

14949 Sunnyslope Road, Caldwell, ID 83607, 208-459-8200, theorchardhouse.us.

Tomaselli's Pastry Mill & Cafe

Per capita, Elkton - population 200 yet with a handful of quality wineries - ranks as the Northwest's best hub for wine touring, especially with Tomaselli's in town for 30 years. It opens across the street from Brandborg Winery at 6 a.m. and offers more than a dozen egg dishes that span themes of Mexican, Greek and Italian and feature polenta or eggplant. Don't be in a rush.

14836 Umpqua Highway, Elkton, OR 97436, 541-584-2855, tomasellispastrymill.com

Red Fox Bakery

Just around the corner from the McMennamin-owned Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville, the Red Fox Bakery is a great starting point for exploring the northern Willamette Valley. The focus is on baked goods and coffee, and there isn't much room for a leisurely breakfast, so this is a great option if you are in a bit of a hurry.

328 N.E. Evans St., McMinnville, OR 97128, 503-434-5098, redfoxbakery.net.

Dolce Deli & Catering

It can be a bit difficult to understand Jörg Hoffmeister's English, but the pastries and smoked meats he and wife Annina create are delectable. Morning offerings include scrambled egg croissant and fair trade espresso. On weekends, there's smoked salmon eggs benedict.

8710 Main St., Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0, 250-495-6807, dolcideli.com.

Bon Vino's Bistro & Bakery

Crepes are a speciality at this morning stop for Yakima Valley winemakers, who use the drive-thru for scones and pastries during crush. Executive chef Roger Hazzard also stages winemaker dinners.

122 N. 16th St., Sunnyside, WA 98944, 509-837-3936, bonvinosbistro.com.

Colophon Cafe

In the funky Fairhaven district of Bellingham, Wash., the Colophone Cafe has provided great food for a quarter-century. The restaurant overlooks a grass commons area, and there is outdoor seating on those glorious sunny days in Whatcom County. The breakfast menu regularly includes a choice of quiches, bagels, croissants and baked goods.

1208 11th St., Bellingham, WA 98225, 360-647-0092, colophoncafe.com.

Blueberry Hills

The emerging Lake Chelan wine region is a great weekend destination, and the perfect place to start a day of touring is Blueberry Hills Farm in Manson on the north shore. The country-style restaurant looks over eight acres of berries. Breakfasts are hearty, to say the least, boasting "the best Eggs Benedict known to mankind."

1315 Washington St., Manson, WA 98831, 509-687-2379, wildaboutberries.com.

Good Earth Coffeehouse

If you are in the central Okanagan Valley, Good Earth is a perfect jumping-off point for wine touring. The focus is on great coffee, but you'll find plenty to eat for breakfast and lunch, too. Fresh-baked goods are the primary offerings in the morning, with sandwiches and soups available for lunch.

102-2949 Pandosy St., Kelowna, BC V1Y 1W1, 250-448-7768, goodearthcafes.com.

Barking Frog

Directly across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle - and sharing a parking lot with The Herbfarm and Willows Lodge - is the Barking Frog, a restaurant best known for its superb dinners but also a hot spot for breakfast. If you plan to tackle the fast-growing Woodinville wine scene, you'll want to start here. A full menu ranges from fruit plates to hearty omelettes.

14582 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, WA 98072, 425-424-2999, willowslodge.com.