Too Many New Favorites

Just a Glimpse

It’s happened again. Portland exploded with a ton of new, fun eateries and drinkaries and I kept my opinions about them off the blog until now. Need more ideas on where to go and what’s hot right now? Do read on!

Cafe Nell
1987 NW Kearney
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 295-6487

I felt like I was in Paris when I was in Cafe Nell. No, I’ve never actually been to Paris, but that’s not the point. It feels uber cosmopolitan up in there and I love it. The glossy black trim along the windows; the densely packed trees alongside the high apartment buildings; the little champagne ice buckets next to each table not to mention the menu reading like something out of Vogue’s food section. Grapefruit brulee, homemade eclairs, Bloody Mary oyster shooters – small, simple, curated.

We tried something I’ve never seen on any menu before – deviled eggs and rice. Weird, ehh? It was lovely though. Brown rice along side deviled eggs spiked with blended avocado and garnished with a generous portion of diced tomatoes. It looked artistic and if you want something out of the ordinary but still not a gut bomb, this plate is a perfect option.

Cute chair, isn't it

Heart Coffee and Roasters
2211 E. Burnside
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 206-6602

This place is gorgeous. There’s definitely a strong trend of Portland coffee shops doing the simplistic minimalist interior design, but Heart is one of my favorites, no question. They’ve added an old-school classroom mix to it, which is just adorable. They roast their own coffee and it’s divine. They drip coffee and, of course, have the extra-fancy option of using the siphon brewer too if you wish. Another HUGE point to them for not only using Random Order as their pastry vendor, but have ample amounts of blueberry muffins in stock. God, I love that muffin. Oh, and for you homemade Oreo fans, yep, they sell them here too.

Lovejoy Bakers
939 NW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 208-3113

Heaven. This place is no short of it. Seriously, if someone were to say to me, Catherine, design the perfect place, Lovejoy Bakers would be it. Fantastic baked delights of all kinds, delicious coffee, gorgeous space that never gets too loud, ample outlets should you wish to laptop it… oh, the joys go on and on.

Perfection has been made

I’ve been a few times and the first time I had to jump on the almond croissant. Croissants in general are a little tough to find in this town, thank goodness, and good croissants are even more rare. For the record, I’d also give croissant props to Grand Central and maybe Petite Provence. Grand Central’s almond croissants are right up there against Lovejoy Baker if you ask me. They’re consistently flaky, packed full of rich almond paste, crunchy on the outside yet moist and velvety on the inside, but I would add that Lovejoy’s version is just a tad lighter than Grand Central’s.

Enough about them croissants … everything else I’ve had there is equally as exquisite. The beet salad and egg sandwich just couldn’t get any more perfect.

little t american baker
2600 SE Division
Portland, OR 97202

(503) 238-3458

Pretty white and yummy

They make a baked anise-orange doughnut that melts in your mouth. Pair it with a cup of their Stumptown joe and you’ll be closing your eyes, shutting off the outside world in a meditative state of bliss. I haven’t been back since the doughnut experience but I keep hearing excellent things about the place and lord knows their cookies had me glued to the glass.

Yakuza (ode to their burger)
5411 NE 30th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 450-0893

I don’t do burgers much. So when I do, it’s gotta blow my mouth off. Yakuza‘s Kobe beef burger does not disappoint. It’s been super hyped (Portland Monthly’s Best Burger cover story last year comes to mind) and it’s refreshing and reassuring when it all lives up to it. The savory patty coupled with the layer of luxurious Chevre is such a stellar flavor combination. The brioche-like bun holds it all together in a convenient pocket of happiness. It’s just so sad when it’s all over.

Meet the Mexican Sammy

El Nutri-Taco
1904-B NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 473-8447

Oh, the taco cart. So many in this town to try… well, put this one at the top. It’s classic roach-coach cheap fare, but I had the delight of trying my first torta here. A Mexican sandwich? Great, as if I need to fall in love with yet another sandwich product, but it’s happened. I had the tofu variety and the thick, dense savory cubes of tofu piled high with Earth Balance butter, vegan cheese, beans, Vegenaise, jalapenos, avocado, grilled onions and lettuce. The bread deserves raves too. It’s a slightly sweet, pillow that’s the size of a giant softball.

Barista II
1725 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211

Billy, the man himself, Wilson has done it again. Barista II is stunning. No short of a relaxing French-inspired speakeasy with the best coffee options this town has to offer. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for Portland Food and Drink, so I’m going to stop from repeating myself. If you give a half ass about the coffee scene in this town, you need to go there – but really, you probably knew that already.

... topped with a fried egg

Tasty N Sons
3808 N Williams Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

People are getting obsessed with this place. For great reason – it’s a perfect storm. Here’s why: 1) the food’s amazing 2) it’s affordable 3) the menu’s huge so you wanna go back to try everything on it 4) it’s open EVERYDAY! Whoa. That really works for Portland’s breakfast crowds.

Ok, so the food, right, it’s incredible. Just like at the brother restaurant, Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons pay meticulous attention to detail. No egg is passed through without inspection from the head kitchen chef. And I promise you, they pass through a ton of eggs. It’s a little obscene if you ask me. I know it’s a brunch place and all, but really, I’d like to tell them, it’s okay to have tapas without them. Anyway, the frittata is awesome – packed full of nettles, asparagus and hunks of feta. That biscuit sandwich? Yeah, any biscuit with fried chicken involved pretty much takes it for me. Their version, of course, comes with a fried egg and cheese. And I just love the radicchio salad. Super fresh leaves, doused just right with their Parmesan vinaigrette. Props to them using Ristretto coffee too. It was an obvious fit. They are just next door but it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve opted for pre-brunch coffee, if I knew the kind the restaurant had was gross. Not an issue here.

See, windows, wood, steel

Public Domain Coffee
603 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 243-6374

What a difference good interior design makes. Public Domain Coffee was, and still is, owned by Coffee Bean International, a wholesale coffee roaster that’s been based in Portland for a long time. Prior to Public Domain, the space was a coffee shop under the name, Portland Coffee House – yeah, original. It was gross too… super dirty and the coffee was always sub-par. Wow has it changed.

Public Domain is gorgeous. They’ve taken the minimalist design and have run far with it. Everything is either brushed steel or bleached wood. The windows are giant and they’re really pushing fancy coffee with everything from French press, to pour over to this other kind of coffee option that I’ve never seen before which basically sounds like a slow-pulled Americano. They have cuppings everyday and the few times I’ve been there, they have been packed.

Comments 1

  1. KAB wrote:

    Wow…great list! I’ve only been to about half of these, but I fully intend to get to the rest soon. Really. Thanks for the reminder!

    Posted 01 Jun 2010 at 3:12 pm

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