Best of Portland's Eccentric Cafes
what Oregonians know - there's nothing like a hot cup and a good
cafes are a symbol of the good life, then Portlanders must know
how to live. Coffee shops of one type of another seem to occupy
nearly every corner in town. Whether mom-and-pop owned or one of
the big chains, each java joint offers customers a place to relax,
enjoy a book or chat with friends while they sip their favorite
mixture of espresso and milk.
while any opportunity to sit back and savor a good cup of Joe is
always a welcome experience, some of the city's most eccentric cafes
serve up more than just what is expected.
Start your tour of cafes with the best early morning spot for coffee,
conversation and croissants: St. Honore Boulangerie at NW 23rd Place
and Thurman Avenue. Just like a bakery in France, this locale is
the center of village life, with that "village" being the trendy,
are served, as in France, in white porcelain bistro cups, with paper
cups only provided if requested. Take a seat at one of the high
stools at the counter in front of the huge stone oven and watch
bakers form baguettes by hand, and then slide them in to bake.
a question? Go ahead and ask the experts - the bakers here welcome
the opportunity to discuss their passion with the customers. The
attractive cafe space is fringed with geraniums outside and filled
with butter-scented warmth inside.
at Powell's City of Books
Make your way through the Pearl District to Powell's City of Books
at 1005 W. Burnside, one of the largest independent bookstores in
the country. (Free parking for Powell's customers is available in
a lot on NW 10th Avenue between Burnside and Couch St.)
inside, follow the maps to find the coolest bookstore cafe in town.
On your way, pick up a few titles that catch your eye so you have
something to read while you sip your brewed elixir of choice.
you like a book, buy it. If not, try another - no pressure here!
Another bonus: This cafe is run by Portland's own World Cup Coffee
& Tea, a local roaster that prides itself on offering grinds grown
according to sustainable farming standards.
for days when you are resigned to being an armchair
traveler, flat screen televisions pipe in images of
far off lands at Costello's Travel Caffe.
Next make your way across the river to Costello's Travel Caffe at
2222 NE Broadway. This fresh coffeehouse concept will have you recalling
that afternoon years ago in … hmm … where was that now - Paris, Vienna,
Glasgow, Buenos Aries? While the warm decor and international knickknacks
create that an old-world feeling, two flat screen televisions definitely
let you know you are someplace completely new.
video images of some of the most intriguing destinations around
the globe, the screens provide windows to the world to inspire your
daydreams. Sunday soccer match viewings, international film nights
and foreign language conversation evenings sponsored by Costello's
provide further access to cultures beyond our own.
Pied Cow Coffeehouse
If your stay in Portland is blessed with beautiful weather, cross
East Burnside to the south and visit to the Pied Cow at 3244 SE
Belmont Ave. Located in the hippie-holdover Southeast neighborhood,
the cafe is run out of a beautiful old Victorian home.
sunny days, the side yard is transformed into a Bohemian open-air
living room, with lights strung through the trees, oriental rugs
strewn about the grass and mismatched vintage chairs and tables
forming the seating arrangements.
menu includes teas, coffee and devilishly delicious desserts, as
well as wine and beer, and even bubbler pipes. Just in case you
are wondering, the pipes are only for legal stuff!
If an afternoon mocha is your idea of good coffee, come back across
town to the Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe at 526 NW 23rd Ave. Choose
from the menu of flavored mochas or, forget the coffee altogether
and select a gourmet hot cocoa.
sure to indulge in some of Moonstruck's incredibly elegant and sinfully
delicious bonbons. Filled with fruit and liqueurs, many of which
are produced locally, these confections are to die for. If deciding
on just one or two of the luscious chocolates is too difficult,
ask for a sampler of truffles to go. The included pamphlet describes
the ingredients in each in detail.
23rd Sidewalk Cafes
There are those who like to drink coffee, and those who like to
be seen drinking coffee. For the town's best people watching, continue
down 23rd Avenue. In the few blocks between NW Hoyt and NW Kearny,
you'll pass several of the city's most popular sidewalk cafes, each
of which attracts its own type of loyal customer.
Coffee People, the tattooed and pierced set come for the
promise of "No Back Talk" and turbo-charged triple espressos. At
Starbucks, well-healed motorcyclists come to park their rides
in an impressive row and compare biker notes as they sip their au
laits. At Torrefazione, a handsome Euro-crowd comes for the
perfectly poured cappuccinos served in Italian ceramics. Outdoor
tables at several restaurants along the way supply even more faces
and fashions to study as your stroll the avenue.
a long day of touring, why not choose a table, settle back, and
enjoy the promenade. And since most of the establishments are open
into the late evening hours, you can while away the rest of the
day watching the parade of interesting individuals go by.If
You Still Have Time
For a change of pace, instead of your usual espresso drink, why
not try a cup of tea? The Tao of Tea, at 3430 SE Belmont Ave.,
has an incredible selection of the finest, handmade teas from around
the world. Servers at this teahouse are deeply passionate about their
brews. They will gladly explain and demonstrate the traditional ceremony
that accompanies drinking each of the teas on their extensive menu.