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Friday, April 28, 2017

My Coffee Tour of Portland - Part 2

My quest continues for some of the best cups of coffee in Portland. Luckily, there isn't a shorted of coffee shops in the city, but it does seem to be a trick to find great ones. I am relying on suggestions from friends, family, Portland Monthly and reviews I see on Google. So far so good.  

Portland coffee tour

If nothing else, I'm having a fun time "working". How can you possibly be sad when part of your job is drinking coffee and eating pastries? Last month I brought you four fabulous coffee shops and this month I have three more for you (as I was in Las Vegas for most of a week early on and have been crazy busy with reviews and other work for the rest of the month).  

Cup and Bar

On a previous post on Instagram for my coffee tour, a follower kindly suggested several shops I should try, including the Cup and Bar. She said I should order the Dirty Charlie, so who am I to say no  to a fellow coffee fan's suggestion? I dragged my mom to this shop in NE Portland on our way to a hair appointment. I was surprised to find they had a shared parking lot and didn't have to circle the block to find a spot. The shop is warm and full of wood. I felt welcomed and was able to share a table with some nice other Portlanders. I ordered a Dirty Charlie, which is a messy little drink that is not available to go. It's a shot of espresso with a milk foam on top and 100% chocolate shaved on top of that. You also get a little square of chocolate on the side. It was a perfect little bitter and sweet drink. 

We ordered a Ranger cookie, a healthy-ish soft cookie that has a muffin texture and sort of tastes like a granola bar, as it has oats, nuts and other yummy ingredients. I got a maple brown sugar scone to go with my coffee and it had a lovely flaky texture with a slightly sweet topping from the sugar. The three items came to $11.25 ($4.25 for my coffee, $3 for the cookie and $4 for the scone. I found that pretty reasonable.) I was happy with all of my choices and hope I can return soon. I'd love to try the Cortado, the drinking chocolate flight, and any of the "sandwiches". They also have a chocolate tasting and tour. 

Upper Left Roasters

I've been following Upper Left Roasters on social media for a while now, and their clean, minimalist style draws me in. Well, I was finally over in the neighborhood and could get over there, so I walked a few blocks out of my way to sit down for a cuppa. We had already eaten breakfast, so it was bit of a coffee break and snack. I ordered the Chai Tea Latte and a croissant and Eric asked for something "Instagram-worthy" and got a mocha and added a chocolate chip cookie. 

I'm pretty sure their baked goods come from Little t Bakery, but they do make their own sandwiches and toasts (though the bread comes from Little t as well). Everything looked pretty good, but I wasn't hungry enough to try it, and I was there for the coffee anyway. You get what you pay for and your cup is full to the brim. It makes a pretty picture, though it's a bit hard to carry back to your table. I'll never be sad that my cup is too full though. Unfortunately, I feel like my latte was a bit weak, and it wasn't the hottest, but it was good. Eric's mocha was strong and flavorful, so maybe the chai watered mine down some. I liked it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again based on my one cup. The cookie and croissant were fresh and delicious though, and I'd make the trip over there to sample some of their food if I was in the area again.

I love the wood and the location in SE Portland, plus their chairs are both comfortable and fun to look at with their geometric patterns. Pricing was pretty good, as my drink was $4 and Eric's was $4.50 (the croissant was $3.25 and the cookie was $2). Our total was just $13.75, which I felt was a decent deal for what we ordered. 

Oui Presse

It's funny how you can find new places near you just by scrolling through Instagram. I don't go over to SE Portland often, but when I do, I try to find different places to eat (it's definitely not in short supply over there). My mom and I were over in the neighborhood, sort of, so we ate at a place I'd been wanting to try for breakfast and then walked four blocks to Oui Presse. The shop front is adorable and the inside even more so. It has the feel of a little French cafe, that also sells magazines. Yup, that's a thing.

I went in to check the menu and ask for their specialty. I saw the pistachio cake on the menu and knew I had to try that. They suggested I try the Café Crème, so I did. They also sell a lot of  mochas, but I can get one of those anywhere. The Café Crème is a double shot of espresso, with a splash of hot water and steamed heavy cream. It gives it a more robust, deep flavor that I loved. I haven't had some a good cup of coffee since I was in France, so I'm saying that my $3.50 was more than well spent and I'll absolutely go back for that. 

Now, about that pistachio cake. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I know I thought it was going to be green. I looooove pistachios, so how could it go wrong, even if it was fluorescent green? Well, as you can see above, it was not. It looked much like a hummingbird cake (for those of you on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen about 938374749309 pictures of them. The texture is like a carrot cake, with creamy frosting and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. At $5, I wondered if it was going to be worth it. As it was, I had just eaten, so I had to bring it home with me. And oh my! I could see sitting at a table at Oui Presse with a lovely cuppa and sharing a slice of this with my special someone. I could eat it for breakfast. My two items came to just $8.50, which would have been even cheaper if I split my cake with another person.

For those of you who need something less desserty for the morning, Oui Presse has amazing looking open-faced sandwiches, which appear to be all the rage with coffee houses now...or maybe that's just Portland. Either way, I'm not adverse to grabbing a fork and knife and ordering one the next time I'm in. 

So, that's my round-up for April. Stay tuned for more next month, and if you want more pics or to see what I'm up to at the moment, follow me on Instagram

Do you have a favorite coffee shop in Portland or where you live? Tell me about it!

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