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Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Portland Coffee Tour - Part 13

Hey! It's that time again and it also means April has come and is almost gone. I don't know who the days just seem to fly by, but there it is. That just means it's that much closer to Summer. Woo! We had a whole week of warm weather here in Portland and now we're back to the 50s and rainy. Joy. 

Just because I didn't make a post for my coffee tour in March doesn't mean my life was coffee-less. I just tended to hit up the Dutch Bros drive-thru, grabbed a cup at Starbucks, or made my own at home, because I didn't have time to get out and enjoy a leisurely cup in a dedicated shop. Anyway, let's look at the first 3 coffee shops I hit up this month (because I had to make up for my slacking last month).

Oracle Coffee Co.

I've been meaning to get out to Oracle for quite some time, and I had a nice Sunday morning where I just drove out to the waterfront to try them out. I found them on Instagram, like I find a lot of shops near me, and I was not disappointed. This well-lit and welcoming shop serves up drinks made with oatmilk and mostly vegan treats. This was the first time I have ever had oatmilk and I am in love with it. The shop is dog-friendly, and I saw several patrons come and go with their pups, since this is in the middle of a neighborhood.

After some discussion, I settled on the Flapjack Latte ($5) and an onion Bowery Bagels bagel with Tofutti cream "cheese" ($3.50). This is also the first time I've tried Tofutti, but I was pleasantly surprised by how like cream cheese it was. My bagel was delicious, despite my thinking that I didn't get enough spread. It was the perfect amount. My latte had a delicate maple flavor and the oatmilk made it less acidic, in my opinion. I greatly enjoyed the flavor combo and the nice smooth coffee they pulled for me. 

Since Eric didn't come with me, I decided to grab a treat for him, so sorry that you get a weird inside-the-bag shot here. This is what they call a Phillycake ($3.50). It's homemade by Shoofly Vegan Bakery and is, essentially, a yellow cake, topped with peanut butter, and then coated in chocolate. It was not what I expected, but the bite I had was really yummy and definitely worth the price. It can be hard to find great vegan food, albeit, not in Portland, so this shop is definitely a gem with reasonable prices in that regard. I can't wait to go back and try something else.

Palio Dessert & Espresso House

I wanted to love this place, but it took me too long to find it, even with GPS, and then I wasn't impressed once I got there. Perhaps I made the wrong choices, since a friend raved about their desserts and their giant coffees. She DID just get a drip coffee, so maybe that's it. The shop is adorable though and has a cute little European feel.

Palio has different rooms and little cozy corners. I especially love the little reading nook and the employee was super nice. I ordered the special, which was a Vanilla Rose Tea Latte ($5.75) and a salted caramel cupcake ($3.50) that I didn't have heated up, which may have been a mistake.

My latte was ginormous! Like, the size of my head. It was beautiful, to be sure, with the tea bag settled on the side. Even with no coffee in it (another mistake of mine), it didn't have much of a flavor. It sort of tasted like a vaguely flowery marshmallow, but not a good marshmallow. I made it 2/3 of the way through before I just gave up. The cupcake was good, but was super dense and beside the top, wasn't the most enjoyable. I'm not sure I would have liked it more heated up. It had the consistency of a brownie, but on the plus side, it was too sweet, so there's that. I'd be willing to try again and order different items from the menu, but it's not on the top of my list.

Cellar Door Coffee Roasters

Not too far away from Palio, I found Cellar Door (Google maps is the best sometimes). I went there second, because I knew they had actual food and figured that would be better after sweets than before. You could tell this is a staple of the community based on the outside and I was excited to go in.

I asked for a recommendation and the barista said he prefers a cappuccino, because it has a bolder coffee flavor. After Palio, this sounded perfect, so I ordered a cap with regular milk ($3) and a plain Black Heart bagel with cream cheese ($2.50). Not only did they spread the cream cheese for me, but they gave me twice as much as most other places for cheaper. It was the best. I was also shocked by the low prices, as it turned out to be about 40% less than what I had just paid. 

The barista was not incorrect recommending the cappuccino to me. It was delicious and perfectly made and so, so tasty. I already plan to return when I can, because YUM.

Cellar Door isn't large, but the shop is welcoming and the employees are wonderful. You can tell they enjoy what they do and engaging with customers. The shop has local artwork up on the walls and they offer up few, but tasty food options. They also roast their beans onsite in the basement, which is where the name comes from. This coffee gem should absolutely be on your list if you're anywhere near them in Portland.

I'll save my next three shops for my next post, but you can see all my coffee stops in real time (and see my opinion and ask questions) by following me on Instagram. Where are your favorite coffee shops located?

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