Thursday, October 6, 2011

Portland(ia) Part 4 - Downtown/Pearl District

Portland's downtown and Pearl District were some of our favourite locals. The former houses Powell's Books and great restaurants, while the latter is home to great cafés, shops and breweries. Short blocks make it incredibly easy to walk, and central Portland always seemed busy. No wonder food carts, cafés and restaurants are so successful here.

Cacao Drink Chocolate (414 SW 13th Street) - Some of you may already know that I'm co-managing Kerstin's Chocolates while Kerstin is away for the next eight months or so. That meant some extra "research" was in order. On a day where the temperature was up in the 30s, I still couldn't resist a drinking chocolate flight; the cinnamon was easily my favourite. I also picked up bars from American chocolatiers I was anxious to check out, including Rogue, Xocolatl de David, Potomac, Shagún, Cocanú and The Mast Brothers. In short, the shop is beautiful and their chocolate selection is amazing. Don't miss it.

Food carts on Alder between 9th and 11th, and at 5th and Stark.

Clyde Common (1014 SW Stark Street) - I couldn't wait to head to Clyde Common, another spot found via the Chow Tour of Portland. Although it was lunch, I couldn't leave without trying one of their barrel aged cocktails; I ended up with a smooth, lovely Negroni. Their grilled cheese sandwich with bacon was excellent, but the real star was Charles' all spice braised chicken sandwich with sour pickles. It was easily the best sandwich either of us had ever tried.

Grüner (527 SW 12 Avenue) - An evening meal on Grüner's 'patio' (aka. the sidewalk) ending up being one of our most tasty and aesthetically pleasing in Portland. While I didn't care for the tarte flambée (Charles loved it though), the croquettes stuffed with creamy raclette cheese and the grilled trout with sweet corn and bacon were amazing. The radish salad was a stunner too. To top it off, they had two wonderful chocolate desserts - a milk and dark mousse as well as home made powdered donuts with a rich chocolate sauce to 'dunk'. Everything finished with our bill coming out in the pages of 'Beethoven Studies'.

Coco Donuts (814 SW Yamhill) - After a disappointing trip to Voodoo Doughnut, we ended up bumping into Coco Donuts' downtown location. Charles' old fashioned glazed was lovely, while my glazed buttermilk donut hit the spot perfectly. In short, we would head to Voodoo to take a look next time, but taste wise, Coco Donuts is top of the list.

Pearl Bakery (101 NW 9th Ave.) - The treats at this place served as breakfast a few times throughout our stay in Portland. From crispy baguettes, to wonderful blackberry danishes and savoury, buttery, ham and gruyère croissants, they've got baked goods covered.

Portland Farmers' Market @ Portland State University - We couldn't wait to head to Portland's Saturday Market, with over 200 vendors spread out over the University's quad area. Although it was rainy and cold, we still left with our hands full of California olive oil, Alma Chocolate's toffee and a box of cookies from Two Tarts bakery. Finally, we shared 'The Reggie' from Pine State Biscuits - it was insane.


Isabelle said...

Those chocolate desserts at Gruner look fantastic. And that's great to hear about you at Kerstin's - congrats!

Marianne said...

They were pretty good chocolate desserts. And thanks, Isabelle!