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May 18th, 2011 WW Culture Staff | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Devour 2011: Bakeries

bakeries-ipl_devour_2011Immortal Pie and Larder - IMAGE: Allison E. Jones

Alder Pastry and Desserts

2448 E Burnside St., 548-0359, alderpastryanddessert.blogspot.com. 9 am-midnight Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-8 pm Sunday.

[FRENCH SWEETS] One of the city’s newest purveyors of sweet treats, Alder Pastry and Desserts, sits somewhere between Pix, Ken’s and Staccato—part bakery, part fancy dessert bar, part gelateria, equally good for a breakfast quiche, sunny-day gelato or late-night cake binge. The eye-catching petits gâteaux are more of an eat-in affair, but when it comes to the all-important weekly pastry shopping, chef Matthew Zack’s (formerly of the Heathman and Walla Walla’s 26 Brix, among others) baked goods are worth taking home by the boxload. The style is French, but the portion sizes are unashamedly American. Anything involving puff pastry is a guaranteed hit; croissants and Danishes are obscenely large, soft and delicately flaky. But the star of the show is Zack’s signature kouign amann—a heart-achingly buttery pastry encased in a crispy shell, topped with a sticky, salty, caramelized glaze. It’s the kind of dish that deserves both a cult following and a health warning. (RB)

Shopping list: Croissants, cookies, kouign amann, pints of housemade gelato.


An Xuyen

5345 SE Foster Road, 788-0866, anxuyenbakery.com. 7 am-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 7 am-3 pm Sunday.

[VIETNAMESE] This tiny bakery sells all sorts of sugary Vietnamese and French desserts (palmiers, cakes, sesame balls, guava cookies, tarts and so on) and bakes all the buns for its next-door neighbor, Foster Burger, but the real draw are the rice-flour mini-baguettes it uses to make banh mi, the delicious Franco-Vietnamese sandwiches that are something of an obsession among WW staffers. The crunchy, slightly sweet loaves are ideal for all sorts of sandwiches, Viet and otherwise—try them for cheesesteak. An Xuyen makes a particularly good Saigon bacon banh mi to go, too. Beware the bored child manning the cash register on weekends, who is not above taunting tolerant customers for entertainment. (BW)

Shopping list: A six-pack each of French loaves and dinner rolls.


Annie’s Donut Shop

3449 NE 72nd Ave., 284-2752. 5 am-10 pm Monday-Friday, 5 am-1 pm Saturday-Sunday.

[DOUGHNUTS] If I crave one thing in Portland, it’s a moist, cakey, nutmeggy glazed applesauce cake doughnut from Annie’s. Two things? Add an Annie’s cinnamon-and-sugar-sprinkled applesauce doughnut to my order. Although it has changed owners, the nondescript shop at the junction of Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Fremont Street hasn’t redecorated for three decades—and, really, why bother? All the goods are front and center in two bakery cases: tangy buttermilk bars, craggy apple and raspberry fritters, cinnamon twists, devil’s food cake rounds and the mysterious “peanut butter but- terfly,” which tastes like a Reese’s peanut butter cup mated with a doughnut. (KC)

Shopping list: All of the above ($6.99 small, $7.99 medium, $9.49 large dozen). Plus two more of those applesauce doughnuts.


Ararat

5716 SE 92nd Ave., 235-5526. 10 am-10 pm daily.

[ARMENIAN] Uprooted from its longtime home at the Burnside Bridgehead two years ago to make way for the Couch Couplet, Portland’s original Armenian bakery, restaurant, dance club and market now resides in a two-story yellow building in sunny Lents. The new digs are bigger and prettier, with plenty of room for the dancers who fill the dining room to suck down Baltika beers and bartender Flavio’s inspired shots, and shake it to the latest in Eastern European house on Friday and Saturday evenings. By day, the bakery turns out the breads, cakes and cookies that fill the baked-goods shelves of every Cyrillic-lettered shop in town, and the store pushes all sorts of pickled, canned and boxed goodies from east of the Oder. (BW)

Shopping list: Pickled okra, Barbari bread, Armenian coffee.


Baker & Spice

6330 SW Capitol Highway, 244-7573, bakerandspicebakery.com. 6 am-6 pm Tuesday-Friday, 7 am-6 pm Saturday,
7 am-3 pm Sunday.

[BEAUTIFUL BREAD] You’ve already tasted Julie Richardson and Matt Kappler’s homey baked goods at farmers markets across the city, but don’t pass up a stop in the pair’s welcoming Hillsdale cafe, which kinda feels like Starbucks with good cookies and a soul. Nibble on a ham-and-Gruyère croissant and a cup of coffee from Portland’s small-batch roasted Zbeanz coffee, grab an apple hand pie ($2.75) to go, or settle in at a table and gobble up a custardy bread pudding ($2.25). You can order full cakes, too. And when you start getting depressed that your shortbread cookies will never, ever taste this buttery good, head a few doors down, to Richardson’s baking equipment shop, Sweetwares, and sign up for a class. (KC)

Shopping list: Shortbread cookies, turkey sandwich and a loaf of olive ciabatta (Saturday only).


Dave’s Killer Bread

5209 SE International Way, 335-9086, daveskillerbread.com. 7:30 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm Saturday, 10 am-5 pm Sunday.

[LAWLESS LOAVES] The story of mustachioed breadman Dave Dahl, an ex-con who traded dealing meth for baking bread after 15 years in the slammer, is part of Oregon mythology. But just as legendary are the burly baker’s breads—nutty, hearty, whole-grain organic loaves that beat the pants off any other sandwich slabs in town—and maybe the universe. Dave’s breads are sold at farmers markets and local grocery stores, but fans can buy loaves on the super-cheap at the company’s yeast-perfumed Milwaukie headquarters and Healthy Bread Store, across the street from Bob’s Red Mill. Day-old loaves are around $3.50, grocery-store returns (three to five days old) in the freezer are only $1.80 to $4. Buy in bulk to make it worth the drive—these killers do great in the deep freeze. (KC)

Shopping list: Dave’s toast-perfect bestseller Good Seed, Peace Bomb mini-baguette, and a discount loaf of spelt grain bread from Nature Bake, Dave’s sister operation.


Delicious Donuts

12 SE Grand Ave., 233-1833. 3 am-noon Monday-Friday, 3 am-10 am Saturday-Sunday.

[DOUGHNUTS] There’s a good reason the trashy Plaid Pantry strip mall near the east end of the Burnside Bridge is swamped with cop cars every morning. That’s when Portland’s finest grab their daily fix of Boun Saribout’s truly perfect doughnuts. “It’s a sketchy corner. Nobody thought we’d make it more than three months in this location,” admits the Laotian native, who opened his shop in 2005 with his bubbly wife, Penny Nguyen. “But the neighborhood kept us alive.” That’s an understatement. Saribout now fries up about 1,000 doughnuts a day, and most of those are usually gone by 10 am. (He makes 200 dozen just for the Bridge Pedal every year). You won’t find off-the-wall or fancy flavors here, just consistently great, crisp, fresh, sugary standards. Much of the shop’s business comes from special orders worker bees pick up from counter-master Nguyen on their way to their downtown offices ($4.95 half dozen, $8.50 baker’s dozen), or boxes of huge “Bad Boy”-size apple fritters and fruity bear claws for the neighborhood construction workers ($7.95 half, $12.50 baker’s dozen). New Seasons Market recently started selling Delicious Donuts, too. (KC)

Shopping list: Crunchy apple fritters, fragrant blueberry doughnuts and the best plain-cake doughnut in the universe. If you want a dozen or more, place your order the day before, unless you enjoy disappointment.


Fleur de Lis

3930 NE Hancock St., 459-4887. 7 am-6 pm Tuesday-Friday, 8 am-3 pm Saturday-Sunday.

[ARTISAN BAKERY] The shell of the old Hollywood Library now houses a vibrant bakery run by Greg Mistell, one of the original owners of Pearl Bakery, and his wife. Mistell is a master baker, and Fleur de Lis turns out some of the best loaves in town (the seed-dusted multigrain and chewy baguettes are WW favorites) and excellent pastries, from sugary palmiers and croissants to rugelach and the best cinnamon-sugar doughnut ever. (BW)

Shopping list: Bread is good and, at $2.50 to $5 a loaf, fairly affordable. But you can’t leave without at least a doughnut.


German Bakery

10534 NE Sandy Blvd., 252-1881, 8 am-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

[GERMAN] Behold, the Königreich of German foods in Portland: equal parts bakery, deli, cafe and grocery. You’ll find everything here, from schnitzel to spaetzle to streusel küchen. Cases of imported beers sit in front of a deli counter showcasing classic wursts across from a short aisle packed with Dr. Oetker’s baking necessities, cake mixes, popular German candies and condiments. And then there are the two glass cases lined with poppy-seed strudels, fat eclairs, chocolate-covered “pig ears,” linzers and so much more. The three young employees were constantly busy when we visited, helping an elderly couple find the right “rye that is lighter, a real European rye” bread, listening to customers reminisce about their last trip to Bavaria and offering a particularly fussy woman thin-but-not-too-thin slices of meat. (NB)

Shopping list: Weiss wurst, quark, Bitburger beer, Milchreis packets, Hanuta.


Grand Central Baking Co.

2249 NW York St., and five other locations, 232- 0575, grandcentralbakery.com. 7 am-4 pm daily.

[BIG BREAD] This Seattle-based chain has become ubiquitous in Portland, its loaves sneaking their way into our grocery stores and its markets slowly working their way into every neighborhood. And we like it. Grand Central offers tasty artisan breads alongside a host of pastries, pies and sandwiches. The setup is Northwest standard—big windows and light woods, menu on a chalkboard and the requisite bearded bakery lads slicing loaves at your behest. Sandwiches, while tasty, are unsurprising and a little pricey at $6.50 to $7.75 à la carte. Don’t forget to grab a pastry on your way out. (BB)

Shopping list: Como, ciabatta, chocolate croissant.


Immortal Pie and Larder

8029 SE Stark St., 971-255-1491, immortalpieandlarder.com. 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday, noon pm-5 pm Sunday.

[PIES GALORE] Immortal Pie and Larder boasts an epic name and pies to match. A darling little shop in the increasingly darling Montavilla neighborhood, you’re welcome to take pies to go or chow down in-house. The roster changes often, sometimes daily, with recent standbys like the mushroom Brie tart and Belgian chicken (chicken cooked in Belgian ale) mixed in with popular experiments like the Guinness beef (yeah, that Guinness) and brown-sugar pineapple tart with Chardonnay glaze. The alcohol emphasis is mirrored in Immortal’s fine selections of wine and beer. This ain’t your neighborhood candy shop. (CM)

Shopping list: Pies. Also Spanish and American wines by the half-bottle, Belgian ales, lots of artisan bitters and other cocktail mixers, European chocolates and plenty of Spanish ingredients—smoked pimentón, chestnut honey and the like.


Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen

1038 SW Stark St., 222-3354,
kennyandzukes.com. 7 am-8 pm Monday–Thursday, 7 am-9 pm Friday, 8 am-9 pm Saturday, 8 am–8 pm Sunday.

[LOX AND BAGELS] The deli counter at Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen is nestled against the eastern wall of the restaurant, hemmed in by bottled root beers and cream sodas, gazing out across the high-ceilinged dining space. The restaurant has garnered local affection for hearty sandwiches and mouthwatering pastrami, and the deli counter provides these meats for home use, alongside a range of delicatessen standards: bagels, bialys, salmon lox, cream cheese with both salmon and scallions, thin slices of salmon (both peppered and unadorned), hamentashen, rugelach, knishes, chopped liver and macaroons. (BB)

Shopping list: Quarter-pound of pastrami to snack on, corned beef, lox cream cheese and a bialy.


Ken’s Artisan Bakery

338 NW 21st Ave., 248-2202, kensartisan.com. 7 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, 8 am-5 pm Sunday.

[PERFECT BREAD] Ken Forkish is a true bread obsessive. After spending his first career in computer networking, he studied for years under master bakers in France and the U.S. before opening this extraordinary Nob Hill neighborhood bakery. His bread has attracted praise from many of Portland’s finest restaurateurs and national media, but at around $4 a loaf, it’s still solidly within the realm of the affordable. The country brown levain can’t be beat, and the pastries are excellent— the croissants, flaky, implausibly buttery and feather-light, are works of art. (BW)

Shopping list: Country blond for sandwiches, a ficelle for the table, and a perfect croissant for here.


Kettleman’s Bagels

2235 SE 11th Ave., 238-8883; 2314 NW Lovejoy St., 295-2314; 845 SW 4th Ave., 445-8188; 2200 NE Broadway, 894-8808; 4704 SW Scholls Ferry Road, 894-8712; kettlemanbagels.com. 6 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, 7 am-5 pm Sunday. 4th Ave: 6 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-4 pm Saturday, 9 am-3 pm Sunday.

[BAGELS] There was a time, not that long ago, when the unstoppable flood of bliss-seeking New Yorkers crowding our coffee shops and vintage clothing stores had one constant complaint: “Portland’s great,” they’d say, “but I can’t find a decent slice of pizza or a real bagel.” They’re still bitching about the pizza, but thanks to former Long Islander Jeffrey Wang, who now vends boiled bagels and bialys from three bakeries across the city, no longer about the bagels. Here at WW, the staff subsists on little else. (BW)

Shopping list: Four sesame, four poppy-seed, four salt, one bialy.


King’s Bakery

2346 SE 82nd Ave., 772-0955. 8 am-8 pm daily.

[CHINESE] The largest of the three Chinese bakeries near the intersection of Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street, King’s is an oil-scented wonderland of cakes, shiny breads and mysterious packages wrapped in banana leaves. The grumpy women behind the counter aren’t much help at explaining what’s available, so just grab whatever looks fresh. (BW)

Shopping list: Curry beef bun, steamed veggie bao.


La Espiga Dorada

18350 SW Tualatin Valley Highway, Beaverton, 591-9859. 7 am-9 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-9 pm Saturday, 9 am-8 pm Sunday.

[MEXICAN] The smell—yeasty, sugary, browned-crust wafts of happiness—hits you before you ever see this tiny, spartan panaderia’s big bakery case and tall racks of breads and treats, all baked on-site. Grab a tray and a pair of tongs and start filling up on pan dulce, fruit-stuffed empanadas, flaky, buttery, croissantish sugar bombs and La Espiga’s shockingly good macaroons—they are dense, sticky coconut crack-balls. When you’re done, turn 180 degrees and legitimize your sugar fiending by snatching random goods from the fridge case full of sopes, eggs, crema and other chilled staples. (KC)

Shopping list: Macaroons, pan dulce, brightly decorated kids’ birthday cakes big enough to feed the whole neighborhood, Squirt in a glass bottle (!).


Lanvin French Bakery

8211 NE Brazee St., 252-0155. 7 am-6 pm daily.

[FRENCH, VIETNAMESE] Having grown up in French-occupied Saigon, this closet-sized bakery’s owner and his family realized after moving to the U.S. that they missed the French bread and pastries of South Vietnam. So they decided to make their own. Soft raisin bread, fat croissants, éclairs and the owner’s self-conceived “cinnamon sticks”—thin, fried dough sticks covered in cinnamon sugar—are a few of the happy consequences. (NB)

Shopping list: Banh mi sandwich, choux creams, pâté chaud.


Little T American Baker

2600 SE Division St., 238-3458, littletbaker.com. 7 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday, 8 am-2 pm Sunday.

[YANKEE INGENUITY] Little T must be approached from the rear left. Unlike the bread-filled baskets, warm colors and Francophilic stylings of Portland’s other artisan bakeries, the curiously neomodern design of baker Tim Healea’s store places all the bread on display in a stark window cavity in the building’s left-hand window, like some sort of conceptual public art installation. The result—rustic brown loaves almost glowing from inside a plain glass tank—is quite striking from the outside. But inside, it’s a pain in the ass, as you dislocate your neck to take a gander at the day’s offerings. It’s worth the extra effort. Healea’s gloriously crusty breads are some of the best in town, and certainly the most interesting. The sourdough house loaf made with beer and rye flour; the addictive, baguette-shaped pretzel bread; and the ciabatta rolls made with seven-grain cereal and carrot all thumb their nose at tradition, as if to sneer, “This is not your frou-frou French boulangerie. This is A-merican baking!” Fuck yeah. (RB)

Shopping list: “Long skinny” baguettes, focaccialike “slab” breads, pastries.


Lovejoy Bakers

939 NW 10th Ave., 208-3113, lovejoybakers.com. 6 am-6 daily.

[AIRY TREATS] Lovejoy Bakers is a partnership between head baker Dan Griffin (formerly of Pearl Bakery) and the owners of Pizzicato Pizza. The space, just off Jamison Square, offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere: Pastry labels are attached to forks, the chalkboard walls are inscribed with quotes by M.F.K. Fisher and James Beard, and pallets stacked with bags of flour stand near the door. Griffin is one of the best bakers in town, and his breads and pastries are consistently well-crafted and delicious. The bakery also offers a mouthwatering list of sandwiches, soups and salads, as well as discounted day-old bags of pastries. (MHW)

Shopping list: Rye loaf with caraway seeds, hazelnut-orange Danish, buttermilk or vegan scones, grilled cheese sandwich.


Marsee Baking Outlet

9100 N Vancouver Ave., 295-4000, marseebaking.com. 7 am-3 pm Monday-Friday.

[BULK BAKED GOODS] You may have been to Marsee Baking’s Sellwood location, or bought its loaves at New Seasons, but this northern gem is a dream come true. Here, in that nebulous land where Portland meets Washington and the thoroughbreds circle the tracks of the Meadows, the local baking outfit sells excess from each morning’s wholesale orders at wholesale prices: muffins and full artisan loaves at $3, take-and-bake breads from $1.50, assorted croissants for $5. There’s Stumptown coffee on drip and cakes and tortes in the fridge—and around closing time, pastries are two-for-one. (CM)

Shopping list: Marionberry empanadas, pecan sticky buns, olive pugliese loaves, take-and-bake baguettes.


New Cascadia Traditional 

1700 SE 6th Ave., 546-4901, newcascadiatraditional.com. 7:30-5 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-4 pm Saturday.

[GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY] If you’re one of those lucky individuals who can eat bread to their heart’s content, this bakery isn’t for you. However, if you suffer from celiac disease or have adopted a gluten-free diet, New Cascadia is dedicated to sating your carb cravings with gluten-free sandwiches, sweets and pizzas. Most treats are helpfully labeled with their ingredients in case you have other allergies or prefer to avoid dairy or eggs. Judging by the crowds, New Cascadia has found quite a following since opening less than two years ago, so get there early in the day to have a variety of sweets to choose from. Have a sandwich made to order from 11 am to 3 pm, or take home the popular teff bread to make your own. (MHW)

Shopping list: Vegan, gluten-free chocolate cupcakes, Multnomah Granola, challah (Fridays only), pizza crust.


Nuvrei Pastries

404 NW 10th Ave., lower level, 546-3032, nuvrei.com. 7 am-1 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-3 pm Saturday.

[COOKIES!] Let your nose lead you to Marius Pop’s subterranean shoebox of a bakery in the Pearl. The pastry man, who runs a successful wholesale bakery and cake biz (place orders at order@nuvrei.com), offers only a dozen or so treats at a time at his tiny retail counter, but each is worth its weight in gold...or butter. (KC)

Shopping list: Lemon poppy-seed scones, coconut pineapple brioche, porno-moan-inducing brownie cookies.


Pearl Bakery

102 NW 9th Ave., 827-0910, pearlbakery.com. 6:30 am–5:30 pm Monday–Friday, 7 am–5 pm Saturday,
8 am-3 pm Sunday.

[BEAUTIFUL BATARDS] After 13 years in the business, Pearl Bakery is still one of the best places in Portland to pick up a crisp baguette or light, chewy ciabatta loaf to take to a dinner party. More bite-sized offerings, like the pecan-rosemary or chocolate panini, make for a perfect snack on the way home. Sweet-tooth craving? The dense chocolate bouchon or cinnamon crown will be utterly satisfying. As befits a bakery that makes regular appearances at the Saturday Portland Farmers Market, Pearl rotates its sandwich options and Danish fillings based on what’s in season. (MHW)

Shopping list: Orange-and-anise gibassier, Sicilian fig cookies, green olive levain loaf, burger buns.

 
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