438 NW Broadway, 226-1186, boxernw.com. 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-3 pm Saturday.
[CAFETERIAWARES] Boxer Northwest's main focus is supplying restaurants with large appliances and dishware and cutlery of every kind imaginable. Looking for a giant Hobart mixer or a used industrial-grade deep fryer? You'll find it here. But this easily missed 8,000-square-foot store, near the west end of the Broadway Bridge, also provides plenty of interest for a home cook, and not just because it's fun to gawk at the huge pots and strainers. Because really—if it's an item you'll actually use in the kitchen, you'll find it here. These aren't the cutesy kitchenwares you'll find at other stores; these are the unsung heroes of the kitchen, the workhorse products that can take a serious beating and still perform. If these pots, pans, and utensils can survive a high-school cafeteria operation without serious damage, they're probably more resilient than you. (CB)
Shopping list: Stainless-steel pots and pans, mix-and-match silverware, diner-style condiment dispensers.
The Decorette Shop
5338 SE Foster Road, 774-3760, thedecoretteshop.com. 9 am-5:30 pm Monday-Saturday.
[CAKE GEAR] Did I hear you say you wanted to make chocolates in the shape of a fax machine, telephone or beeper? Well, look no further because the old-school, circa-1973 Decorette Shop has you covered in all business- and pleasure-themed candy molds. The candy and chocolate molds are upstairs and everything else pastry and dessert-wise is downstairs, including pastry tins, cookie cutters, sugar dessert toppers (pink bunnies, white doves), cake-serving stands and more. There's even a doilies section. (LC)
Shopping list: Candy molds, pretty cupcake wrappers, patriotic cookie cutters (Abe Lincoln, George Washington, an eagle and the U.S.A.).
234 SE 12th Ave., 232-8793, fhsteinbart.com. 8:30 am-5:30 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-1 pm Saturday.
[BREWING SUPPLIES] The city's finest wine- and beer-making supplies manufacturer and retailer, in business for almost a century, has been outfitting the DIY boozing set since the ban on home brewing ended in 1978. Anything you might need to ferment one thing into another, better-tasting, alcoholic thing can be purchased here: yeast, hops, tubes, filters, pots, carboys, crushers, bungs and even turbo distilling yeasts. Stock up in anticipation of moonshine decriminalization. (BW)
Shopping list: Five-gallon carboy, oak barrel, red wine yeast, bench corker, triple scale hydrometer.
Hawthorne Cutlery and Gifts
3208 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-8898, hawthornecutlery.com. 11 am-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
[KNIVES] There's a fake bloody hand next to a sword display that reads, "This could happen to you if you touch without asking!" Welcome to Hawthorne Cutlery and Gifts, where you'll find samurai swords next to antique kitchen shears, knife blocks, Microplanes and more chef's knives than you're ever likely to see in one place. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the knife-sharpening dude is in house from 5 to 5:30 pm to sharpen your kitchen steel. Bonus: You get one free knife sharpened on your birthday if you show your ID. Unless you're Lorena Bobbitt. (LC)
Shopping list: Knife sharpening ($5), soft or hard steel chef's knife.
1907 N Kilpatrick Ave., 286-0343, homebrewexchange.net. Noon-7 pm Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday, 10 am-2 pm Sunday.
[BREWING SUPPLIES] Home brewing is not all about barley, though there's plenty of it (and wheat, and malt) to go around at Homebrew Exchange. HBX (as it's known in badass abbreviated form) also caters to domestic vintners, cheesemongers, soda jerks and kombucha nuts. Shelves are stocked with kits, herbs, tools and cleaning supplies; corks and bottlecaps come in bulk, and there are even a few pairs of beer-stein-patterned socks for good measure. HBX offers classes, too, and its website fosters forums and blogs for like-minded brewers. (CM)
Shopping list: Sarsaparilla extract, kombucha starter kit, stainless steel brew pots.
404 NW 23rd Ave., 241-4040; 1520 NE Broadway, 288-1500; 8788 SW Hall Blvd., 643-5491; and other locations; kitchenkaboodle.com. 10 am-7 pm Thursday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
[GADGET OVERLOAD] Since 1975, we've been lucky to have this Portland-born kitchen supply (and then some) store. Like most stores of its kind you'll find the essentials in every department—stand-up mixers, rolling pins, sauté pans, cutting boards—along with nonessentials, such as interlocking corn cob holders and cowhide-decorated cappuccino makers. Most products are useful though, including electric and hand-crank meat grinders, All-Clad cookware and all sorts of gadgets. (LC)
Shopping list: Digital or standard kitchen scale, immersion blender, mortar and pestle.
2355 NW Vaughn St., 222-2181, kobos.com. 6 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-6 pm Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.
[LOTS OF CUPS] Though something of a lone reed in the retail desert of outer Northwest Portland, this locally owned coffee roaster and purveyor of quality kitchenware makes it worth going out of your way. It's one-stop shopping for kitchen basics, plus glassware and coffee, tea and espresso-making equipment. Don't miss the corner devoted to cleaning tools and supplies, and grab a cup to go on your way out. (BW)
Shopping list: Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker, porcelain travel mug, scrub brushes.
8235 SE Stark St. 256-0205, letsbrew.net. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-5 pm Saturday.
[BREWING SUPPLIES] The well-informed staff at Let's Brew can get you started on the addictive path of home brewing. From grains, hops, yeast and malt extracts to three levels of handy kits ranging from basic at $101.91 to ultimate at $221.17, they stock everything you'll need to turn your kitchen into a brewery. Purchasing a kit also gets you a 15 percent discount on your entire purchase that day. If you're too timid to dive in on your own, you can book some time in their brew room. You'll have access to all their equipment and can pick the brains of veteran brewers. Be sure to browse through their list of more than 70 brewing recipes that mimic beers such as Mirror Pond, Newcastle or Kona Longboard Lager. (DC)
Shopping list: Fuggles hops, German roast malt, carboy cleaner.
3926 N Vancouver Ave., 248-0104, livingscape.com. 9 am-6 pm Saturday-Tuesday. 9 am-7 pm Wednesday-Friday.
[GREEN LIVING] This purveyor of all things green, sustainable and tasty will have you converting your own house into a chicken coop, and your backyard into a nursery. Or you'll just want to cut out the middleman and move in to Livingscape altogether: rainwater collection systems on the porch, juicers for rent in the living room, chicks in the basement, veggie starts in the back, and beehives and a nursery in the yard. It just feels good to be there. An extensive array of outdoor gear, kitchenware and garden tools is also on offer. (CM)
Shopping list: Hay, hardy kiwi starts, turken chicks (also known as Transylvanian naked necks).
Mirador Community Store
2106 SE Division St., 231-5175, miradorcommunitystore.com. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.
[HIPPIE KITCHEN] Don't let the nag champa-scented, candle- and paisley-filled entryway to this New Agey shop scare you off; past the aromatherapy gauntlet hides a thoughtful selection of high-quality tools for the Aquarian chef. Mirador is probably Portland's best source for food preservation supplies, and dependably has canners, dehydrators and pickling crocks in stock, along with American-made knives, unfinished wooden utensils, cheese-making kits and lots of cast iron. The cookbook shelf has some woo-woo tendencies, but you can tell those books by their covers; the rest are quite good. (BW)
Shopping list: Hemp coffee filters, BPA-free jar lids, Excalibur food dehydrator, kombucha kit.
Naomi's Organic Farm Supply
2500 SE Tacoma St., 517-8551, naomisorganic.blogspot.com. 10 am-6 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
[GROW-IT-YOURSELF] Considering the large one-acre lot that Naomi's Organic Farm Supply occupies, with goats, chickens and ducks roaming and all sorts of veggies and herbs growing, the shop is surprisingly small. Don't be fooled, though, because since opening in 2009, thirtysomething owners Naomi and Neil Montacre have packed a lot into their urban farmstead store, including a fabulous selection of food and gardening books, seeds, seedlings, trees, soil amendments and more. Critters are available nine months out of the year—worms and bees and chicks and ducklings. (LC)
Shopping list: Organic seed garlic, chicks and ducklings, animal feed, soil amendments.
Rose's Equipment & Supply
207 SE Clay St., 233-7450, rosesequipment.com. 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-2 pm Saturday.
[PRO SHOP] If you love to cook, you may go into uncontrollable spasms of joy when you step into the huge showroom of Rose's Equipment & Supply. It's the REI of kitchen equipment stores. Pros know Rose's has been around for 30-plus years, but to the nonprofessional, it's a revelation. "Look at these half-sheet pans, they're so cheap!" exclaimed an excited shopper. You can get a pizza stone for only $10.25, but make sure to pick up the peel, too. More specialized gadgets like a 60-quart stock pot, VitaMix blender, movie theater-style hot dog griller or your very own two-tap, draft-beer coolers aren't so cheap, but they have them if you need them. If you host lots of parties, you can find reasonably priced chafing dishes, platters, even those little red burger baskets. And this is without going into the used supplies section. Rose's is practically an excuse to start your own food cart. (DC)
Shopping list: All the utensils you wish you had, ramekins, giant mixing bowls—you name it.
Sur La Table
1102 NW Couch St., 295-9679, surlatable.com. 10 am-7 pm Monday-Thursday, 10 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
[GEWGAWS] Sur La Table has established itself as a slightly less snooty alternative to Williams-Sonoma, a reliable source of kitchen gadgetry and technology that's indubitably stylish, if not absolutely necessary. This is the store for people who don't just want an ice cream maker; they want a choice of five colors of ice cream makers. Sure, there are boring traditional items here like garlic presses, dish towels, and exclusive lines of cookware, but why settle for that when you can have a neat-o flexible spatula knife or a personal soda maker? Sur La Table advertises "the art and soul of cooking"; if so, a trip to the Brewery Blocks store is like a spiritual awakening, revealing sides of the soul heretofore unknown. Beware: Such discoveries are occasionally frightening, such as when you discover that somebody apparently demands a "baby gourmet" baby food maker. (CB)
Shopping list: Bodum glassware, reliable knives, vintage aprons. And actually, the flexible spatula knife is pretty cool.
6306 SW Capitol Highway, 546-3737, bakerandspicebakery.com/sweetwares. 10 am-5 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-3 pm Sunday.
[BAKING BITS] Give a man a scone, and he'll eat for a day. But give him a pastry blender and an afternoon cooking class, and he'll eat for a lifetime. Baker and Spice has been helping Hillsdale residents achieve their sugar highs for over a decade, so it's right that they should help locals feed themselves. SweetWares is their venture for doing so, and it's an enormous success, with artfully arranged baking accessories that will please both professional bakers and neophytes. Dozens of pastry bag tips, scores of sprinkle colors and high-end mixers and utensils are all here, while classes ensure that nobody need suffer through a tough pie crust or sloppy cupcake. If you know a baker, it's an ideal place to buy them a gift. If you are a baker, it's an ideal place to send someone to buy you a gift. Either way, the rewards are potentially limitless. (CB)
Shopping list: Modern Bauer ceramic bowls, canning supplies, cannoli forms.
Urban Farm Store
2100 SE Belmont St., 234-7733, urbanfarmstore.com. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-6 pm Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.
[HOT CHICKS] At first glance, the Urban Farm Store looks like your average inner-city gardening store—mulch, trowels, seeds, watering cans—and then you notice a curious, incessant noise in the background. It's the sound of hundreds of chicks chirping, "Take me home and let me lay delicious fresh eggs for you or annoy your neighbors with my crowing!" Owners Robert and Hannah Litt's stated goal is to put "a chicken in every yard"—they even wrote a how-to guide with that exact title—and sell just about everything you could possibly need to make their dream a reality: a menagerie of different chicks and ducklings (with helpful notes on what they'll be like fully grown), coops, feed, litter and even chicken-keeping classes. There's also a solid range of other self-sustainability swag, such as soap- and cheese-making supplies, composting equipment and fruit trees. (RB)
Shopping list: Chicken-keeping supplies, gardening equipment, meat from Afton Field Farm.