One of the city's newest purveyors of sweet treats, Alder Pastry and Desserts is part fancy dessert bar, part gelateria, equally good for a breakfast quiche, sunny-day gelato or late-night cake binge. The style is French, but the portions 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 pastry chef Matthew Zack's signature kouign amann—a heartachingly 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. RUTH BROWN.
2448 E Burnside St., 548-0359, alderpastryanddessert.blogspot.com.
For chocolate fiends, Cacao is heaven—an entire store devoted to the food of the gods, overflowing with bars labeled with their cocoa percentages and plantations of origin. In addition to the three mouthwatering varieties of drinking chocolate, Cacao offers treats from local chocolatiers Sahagún, Cocanú, and Xocolatl de David, as well as high-end baking chocolate, cacao nibs and powder. MARIANNA HANE WILES.
414 SW 13th Ave., 241-0656, cacaodrinkchocolate.com.
In the land of beer cinemas and cocktail-mixing coffee shops, a sweets shop that serves liquor is an automatic hot spot. After nine years, this Portland institution is still turning out an array of pastries, cakes, ice creams, candies and cocktails. The Concord, which looks like a chocolate mousse castle, and Tart Ménage à Trois, filled with almond and chocolate and topped with a curved chocolate spear, are both highly recommended. RACHAEL DEWITT.
3402 SE Division St., 232-4407, pixpatisserie.com.
Ruby Jewel Scoops
Lisa Herlinger, creator of the Ruby Jewel ice-cream sandwich, offers way more flavors at this spumoni-toned shop than you'll find between the cookies at farmers markets and premium grocers across the city. Among them are vanilla, fresh mint flake, espresso, double chocolate and caramel with salted chocolate. The shop offers sundaes with housemade toppings. The best of these is the Rosemary Langer, which pairs rosemary-salted pecans with dulce de leche syrup and vanilla ice cream. BEN WATERHOUSE.
3713 N Mississippi Ave., 505-9314, rubyjewel.net.