The Decorette Shop
5338 SE Foster Road, 774-3760, thedecoretteshop.com. Closed Sunday.
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.).
6306 SW Capitol Highway, 546-3737, sweetwares.com. Closed Monday.
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 & Spice has been helping Hillsdale residents achieve their sugar highs for more than 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.
Hawthorne Cutlery and Gifts
3208 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-8898, hawthornecutlery.net. Closed Sunday.
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. LC.
Shopping list: Knife sharpening ($5), soft or hard steel chef's knife.
3429 NE Sandy Blvd., 962-0574, sharpening4u.com. Closed Sunday-Monday.
There is a certain irony to the fact this knife-sharpening shop is right across the street from a tire store. It's also funny that there are a couple of fake chopped-off fingers next to the sharpening station. It's no joke, however, when you get your sharpened-on-the-spot knives back. Heed owner Harmonie Medlin's advice when she hands them to you and says, "The first cut is startling, so keep it away from your fingers. This knife is now sharper than when you bought it." Knives ($3-$7 to sharpen), gardening tools and lawn mower blades all get the same finger-endangering treatment at this almost three-year-old business on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. If you're looking to visit the shop in the spring or summer, check the website first, because Medlin does the farmers market circuit, and hours get squirrelly. LC.
Shopping list: Newly sharpened scissors or lawnmower blades or even knives (how novel!), a $5-$8 knife from the bargain bins.
1551 SE Poplar Ave., 770-0233, beethinking.com. Closed Sunday-Monday.
Are you suffering from a case of colony collapse disorder? If so, then look no further. Bee Thinking is ready to rock your world. Pour some honey on me! Although the shop is small and tidy, you'll find everything you need to start beekeeping, including protective jackets, hats and veils and stainless steel hive smokers. If you're feeling particularly flush, check out the shop's milled-in-Portland Western red cedar beehives on display and available online. LC.
Shopping list: Foundationless shop-made hives, leather ventilated beekeeping gloves, beginner beekeeping classes.
CANNING & DEHYDRATING
Mirador Community Store
2106 SE Division St., 231-5175, miradorcommunitystore.com.
Don't let the nag champa-scented, candle- and paisley-filled entryway to this New Age-y 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.
3232 NW Industrial St., 875-1161, bargreen.com. Closed Sunday.
A bright, spacious showroom way, way out in Northwest Portland, all gleaming stainless steel and glass, Bargreen Ellingson is far from the claustrophobic and horrible restaurant supply stores of our imaginings. Although the company caters mostly to business clients, the showroom is entirely open to the public. While dishes and glassware come only by the case, most items are available by the piece. And what pieces! Really big measuring cups, 42-inch pizza paddles and 24-cake aluminum cupcake pans may all be found in the store's shimmering aisles. Ever wanted to own a 10-inch meat slicer? Now you can. BW.
Shopping list: Baking pans, really big measuring cups, steel bowls in every conceivable size.
438 NW Broadway, 547-5700, boxernw.com. Closed Sunday.
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.
404 NW 23rd Ave., 241-4040; 1520 NE Broadway, 288-1500; 8788 SW Hall Blvd., Beaverton, 643-5491; and other locations; kitchenkaboodle.com.
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—standup mixers, rolling pins, saute pans, cutting boards—along with nonessentials, such as interlocking corncob 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.
Sur La Table
1102 NW Couch St., 295-9679, surlatable.com.
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 want just 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 neato 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.
Rose's Equipment & Supply
207 SE Clay St., 233-7450, rosesequipment.com. Closed Saturday-Sunday.
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 $10.50, 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.
7636 N Lombard St., 285-0855, cityfarmpdx.com.
This brand-new little shop, located in what appears to be a former gas station on a sunny stretch in St. Johns, stands out not for its chicks or outstanding supply of heirloom seeds from Wild Garden and Seed Savers Exchange, but for its spectacular supply of medicinal and vegetable starts. Obscure heirloom tomatoes, broccoli raab, borage, wild ginger, and an impressive variety of seed potatoes share space with chicken feed and scratch, trellises, onion sets, and used tools. The shop has just gotten a number of Ancona ducks, a rare breed whose habitat is threatened. KM.
Shopping list: Thornless blackberry plant, bourbon red turkey chick, and comfrey and goldenseal starts.
3926 N Vancouver Ave., 248-0104, livingscape.com.
This purveyor of all things green, sustainable and tasty will have you converting your 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).
Naomi's Organic Farm Supply
2615 SE Schiller St., 517-8551, naomisorganic.com. Closed Monday.
While there are certainly cheaper options when seeking soils, starts, seeds and fertilizers, Naomi's selections maintain a distinct local flavor and organic quality. And in comparison to the larger farm supplies around Portland, they really aren't that much more expensive when you want to be conscientious about what you are buying, supporting and growing. Besides, the exceedingly friendly and knowledgeable staffers know absolutely everything about each product they sell and can also offer a plethora of sound advice for just about any urban garden situation. And they have goats and chickens, which has the added bonus of turning a trip to the farm supply store into a mini petting zoo adventure. The current location is a bit smaller than the old store but not any less well-stocked. JL.
Shopping list: Organic starts, organic fertilizer, hay bales, organic soil.
Portland Homestead Supply Company
8012 SE 13th Ave., 233-8691, homesteadsupplyco.com. Closed Monday.
Owner Kristl Bridge says customers tell her the store's Balinese duck with the big tuft of feathers on his head looks like Phyllis Diller, but a young girl who once visited the store named him simply "Li'l Ed." Portland Homestead Supply Company in Sellwood's antique row is a place where ducks have names, chicks find homes (chicks, pullets, and chicken and duck supplies are sold here), and there's just-baked cobbler on the table above the bulk grains and DIY kitchen supplies. Not only does the year-old store carry urban homesteading supplies, it also offers all sorts of $25-to-$40 classes on everything from cheese-making and sushi to gardening. LC.
Shopping list: Chicken and duck eggs, old-school butter churn, pickling crocks, DIY books.
Urban Farm Store
2100 SE Belmont St., 234-7733, urbanfarmstore.com.
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.
2020 Aloclek Drive, Suite 107, Hillsboro, 971-222-3434, brewbrothers.biz.
Brew Brothers claims to have the widest selection of brewing equipment in Oregon, and we buy their claim. Shelves are neatly stocked with even the most obscure ingredients. A substantial book selection covers everything from wine to home-distilling, and three homebrews are tapped at any given time. Look, especially, for a ridiculous assortment of Blichmann engineering equipment, from kettles of various sizes to hop infusers to gas converters, plus limited-edition yeasts from private collections. They are very, very serious about their brewing out there in the Hillsboro. JG.
Shopping List: Wyeast Labs has some mighty interesting looking yeasts on sale at Brew Brothers.
F.H. Steinbart Co.
234 SE 12th Ave., 232-8793, fhsteinbart.com.
The oldest homebrew store in the country, inner Southeast's F.H. Steinbart has been in business for nearly a century. Today, it's a destination for the most and least experienced brewers. The regular retail space—well-stocked with books and kombucha kits—isn't especially large, and there's no keg to congregate around. However, you get a great view of the massive stockroom housing pieces and parts for the pros. It's quite a sight, though not especially romantic. As the clerk says: "At a certain level, brewing becomes plumbing." MC.
Shopping List: Beer kits, wine kits, kombucha kits.
6550 N Interstate Ave., 286-0343, homebrewexchange.net.
Kenton's Homebrew Exchange is a renovated shop featuring a cheerful staff that measures out grain and teaches fermentation courses both basic (Homebrewing 101, mozzarella-making) and serious (how to propagate your own wild yeast). It has the feel of a neighborhood hardware store, with limited selection but plenty of soul. Sit in an IKEA-type chair to peruse the homebrew bible, its holiness snapped into a three-ring binder. Meanwhile, shelves are stocked with kits, herbs, tools and cleaning supplies; corks and bottle caps 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. ES.
Shopping List: Wort chillers, carboys, bungs, stoppers, you name it. Shop first, however, for a class to take.
Portland U-Brew and Pub
6237 SE Milwaukie Ave., 943-2727, portlandubrewandpub.com.
If you want to make your own beer, you want to start here. Greenhorns can have staff hold their hands through the brewing process, providing an extra set of eyeballs as they measure out ingredients and turn their mash into booze using the shop's cute little copper kettles. More advanced or adventurous would-be brewers will find the scalable supplies they need to do it at home—from glass carboys to Cornelius kegs—and an impressive selection of raw ingredients. The laziest among us can retire to the tasting room, where the brewery pours its own brews (try the porter) and provides checkerboards and grilled cheese sandwiches. MC.
Shopping list: Whatever you're brewing, go with Wyeast Laboratories yeast, a world leader based in Hood River.