Coffee and doughnuts. The Northeast does Dunkin. The South does Krispy Kreme. Canada does Tim Horton’s. And Portland?
Well, Portland doesn’t do chains. Unless of course they are locally owned, organically grown, artisanally focused and, of course, quirky to the fullest. When Portland does coffee and doughnuts (and everything beyond), you know it’s going to be one-of-a-kind.
Like any transformed New Yorker, I need to start my day with an iced coffee. And like any transformed Williamsburgian, the iced coffee needs to be cold brewed. None of that brewed-hot-and-poured-over-ice crap for me. So the first stop in Portland for me was Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a Portland original whose coffee seriousness and fame have spread to the likes of Seattle and New York.
Stumptown is the sort of place where iced coffee is not only cold brewed, it’s cold brewed and bottled at the Portland’s House Spirits Distillery. The tasting notes (yes, tasting notes) read: “these bottles of cold-brew goodness are full of rich, chocolaty aromas, tangy fruit flavors and earthy undertones.”
Now that’s Portland, baby.
Not that Stumptown is the only place where it’s at. The city practically smells like dark roast, and you are never more than a stone’s throw away from any great coffee shop in the city. Far from being a coffee expert (or even an aficionado), I find myself woefully under-qualified to be making any proclamations, so I will refrain from making this a Portland coffee post. I will, however, give a shout out to Water Avenue Coffee, which was practically the only coffee shop in the Industrial District that even had cold brew. Perhaps it was less punchy than that of Stumptown’s, but “weaker” (read: smoother) cold-brew coffee often makes a better summer quencher.
For doughnuts, the choice is clear cut. Voodoo Doughnut is Portland’s quintessential doughnut shop, not because their doughnuts are vastly original or made with all-organic magic pixie dust single-sourced from Haiti or something, but rather because they have the balls to dunk a chocolate glazed doughnut into a tub of crumbled up Oreos and maplewood bacon, drizzle the sucker in peanut butter, and name it Old Dirty Bastard (pictured). Not to mention that they also have ordained ministers who can perform Voodoo wedding ceremonies complete with doughnuts for as little as $300.
Another shout out goes to Cacao, a West End specialty chocolate shop so hip that even the New York Times couldn’t resist. Vik and I stumbled upon this one while killing time before a train ride to Eugene, and what was supposed to be a quick poke around of the many of Cacao’s handcrafted products ended up becoming an hour-long session imbibing the richest, silkiest, most complex liquid chocolate I’ve ever tasted. I can’t recall the specific menu, but Mexican-style chocolate with cinnamon and chili stayed with me the rest of the day.
|Stumptown Coffee Roasters (map)
Portland / Seattle / New York
|Voodoo Doughnut (map)
Portland / Eugene
|Water Avenue Coffee (map)
1028 Southeast Water Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
14 SW 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205