Portland certainly has plenty of Bakeries to choose from, they are all different and have specific specialties. Kens is one of my favorites, I really dig the Ciabatta, it makes a killer sandwich, its great with a little butter and it makes great croutons when you cant finish the giant round that costs all of $3.50. You must try one of their Tarts, they are some of the best I have had, my favorite is the Valrhona Chocolate, damn its good.
The reason I cross the river and fight the tourists for parking near Ken's is for one thing and one thing only, the Canneles! This delicious specialty from Bordeaux has a almost burnt outside with a kind of bread custard center that has notes of Vanilla and Citrus. If done right, it is one of my favorite sweets, if done wrong, it might ruin your Cannele experience forever. Go to Ken's, get some Canneles and some Ciabatta, dont worry about the tourists, they fuel the economy.
Ken's Artisan Bakery & Cafe
338 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
In my opinion Jacivas is the best Bakery in town. These folks made my wedding cake about 8 years ago and anytime I am in need of some tasty sweets, Jacivas is where I go. You can find there coffeecakes and tortes at Zupan and I assume at other grocery stoes in town, but the best place to go is the bakery on Hawthorne. They have a ton of different cakes, chocolates, cookies, coffeecakes and anything else you might be after. I always go for the White Raspberry Torte, it was our Wedding Cake and maybe its because of that, but it is my favorite Portland Dessert.
4733 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215
With the rain and the cool air being a part of our everyday lives now, I am spending way more time in the kitchen. Although the majority of my cooking has gone down in restaurant kitchens, I can certainly hold my own in a home kitchen. I do miss having a Robot Coupe, Hobart, Salamander and a boat motor of a Burr Mixer to use, but I have plenty of kitchen toys and an arsinal of Chef Knives to use when I need them.
There are a few menu items from my restaurant that I occasionally crave, last weekend I made Chili and this weekend I made the Pork Philly that was on my lunch menu. This is one of my top 5 favorite sandwiches, I would rather have this Philly than any Cheesesteak in Portland, actually I havent had a bitchin Cheesesteak in Portland. Point me in the right direction if you know of a great Portland Cheesesteak.
I'm not going to lie and say that I have the best Chili, I'm going to tell the truth and say that I have the best Chili. No one makes better Chili than I do, don't get me wrong, I'm sure your Chili is great, but it's not as good as mine. It has taken me many years of professional cooking and many batches of less than par Chili, for me to speak so highly about my Chili. The ingredients that play a big part in the unique flavors in my Chili are Pork Shoulder, White Beans, Chipotle Flakes, Cilantro, Poblanos and my personal blend of Spices. It's Fall in Portland, lets eat Chili,
Esmeralda Coffees sell for anywhere between $30 a pound and $200 a pound, the Hacienda La Esmeralda sold for $130 a pound at an online auction on May 29th setting a new world record. A buddy of mine hooked me up with 2 different Panama coffees last week and I took them straight to work for a 40 second ride in the Clover. I can honestly say that the Panama Esmeralda Especial is one of the best coffees that I have ever had, maybe #1 in my book. If you find it, buy some, brew it in your French Press and enjoy something that is very special.
There is a ton of good Pizza in this town, but my favorite place to grab a slice and a beer is Pizza A Go Go. I love Ken's Artisan Pizza on a Saturday night when I'm in the mood for that style of Pie, but I have a 5 year old and we dont do that very often. I have tried going to Apizza Scholls, but I like I said, I have a 5 year old and we usually like our Pie to go and they dont roll that way so I havent tried it yet, I hear its good, but maybe I will never know. Anyway, Pizza A Go Go is solid good Pizza, nice tattooed group in there, great crust and good beers, what else are you looking for in a Pizza.
I am a huge fan of food carts, I find myself downtown fairly often hitting the carts for lunch. I am yet to be dissapointed with any food cart in Portland, so needless to say, when I hear about a new one, I'm on it! Garden State is the first of what will soon be a new "Food Court" on the corner of Southeast 13th & Lexington in Sellwood. Italian Street Food is on the menu at Garden State and since today was their opening day, I decided to stop by for a bite. I sampled a couple of things on the menu, the first was a Mashed Potato Croquette, it was excellent, very unique and tasty, the second was a Cheese stuffed Rice Ball, damn that is some good eats. I look forward to heading back for some grilled chicken and one of my favorites, Sausage and Peppers, I am confident that everything will be great. Garden State is doing something cool and unique, they will soon have a couple of neighbors and hopefully it will become a destination for folks who are looking for something different in Southeast. Sellwood needs some new food, its the part of town that I call home and I am stoked there is a new scene sprouting up on the corner of 13th and Lexington. Oh yea, and they are serving delicious Portland Roasting Coffee! Check it out.
So I finally made my to Little Red Bike Cafe for Breakfast, I have been there quite a few times and cant say enough good things about it, but this was my first time to try breakfast. I must mention that I live in Sellwood and keep finding myself driving up to North Portland because there are so many nice folks up there and well, North Portland rules! OK, as I sipped my espresso, and chatted with Evan, I found myself getting a bit anxious for my breakfast, it sounded so good and I was going to have to drive all the way back to Sellwood before I could dig in. I ordered the Messenger which has Bacon, Egg, Gorgonzola and Applebutter on Ciabatta and the ZooBomb that is packed with Caramelized Onions, Jack Cheese, Egg and finished with a Poblano Aioli, both of them were awesome and well worth the drive. So Little Red Bike is great, Breakfast is super tasty, Lunch kicks ass, employees are awesome and Evan and Ali are the best, so if you havent been there, what are you waiting for, usually I only need one of those things to try a place and this place has them all. Y'all are doing a great job, keep on Rockin and I guess the only thing left for me to try is the Ice Cream. Sweet!