Sweet on the Pearl

Re-Vitalise: The Pearl District in downtown Portland, Oregon is one of those success stories of urban renewal. Originally mapped in 1869 and built with small houses for “blue collar” workers, it morphed into warehouses and industrial buildings and eventually deteriorated to the point where it was avoided at all costs. But all urban centers are part of the ebb and flow of good times, bad times, revitalization and decay. The Pearl has reinvented itself so that now it’s a trendy, hip, pedestrian, fashionable, de jour, funky – whatever you want to call it. And regardless, it’s a positive thing.

Lovejoy Bakery
Every neighborhood needs a bakery (pun intended) and Lovejoy first opened in 2010 and now has two locations including a corner spot in the Pearl. Diversity is the key as they bake 25 daily breads and rolls including golden raisin pecan, potato bread, vollkornbrot, and an egg challah braid. There's an industrial feel to the place with concrete floors, open ductwork and communal tables but of course the best digs are the outside tables that hug the perimeter. There are lots of animated conversations over a cup of tea, coffee and a scone; or a cookie like Snickerdoodles, their chewy and moist ginger molasses, and their chocolate crinkle. Cakes and pastries like chocolate passion mousse tarts, and Opera cakes to cheesecakes and macaroons are here too. They do lunches and breakfasts as well. Why Lovejoy works is that with their large diversity of foods, they do it consistenlyt and they do it well, not to mention it’s a great social hub.

Cool Moon Ice Cream
We may all scream, but it doesn’t mean we get the best ice cream. The first official account of ice cream in America was in a letter written in 1744 in Maryland. The first advertisement for ice cream in the U.S. appeared in the New York Gazette in May 1777, but it’s believed that ice cream has been around much longer, however it’s also believed that early iterations were simply juice was poured over ice, not the ice cream we know today. So when Cool Moon opened in 2007 they kicked it up several notches. With flavors like the tasty peanut butter and jelly kulfi with whole peanuts loaded in, to the coffee crackle pumpkin, buttermilk Marion berry which is mild with definite buttermilk and mellow bright berry flavors, to lemon lavender, you’ll find something you want. It's small inside, and in the blink of an eye it gets packed, like their quarts. They offer a 5% discount for cash purchases (we like this) and right across the street is Jaimeson Park a small part grass, part water feature park filled with kids playing in the low waterfalls, the perfect spot to eat said ice cream. Their ingredients are clean and pure resulting in terrific ice cream.

Sugar Mama’s
I am a fan of Sugar Mama’s for the best cinnamon rolls, though they are not technically located in the Pearl (less than a mile away). But no matter, these are killer cinnamon rolls, all mostly soft and gooey with a few crisp edges. Though large and slathered with icing they strike a balance between sweet (but not overwhelmingly sweet), a wee bit of savory with just the right balance of cinnamon. And the ingredients are the real deal, not substitute flavorings or manufactured ingredients and this is evident in the taste. Sure they serve decent breakfasts and lunch too, but come for the rolls. Clearly if I lived in Portland I’d have a problem with self-control.

The Pearl has plenty of restaurants, bars, brewpubs and is just a 40-minute drive into the Columbia River Gorge and a handful of terrific wineries on both the Oregon and Washington sides of this stunningly beautiful river. Over 90 waterfalls are here including the iconic Multnomah Falls (read about the waterfalls here), white water rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, wind surfing, and the list goes on. Portland is one of those classic American cities, which offers everything within close proximity so you can be urban and then quickly lost in scenic beauty with lightening speed…and give in to your sweet tooth. Watch my brief Oregon Wine County video, and my Gorge Waterfalls video as well.
READ MORE at Exploracation with a post of Southern Oregon Wine Country

1 comment:

  1. This place looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing these photos and reviews. I also want to visit there!! I was looking for such good event venues for celebrating my son’s 18th birthday and strongly feel that this place would be perfect for this.