Two Tarts Bakery

Two Tarts Bakery, Portland, Oregon

Sometimes you need just a little something sweet — and I always appreciate a place that makes something small and perfectly crafted. Two Tarts Bakery is like that — their signature item is a sandwich cookie in a few flavors that melt in your mouth and in just one bite. I think they’re the perfect little pick-me-up if you’re window shopping on NW 23rd. Pictured below: the vanilla cookie with strawberry buttercream, cappuccino and chocolate with vanilla buttercream.

Two Tarts Bakery, Portland, Oregon

The little sandwich cookies range from classic (their chocolate with vanilla buttercream) to seasonal (vanilla cookies filled with buttercream laced with the freshest seasonal berries and fruit) to peanut butter and cappuccino. They also stock their shelves with other delicious little bites — which you’ll just have to go there to discover. If you don’t live here in Portland where you can get a fix, Two Tarts offers a brilliant and sweet monthly shipment program and for $26 a month, they’ll ship you 2 dozen of their cookies to keep you satisfied at a distance.

Two Tarts Bakery, Portland, Oregon

Two Tarts Bakery is located at 2309 NW Kearney Street, just off NW 23rd Ave. Find them online for great ramblings on the blog and a complete rundown of their treats.

Quin

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

At the tender age of 2 years old, I broke my arm. I don’t remember exactly how it happened because, as we’ve already covered, I was 2 years old. It was something about a swingset accident — normal kid stuff. The point is, it’s really pitiful to see a 2-year-old with a tiny little cast. I would imagine it’s akin to seeing a kitten in a cast (which I did actually see once, and I can vouch that it’s pretty heartbreaking).

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Being a laid-up 2-year-old with her arm in a cast raised great sympathy from my community. My uncle Dave (who was not really my uncle, but a good family friend) showed up at my bedside later in the day bearing gifts. He brought with him two bags of M&Ms.

“Hopefully these will make your arm feel better,” he said. I ate them, relishing the attention and the chocolate, and proclaimed that they did, indeed, make my arm feel better. And from then on, whenever a kid in my family was hurt, the magic cure was M&Ms. Stitches from a nasty fall? I’ve got just the cure. Had to have a tetanus shot? You’re getting M&Ms too.

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Candy has a way of making everything feel better (and boy, I’m sure my dietician friend could tell you how this particular parenting strategy did a number on my relationship with food). The cheery, tiny little candy shop Quin, in the city’s West End district, is pure joy. It’d pull anyone out of a funk. This candy is handmade here in Portland, packaged in pretty little containers and ready to bring happiness to the world. My picks are the coffee orange caramels and the tangerine gumdrops. The artisan marshmallows have a reputation for miles around.

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Find Quin at 1025 SW Stark St.

What’s the Scoop?

What's the Scoop?, North Portland, Oregon

When I was little, my dad had a BetaMax camera that he used for gathering family memories. He had a signature style — narrating from behind the camera, asking his kids lots of questions in order to illicit the most adorable responses and actions, and having long, drawn-out goodbyes at the end of each segment.

A few years ago, for Christmas, we had all the old BetaMax tapes updated and put on DVDs as a surprise for my mom. She loved them, and we sat around for hours that Christmas reliving all the hilarious (and sometimes monotonous) daily goings-on of the Gray household in the 1980s.

In one particularly cute interchange between my dad and I, I sit in just a diaper in an oversized high chair, hair in a very fashion-forward mullet style. My dad cues me with a call-and-response song:

Do you like ice cream? I said:

Yes, I do!

Do you love ice cream? I said:

Yes, I do!

Would you like some? I said:

Yes, I would!

Cause it’s good, good, good.

What's the Scoop?, North Portland, Oregon

Clearly my childhood was filled with lots of this frozen treat. It’s a good thing since I live in a city that values their ice cream so much. I recently found a new and absolutely delicious spot on N. Williams Ave. — What’s the Scoop? Their signature flavor is the brown butter almond brittle (every bit as delicious as it sounds). Pair it with a housemade, fresh-off-the-press “fortune cookie” cone and you’ve got a winning pair.

What's the Scoop?, North Portland, Oregon

Run, don’t walk, to What’s the Scoop?, located at 3540 N. Williams Ave. Follow them on Twitter for more of the sweet stuff.