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.

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries

Petunia's Pies and Pastries, Portland, Oregon

We’re a real estate family, and as such, every year we visit the Street of Dreams. These houses are absolutely crazy visions for fancy lifestyles, and usually located on big plots of land far away from the city. You can walk through bedroom after bedroom, admiring high-tech home gadgets and over-the-top interior design.

The one that put it all to shame was the Tiffany nursery. It was at least five years ago, and in one of the houses, there was a bedroom. It was designed for a little girl, and the walls were Tiffany blue (matched exactly, I’m sure, to that signature shade). In the middle of the room hung an elaborate chandelier.

“I want this,” my sister Emily said, as she entered the room. She shuffled us all into the room and imagined it as her one-day nursery for a far-off twinkle in her eye. We looked, and then we moved on to the other houses. But not Emily. She kept that room locked into the vault of her mind for years and when I remodeled my house last year, a look came over her face as she walked through one day.

“What are you going to do with that chandelier?” she asked. I shrugged. “Can I have it?” And I saw the look — she was taking the first step to building a Tiffany nursery with a chandelier for a twinkle in her eye that might be a reality someday soon. I know she’ll create a room that’s sweet and perfect.

Petunia's Pies and Pastries, Portland, Oregon

That kind of sweet, girly charm is what I found at Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. What started as a farmer’s market stand a few years back has now snagged a prime location sandwiched between two of the cutest shops in the West End district and has made a soothing and seriously adorable little spot. Pink walls, vases of fresh flowers and gorgeous vegan and gluten-free pastries abound.

It’s a great place to take a decadent little afternoon break. Sit by the window, enjoy a salted caramel cookie bar (one of the shop’s best sellers) and an iced tea and dream about what the future might bring.

Petunia's Pies and Pastries, Portland, Oregon

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries, 610 SW 12th Ave., in downtown’s hip West End district.

Lovejoy Bakers

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

We hopped on a plane and we went to Las Vegas — five women who had just met a handful of times and wanted to learn more at a photography conference. We had our profession in common, but otherwise we were practically strangers. But something about a hotel suite, a batch of fun parties and exploring the conference together bonded us, and we decided to keep in touch after we arrived back home in Portland.

Annie, Christy, Deyla, Melissa and I met up a few weeks after that conference for coffee and shop talk at Lovejoy Bakers. We were new friends, we were still discovering things about each other and we talked mostly about business as we got to know certain personal details about one another.

Just a few weeks ago, as I sat and had lunch with a couple of these girls, it hit me — this place saw the birth of a friendship. It morphed from the five of us comparing notes about photography into a much deeper connection. When Melissa, and then Christy, announced that they were expecting babies, we hugged and celebrated. Now those babies are here, and when we meet together, we hold them and pass them around.

I’m so grateful for my friends, but I’m also grateful for the place that provided the morning coffees, sandwiches and treats that got the ball rolling.

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

Lovejoy Bakers, a bustling spot in the Pearl District, is encased almost entirely in glass and overlooks the Portland Streetcar. The custom light fixtures, fashioned by local Pigeontoe Ceramics, add a touch of whimsy to the modern space. Snag a pillowy spot by the window and trust me, you’ll never want to leave.

My personal favorite is the smashed chickpea sandwich, with fennel sliced super-thin and a lemony substance inside that’s pure magic. It’s vegan, and they’ll swap out the non-vegan potato salad for you gladly, but usually I just eat it, because as far as potato salads go, it’s delicious.

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

Lovejoy Bakers, NW 10th & Lovejoy in the Pearl District. Near the foot of the Broadway Bridge.