Bushel & Peck Bakeshop

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

This time of year makes me want something warm to drink in my hand every hour of every day. Luckily, we live in a town blissfully full of coffee and tea shops, each with their own lovely little arrangements of goodies to go with them.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

I love Bushel & Peck Bakeshop becuase it’s close to my office, because they make a bar with pretzels, almonds and caramel that is heaven and because it makes me nostalgic for the nights I’d spend the night at my friend Julie’s house when I was a kid, and her mom would tuck us in and tell us, “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” This spot is also just a great, relaxing place to pull up a chair and unplug for a few minutes.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop serves Trailhead Roasters coffee, Townshend’s Teas and and assortment of lovely specials for breakfast and lunch, or treats anytime. Pick a chair at the long farm table, grab a newspaper and prepare for a few minutes of hot-beverage zen.

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop, Portland, Oregon

Bushel & Peck Bakeshop is located at 3907 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in NE Portland. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go there now and get one of those caramel pretzel almond bars. Trust me.

Case Study Coffee

Case Study Coffee, Portland, Oregon

I could blog about coffee shops all day long here and never run out — and I don’t even drink coffee! But there’s something special about a place to sit and enjoy a warm beverage, a pastry and a moment of solitude. I love to hit a coffee shop in the morning as my day ramps up, or in the afternoon when I need a minute to sit and be quiet and be refreshed.

Case Study Coffee, Portland, Oregon

Case Study Coffee is located in NE Portland, in the Hollywood district (they’ve got another on SW 10th in downtown). It’s a light-filled cafe on NE Sandy Blvd. where you can find a warm cup of something — whether that’s Case Study’s own roast, or the full selection of Foxfire Teas they serve. Pair it with a pastry from local bakeries Nuvrei or gluten-free/vegan darling Petunia’s Pies and Pastries and you’ve got a real coffee shop moment.

Case Study Coffee, Portland, Oregon

Case Study Coffee is located at 5347 NE Sandy Blvd. Their downtown location is 802 SW 10th.

Random Order Pie Cafe

Random Order Pie Cafe, Portland, Oregon

Allow me to take a moment to tell you about a pie. It was a coconut cream pie with a salted graham cracker crust. It was pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. I hand-toasted coconut flakes for the top, whipped the cream topping into foamy peaks and pressed the crust into the pan. Then I packed it across town to the Portland Pie-Off and entered it into — unbeknownst to me — the most popular category.

There were coconut cream pies, banana cream pies, chocolate cream pies and a few less-than-traditional concoctions. The competition was intimidating. The day was also on the warm side, which made me nervous about my freshly whipped cream. But we laid in the grass on our picnic blanket and let the judges do their work. I did happen to notice quite a few of them huddling around my pie in particular. That’s how I had the feeling I might win.

Random Order Pie Cafe, Portland, Oregon

I did win — in my division, at least — and even if I hadn’t, it was one of my most fun Portland afternoons. I’d like to make this my official request to bring the Portland Pie-Off back! I would totally enter again.

Incidentally, I made my blue-ribbon pie again about a month later for a party and it didn’t set up right. It was coconut soup and no one ate it. Pie can be tricky!

Random Order Pie Cafe, Portland, Oregon

I make a mean pie, but the folks at Random Order coffeehouse and pie shop could run circles around my blue-ribbon coconut cream. That’s why I love them. I love their caramel apple pie and really, every pie they make, and I keep going back for more. Who doesn’t love pie? As a side note, they make a really yummy vegan panini with a white bean spread. Don’t miss it on the lunch hour.

Random Order Pie Cafe, Portland, Oregon

Random Order is at 1800 NE Alberta St. Stop in for pie, cocktails or the aforementioned sandwich. They’re all good. Find Random Order on Twitter too!

Local Choice Market

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I decided it was finally time to take Eric to Madrid. I studied abroad there — and he’d patiently take my calls at all hours because of the time difference — but he’d never walked the streets I loved, tasted the tapas, drank the wine and strolled through the Puerta del Sol.

For a week, we wandered. I walked him past the apartment I lived in, the school I attended and the spots where I used to meet my friends for dinner and drinks. And then, once the trip down memory lane concluded, we went off in a new direction, looking for a spot we could call our own. We found it in Chueca — a large, four-story gourmet grocery store with a restaurant on the top floor. We walked past fresher-than-fresh seafood onto an entire floor lined with small stalls. One sold hamburgers, another traditional tapas. Twice we ate dinner there, relishing the food, the view and the experience.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I hadn’t seen anything quite like this grocery store in Portland until I happened on Local Choice Market. They offer seasonal veggies and high-quality meats, then have a special area for wines and beer (pull up a stool and taste something!) a deli section and an area with an espresso bar and fresh-squeezed juice selections. Pull up a chair and make some new Portland memories.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

Local Choice Market is located at 830 NW Everett St. in Portland’s Pearl District. Do your shopping, or stop in for a juice, lunch, coffee or wine tasting. Follow their blog for more.

Water Avenue Coffee

Water Avenue Coffee, SE Portland, Oregon

A neon sign reading “COFFEE” in big red letters loomed over Eric’s head at Street 14 Coffee in Astoria. We sipped our drinks and ate our breakfast in groggy silence until the Belgian guy at the table next to us leaned over and asked, “So, what happened last night?”

The commotion had started at almost midnight. We were curled up in bed with a Macbook, watching an episode of Maron when suddenly, directly through the wall, we heard screaming. Not playful screaming, but murder screaming. “POLICE!” the voice shouted. “SOMEBODY CALL THE POLICE!”

Eric jumped up out of bed, told me to call the police and stay in the room and bolted out into the hallway to bang on the door of the room next door. A young woman opened it and told Eric that her boyfriend was just freaking out. It wasn’t a big deal. But as he looked past her, he saw the riled-up man’s face was scratched and bloodied. Meanwhile, through the wall, I was arguing with a teenage front desk employee at the hotel who somehow couldn’t understand the words “call the police.”

The police came, discerned that the couple were extremely high, lectured them through the paper-thin walls for a good long time and then finally left close to 2 a.m. We never saw a single other person so much as poke their head out to see what was wrong — which was just impressive since this was a hotel with shared bathrooms down the hall. I certainly hope no one ever tries to murder me in a hotel room.

The next morning after a truly dreadful adrenaline-fueled night of sleep, Eric woke up, rolled over and said to me, “Let’s get out of here.”

Water Avenue Coffee, SE Portland, Oregon

The weekend was a total bust, which was extra disappointing because I had planned the whole thing as a surprise for Eric. Later in the summer, he knocked it out of the park with a surprise weekend away for me. But for awhile the morning after the weird domestic incident in our hotel, we did have a fabulous breakfast under that neon COFFEE beacon. They have one of those at Water Avenue Coffee too — although this one is blue. They serve really high-quality coffee that’s roasted about 10 feet away right in the same building. It’s tasty, simple and you can buy some beans to make at home or sit in the pleasant little shop on the couch and do what Portlanders do — work, surf and otherwise set up a combo mainline of coffee and wi-fi.

Water Avenue Coffee, SE Portland, Oregon

Water Avenue Coffee is a local coffee roaster and shop in SE Portland’s industrial district, located at 1028 SE Water Ave. Check out their blog for more.

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.

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

He may have been 20 years too old, and he may have been my orthodontist, but that guy was hot. Every time I went in to have my braces tightened, my little fourth-grader stomach got butterflies. He looked like Paul Rudd. I would sit in his chair, mouth agape, trying to laugh at his jokes and be ladylike while he checked my teeth over. I’m sure it happened to him constantly.

The combination of Mr. Super Hot Orthodontist and what happened next made my early-morning orthodontist appointments totally worth it. I may have been the first patient in at 6:30, but after the hardware was taken care of for another month, my dad and I would head to Shirley’s Coffee House in downtown Beaverton, where I’d always have their signature coffee cake, which was dense and sweet and delicious. It was my favorite.

For twenty minutes, I got to enjoy a delicious, well-made baked good (and usually some hot chocolate) and some time with my dad. Taking a moment to sit with someone you love and eat something comforting is one of my favorite things.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

At Blue Star Donuts, you can find beautiful, comforting pastries and a quiet moment to sit. Pastry chef Stephanie Thornton makes her donuts warm, comforting and high-quality. All I know is, I’m never eating another donut in my life that doesn’t come from this shop.

I haven’t had them all, but each one I’ve had has been delicious. The main reason I haven’t had them all is because the second one I tried was a buttermilk old-fashioned and it was so good, it’s all I can order when I go back. I’d bet money that the hard apple cider fritter is just as delicious. At once sweet, milky and tart, this old-fashioned is like nothing you’ve tasted in a donut shop before. Wash it down with Stumptown coffee or Steven Smith tea. I recommend the chamomile.

Blue Star opens each morning with a fresh supply of donuts and stays open until they’re gone. For best results, come early and bring someone you love.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon

The only donut you’ll ever need lives at 1237 SW Washington St. in downtown’s endlessly hip West End district. More donuts? Check out the Twitter feed.