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.

Cedo’s Falafel & Gyros

Cedo's Falafel & Gyros, Portland, Oregon

I love a falafel — I loved falafel before people knew what the heck falafel was. But I guess those are the street-cred perks of being a young vegetarian. My friend Alice introduced me to Cedo’s this year and it’s a favorite spot now. It’s simple, inexpensive and most of all, delicious.

Cedo's Falafel & Gyros, Portland, Oregon

At Cedo’s, I highly recommend the falafel sandwich or the mixed platter, which gives you options — falafel balls, hummus, baba ganouge etc. If you’re into meat, I hear the gyro’s good too. I love this place for lunch because it’s simple and easy.

Cedo's Falafel & Gyros, Portland, Oregon

Cedo’s Falafel & Gyros is located at 3901 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Find them on Yelp.

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!

Popina Swimwear

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

I need you to understand something about me: I love water slides. I think they’re just about the most fun you can have. I trace this love of water slides back to being a kid, when I was too scared to ride most roller coasters but water slides were just my speed. I also grew up swimming, so when I’m on a water slide, I’m in my element.

One of my favorite places on the planet is Wild Waves, near Seattle. Yeah, I know it’s a little gross to be all dripping wet and barefoot with a million kids and their wet band-aids, but when I’m there, I’m on cloud nine. We used to go up there from time to time when I was a kid, and when I was too little to really ride water slides all by myself, my dad would always take me down the infamous green slides (which are so not the best slides anymore). My dad, like me, prefers his feet to be on the ground when it comes to thrill rides, but he definitely appreciates the laid-back and fun nature of a water slide.

Who wants to come with me on a nationwide tour of water parks? We could hit Schlitterbahn, Water World and Splashin’ Safari?

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

The only challenge to all that water slide fun is, of course, finding an acceptable bathing suit. Fear not, Portlanders — we’re covered. I know it doesn’t make a lot of intuitive sense that we’d have our own local swimwear designer, but we do and she’s awesome. Pamela Levenson, owner of Popina Swimwear, designs super-cute vintage-inspired swimsuits and shopping for them is actually fun. Bring your man friend — they’ll make him feel like he’s already on vacation with free Hawaiian beer while he waits for you to decide between suits.

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

Popina Swimwear is located in the Pearl District at 318 NW 11th Ave. and in the Hollywood District at 4831 NE 42nd Ave.  Follow the owner on Twitter, and let me know if you’re up for my awesome national water park tour!