Saturday, February 16, 2008

Heard Around Town

Slow economy? Not here in Portland. Our coffee market is all but booming with more shops opening and expanding at a swift rate!

By now most Portlanders are aware that the famous Albina Press is going to open a second location on SE Hawthorne and 50th. It's been slow-going, but excitement is certainly building around this SE coffee addition and it should be worth the wait.

Also replicating themselves is Ristretto with a new location under construction at N. Williams and Failing in NE Portland. They will be in the same complex as Nutshell and since it is on my commute route to work, I think I'll be stopping by very often.

Remodeling work is coming to a close over at Random Order Coffee. Hopefully the spiffed up shop will give the bakers a more efficient space with which to churn out those lovely pies.

Having previously served Stumptown coffee, Extracto is currently trying out a few different beans lately. They just finished a rotation of Seattle's Caffe Vita coffee and are currently serving Barefoot Coffee from out of California's Bay Area.

I'm not so much a fan of this Barefoot stuff, but not to worry, Extracto is just having some fun bringing in different beans before they start roasting their own. As soon as April they will begin cooking up their very own blends.

Just today while at Extracto I ran into Dani Cone from Fuel Coffee in Seattle. She was a fantastic barista at Caffe Vita before opening her own coffeehouse and then quickly expanding to three locations around Seattle.

Dani is currently working on a book about her fellow baristas in Seattle and wanted to add some Portland flavor to the mix. She had visited Albina Press, Crema, Stumptown on Division and the Fresh Pot before stopping by Extracto to snap some shots of baristas in action. Look for the book to be out this winter.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seven Virtues and Bipartisan Cafe

This weekend I boldly went where I rarely go: East Portland. Hanging out at the same places around my home in Northeast was getting old so I did some research and picked a couple of interesting places to spend the weekend afternoons.

On Saturday I tracked down Seven Virtues, an light-filled space on Glisan and 60th. I was very impressed by the great design elements. It's a very neat and well-organized location without being too sparse and hollow.

Each table has their logo stamped on top with a different virtue written on each. I sat at the Honesty table.

Following a very popular trend in Portland, they feature vegan baked goods along side of Crema's animal-filled treats. The vegan cookies came from Sift Bakery, a bakery I haven't heard of yet, they seem like a budding Portland endeavor from their sparse site, but you can also find them at K&F Coffee on Clinton. (Though if you are more interested in a non-vegan delight you need to try the cinnamon roll with gobs of frosting.)

The coffee was decent the vegan soup was passable, but what will keep me coming back is the bright space and great crowd. Lots of neighborhood families and couples enjoying a peaceful afternoon.

But if you want your coffee served with a little more bustle and action, then go check out Bipartisan Cafe. Hilary and Obama have been seen at this coffeehouse over on Stark and 80th. Ok, so it was a cardboard cut-out of each of them. But really this is the place to be this election year. They held a mock caucus recently and are gearing up for the Oregon primary in May. They have the delegate counts posted from all the states up to now and have the best collection of political memorabilia I've ever seen. It looks like a high school history class with a selection of house-made pies in the corner.

All in all it was a very exciting weekend, coffeehouse-wise. East Portland, who knew you had so much to offer?