Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Neighborhoodie Coffeehouses: The Clearing Cafe

A lot can be said about the big-name coffeehouses in Portland. The Goliaths like Stumptown, BARISTA, and The Albina Press always sneak their way into The New York Times or national foodie blogs.

I think what makes Portland such an interesting place to live and drink coffee is that those big names can saddle up next to the smallest of the small coffeehouses and everyone can be successful.

So begins my small series on finding the "neighborhoodiest" of all neighborhood coffeehouses. The "neighborhoodie" coffeehouses are those that don't even rely on much advertisement or perhaps don't even have a website or blog. They do just fine with their surrounding homes or businesses and have carved out a specific niche market.

These businesses may not grab headlines but they are a necessary part of their hyper-local community. And what's Portland if not a patchwork of small communities sewn together to create most colorful and wonderful place to live?

The Clearing Cafe

2772 NW Thurman St.
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 841-6240

Monday - Thursday 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Friday 6:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Saturday:7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Sunday:8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Located at the foot of a busy Forest Park trailhead, The Clearing Cafe is a small coffee space in the quite, colloquially known, "Nob Hill" neighborhood. (Technically it is the Northwest District neighborhood.)

This spot serves up Ristretto Roasters coffee, toasts Kettleman's bagels, and treats its customers to pastries from Nuvrei. In addition, there are some wholly nutritious "Essential Bowls" that will surely bring you back from the brink after hitting the Forest Park trails.

What I especially love about neighborhood locations are the little details that you won't find anywhere else. At The Clearing Cafe you can enjoy a drink called the Honey Cardamom Latte. This great, warming drink is kind of like a chai with a shot of espresso. The coffee takes a backseat to the cardamom and the honey smooths everything out making for a great sipping drink on rainy day.

If you're not spending your time working or visiting with friends, The Clearing Cafe has an interesting selection of books to pass the time. Most notably, I found a small, well-curated pile of poetry. A nice little find considering nowhere else will you find Robert Frost at the ready.

There are many nice little finds scattered all through the city and while The Clearing Cafe is not a flashy destination spot for tourist, it is certainly a must-see for any Portlander.

1 comment:

mariko said...

I love the Clearing Cafe and confess to planning our running routes so we will end with coffee there! The baristas are very nice and seem very dedicated to their craft. It's a great little spot. Thanks for giving the place a shout out!