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Portland, Ore., sweets, just in time for Valentine's Day

February 11, 2013|By Alice Short
  • Poached pear and cranberry tart at Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, Ore.
Poached pear and cranberry tart at Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland,… (Ricaro DeAratanha / Los…)

Perhaps you're thinking about sweets and Thursday's big event -- Valentine's Day. Well, it's possible to find romance even in the gloomy Pacific Northwest, especially when chocolate frosting is involved.

Portland, Ore., has a reputation as a growing gastropolis, with foodies from around the country converging on newly opened gastropubs, communal-table style restaurants -- and bakeries. During a recent visit, it seemed as though a visitor could purchase pastries on every other corner.

Many of the bake shops are relatively new on the scene; one of the relatively recent additions to the city is actually called Bakeshop. Its proprietor, Kim Boyce, worked at Campanile and Spago in Los Angeles before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Best Valentine's gift? It would be hard to go wrong with the chocolate espresso cake.

At Little T American Baker, we'd recommend the drop biscuit with lemon curd -- a bit of tartness to go along with the sweet, just like real-life relationships. What to buy at Tabor Bread? Try a baguette, just the right accompaniment for some butter and jam -- something warm and fuzzy to experience first thing in the morning. And a stop at the Pearl Bakery would undoubtedly result in the purchase of something from its new line of artisan chocolates.

What about Ken's Artisan Bakery? The macarons or the hazelnut butter cookies. Blue Collar Baking Co.? We tried a red velvet Bundt cake that was pretty delicious -- and V-Day appropriate.

And what of Voodoo Doughnut, the court jester of Portland sweets shops? The broken-hearted might do well with the namesake voodoo doughnut (filled with raspberry jelly and topped with chocolate frosting). Anyone in search of romance might try the dirt doughnut. No, it's not a joke -- the dirt doughnut is covered with vanilla frosting and Oreos, which, though lacking in subtlety, might very well make the recipient feel loved.

Portland bakeries to fall for:

Bakeshop, 5351 N.E. Sandy Blvd., (503) 946-8884,

Blue Collar Baking Co., 319 S.W. Pine St., (503) 227-3249,

Ken's Artisan Bakery, 338 N.W. 21st Ave., (503) 248-2202,

Little T American Baker, 2600 S.E. Division St.,   (503) 238-3458,

Pearl Bakery, 102 N.W. 9th Ave., (503) 827-0910,

Tabor Bread, 5051 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., (971) 279-5530,

Voodoo Doughnut, 22 S.W. 3rd Ave., (503) 241-4704,


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