Category Archives: Coffee Shop

A corner to crave

I’ve recently found myself opening my wallet and falling in love with what seems to be a new neighborhood hot spot – NE 15th and Prescott.  Prescott Village, located on the edge of the Alberta Arts District, is overflowing with … Read More

Leave the gun, take the cannolis

As we find ourselves in the midst of the holiday frenzy, that little devil on our shoulder seems to be encouraging us to indulge a bit more than usual.  Go ahead, have another cookie – you deserve it.  Guilt aside, Portland is host to a bevy of bakeries and cafes that will have you quickly caving to your inner sugar demons.

diprima3 Mmmm.

However, if it’s the Italian touch you crave, head to North Portland and visit DiPrima Dolci.  This little bakery/coffee shop seems unassuming from the exterior but opens up to a large seating area and a glass bakery case that will easily induce drooling.  There is also a nice garden patio out back, which is lovely when the weather is warm and the skies clear.  Until those sunny days return, plop yourself inside for a cookie or pastry and warm cup of coffee.

diprimasign diprima1

Diprima Dolci serves up pizza, salads, and sandwiches in addition to tarts and pastries.  Though, I’ve heard the sandwiches are hit or miss but I haven’t experienced them myself so can’t qualify these statements.  The pizza seems to get good reviews and one can take pizza dough to go if you’d prefer to make your own pie.  They also have delicious bread and baguettes available for purchase.

What you really want to come here for though are their sugary, butter filled delights.  Cookies, tarts, pastries and CANNOLIS!  This is Portland, not Littly Italy, so I think this is as close as we’re going to get as far as authenticity goes.  And trust me, this is pretty close.  Their cannolis are made to order and can be topped with chocolate bits, crushed pistachios, and more.

diprimacannoli diprima4
I recently tried a fig and apricot treat that was amazing.  Most of their cookies are pretty good too.  The only down side is that a lot of these confections are a bit on the pricey side.  My advice is to mix-n-match a bag and split it with friends.  Find out what you like, then go back for more.  A cheap trial by fire.

Regardless, this is one quaint Overlook neighborhood bakery that serves up great pastries with a smile.  Think you’re going to find a more authentic bakery anywhere else in town?  Fuggitaboutit.

DiPrima is also hosting a Feast of the 7 Fishes dinner on the 18th and 19th for those interested.  Reservations are required.  Call them at 503-283-5936 to reserve your spot in this Italian-American holiday tradition.


DiPrima Dolci
1936 N Killingsworth St Read More

A nice warm cup of free!


Giving thanks, Portland style.  That’s one way to describe the Thanksgiving Day offerings from Coffeehouse Northwest.

For the third year in a row, this local coffee shop will be brewing, baking, and giving to it’s customers and community.  From 8:00am – 12:00pm, this Thursday, November 26th, Coffeehouse Northwest will be giving out coffee, fresh pastries, and homemade eggnog – all on the house.  This equals free Stumptown Coffee!


There will be a tip jar available, with all proceeds donated to the charity(ies) of the baristas choice.  Previous charities have included theater groups and Sisters of the Road.

Also, it should be noted that the crew will be hosting a potluck on Thanksgiving Eve.  Bring some food and drink and escape your in-laws for a bit.  Or, bring them along and let them get a feel for the Portland spirit of giving and camaraderie.

If you’re planning on attending the potluck, please R.S.V.P. to

Coffeehouse Northwest
1951 W Burnside St Read More

Cellar Door Coffee

cellar-doorSwing by Cellar Door Coffee, a cozy cafe located on 11th and Harrison, and try what is arguably one of the best french pressed, locally roasted, fair trade organic cups of coffee around town. Owner-operated by a charmingly coffee-obsessed couple, Cellar Door is one of Portland’s up and coming micro-roasters who have garnered much deserved attention recently for their subtly flavored, delicious brews. The folks behind Cellar Door started out roasting very small batches of beans in their basement (hence the name cellar door), grew into selling whole bean coffee by the pound at farmers markets, worked really hard, and opened up their own shop. Nice work, Cellar Door Coffee!

Whole bean roasts are available by the pound at the the cafe as well as a few shops around town (Limbo, Food Fight, Market of Choice on SW Terwilliger, and some more on the way). You’ll also find snacking options at the cafe including homemade quiche, vegan pastries from Dovetail Bakery, and some great soups.

Cellar Door boasts some stellar green credentials: in addition to fair trade organic beans, they always use compostable coffee cups and bags. Also, PGE’s green power program offsets the electricity used for roasting.

After the cafe closes, Cellar Door becomes Portobella Vegan Trattoria, a small, upscale restaurant. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time by calling 503.754.5993.

Location: 2001 SE 11th Ave Read More

Falafel Waffles at Tigers Cafe

falafelwaffle1I decided to check out the recently opened Tigers Cafe the other day, curious to find out what had become of the space that formerly housed Portland’s awesome-but-defunct waffle house/art gallery Jace Gace. The results are decidedly mixed. Like Jace Gace, Tigers Cafe offers a potentially interesting mix. But, unlike Jace Gace, they’ve spread themselves too thin trying to please everyone. Tigers Cafe is trying to be a coffee shop, a Lebenese restaurant, a neighborhood pub, and more (taco Mondays? come on…), while also paying homage to their waffle-making predecessors.

Here’s where their eclectic approach is dead on: the falafel waffle. Genius! Delicious!

The falafel waffle’s the show-stopper on the waffle menu, and waffle menu is what saves this young and confused establishment from a wholly unfavorable review. Tigers also offers traditional, cornmeal, or vegan waffles with a good mix of sweet or savory toppings. Check out the Three Sides (tradtional waffles, sweetened with honey and walnuts, topped with prosciutto, brie, and apples) or the Avocado Rancheros (vegan waffle with black beans, avocado, tofu sour cream, and rancheros sauce), for instance.

There’s much I would change about Tigers Cafe if I could: I’d get rid of the plasma TVs, the store-bought muffins (if I wanted spudnickers, I’d go to the Costco myself), the soft drink displays, and the mid ’90s music. On the whole, however, I think this still merits a visit, if only for the aspects left over from Jace Gace: the art (you should check out the new murals), the sunny and spacious front patio and, of course, the waffles.

Location: 2045 SE Belmont, 97214

Hours: 9 am to 7 pm Monday-Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm Sunday Read More

Arleta Library Cafe

arleta3I usually eat at Arleta Library Cafe to mark some important event, like a birthday, even though it’s not the most convenient place to take a larger group. It’s just so good and it’s in my neighborhood. Being a small, popular brunch spot, Arleta Library Cafe tends to get really packed, especially since they were featured on the Food Network. Be patient. Everything from your table to the check will most likely take a while on weekends. It’s well worth the wait.

Since I’ve ordered or sampled pretty much everything on the menu at Arleta at this point, I feel qualified to offer some opinions:

If you’re really, really hungry, go for Portland’s Best Biscuts and Gravy. That’s a bold claim but Arleta backs it up. They really are.

Carnivores, I have three words for you but it’s served on weekends only: Corned Beef Hash.

Vegetarians, try the Hawthorne, a simple medley of local veggies, sauteed potatoes, and cheese.

Amazing pastries any day of the week, a cut above what you find in most coffee shops. Memorable coffee cake.

A few interesting points: Most of the veggies they serve are grown nearby in Southeast Portland by Your Backyard Farmer. It”s worth mentioning their lavatory decor feels like stepping into a rustic kitchen somewhere in 19th century France. Arleta serves their own homemade ketchup (or should I say catsup?). It puts that store-bought stuff to shame.

There’s not much of a library to speak of, but for brunch, it’s Arleta Library Cafe all the way. Read More

Backspace Has Evolved

backspaceIf coffee shops exist, in part, to provide a third space that’s neither private or publicly owned, I’d say Backspace has some of the best third space around town. There you are on 5th between Couch and Davis, where Downtown, Old Town, and the Pearl all come together. You’re rubbing elbows with PNCA students, computer geeks, hobos, and yuppies. You have a unique mix of offerings in one business: a modern arcade, live music evenings, an art gallery, a pool table, couches and board games, as well as a full cafe at your fingertips. What more do you need? backspace3No surprise Backspace bills itself as “entertainment mecca of Portland.”

Not being a gamer, I’m not the best one to evaluate Backspace in terms of the computer games. Actually, I’ve never actually played a computer game at Backspace, so please go do that and post comments to tell me how it went (ahem…Simon). I go to Backspace to be entertained, sure, but mainly I enjoy the general milieu and the snappy wifi connection. I keep going back because it seems to always be on the way to where I’m headed next and the coffee’s good. Whether framed on the wall or scrawled in the bathrooms, the art wows me. backspace2

Because it does such a good job of providing that third space, I think it’s an ideal spot to arrange to meet people downtown.

My opinion is that Backspace has improved considerably with time. I recall exploring Backspace right after it’s inception, back when the shop primarily focused on computer games and the coffee was, frankly, mediocre. I’m glad to have re-discovered Backspace, and glad to announce: those days are over. The computers (which had felt like standardized testing terminals) are available but no longer dominate the main room, the coffee is much better (switching to Stumptown will do that), and the space generally feels friendlier and more social. By broadening their focus, Backspace won me over.

Location: 115 NW 5th,  97209

Hours: Mon-Wed 7am-11pm
Thu-Fri 7am-12am
Sat 10am-12am
Sun 10am-11pm

503.248.2900. Read More

Posies: family-friendly coffee


Newly opened in North Portland is Posies, one of Portland’s few family-friendly coffee cafes. Parents Jessie and Jonathon were only too aware of the “evil eye” when trying to enjoy coffee or dining out of the house while with their child, and wanted to create a space where families were welcomed, rather than treated with annoyance and irritation. Coupled with the desire to have a job where their child wouldn’t mean sacrifice or liability, the resulting Posies is a family-friendly place that includes a sound-proof playspace and specially-trained “mommy-ristas” (other neighborhood stay-at-home moms) serving locally micro-roasted Ristretto Beaumont Blend espresso, as well as flaky Florio Bakery baked goods and house-made sandwiches and wraps. Although the cafe may not be in a hip location, the fine people and families drawn to it are worth the outing. Pack up the kiddos and go get some good coffee, vibes and playtime today!

8208 N Denver Ave
Portland, OR 97217
Mon – Thur: 7am – 9pm
Fri: 7am – 10pm
Sat: 8am – 10pm
Sun: 8am – 6pm Read More

DIY Stories!

DIY Stories is an open storytelling stage where anyone can get up and share a story. Join us to hear stories and maybe even tell your own…

THEME: What Goes Around, Comes Around

Your 3:30 battle with the school bully was canceled due to their leg-breaking accident in gym class. You gave up your seat on the bus and when you got home your missing wallet was there, cash and all. You’re sure that you are still paying for stealing cookies twenty years ago.

DIY (Do It Yourself) Stories!
Storytelling for the people, by the people.

1800 NW 16th Ave.
(At the corner of NW 16th & Thurman)

Thursday, August 14, 2008
Doors open at 7:30, Stories 8-10
$3 cover Read More

Urban Grind Coffeehouse

Urban Grind is living proof that getting your daily fix doesn’t have to involve paying above average prices for a below Read More