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PDX: Crema is good, know any other bakery/cafes like it?

patrick Oct 17, 2006 05:39 PM

My partner and I like to go on ten-mile-ish bike rides on weekday mornings, with a bakery/cafe as either the destination or a place to stop on the way home.

Yesterday, we went to Foxfire for our favorite pot of tea and tender scones, but I forgot they are closed on Mondays. So we dragged our broken hearts off the ridge and to Crema, which we'd been meaning to check out. It's at 28th and SE Ankeny.

Crema is the epitome of the bike-ride bakery. Lots of excellent baked goods, baked on site, from sweet to savory. We had an orange ginger scone, which was crusty but tender; and two savory biscuits, one with cheddar and caramelized corn, and one with manchego and mushrooms. Plus a big presspot of loose-leaf earl grey and a good latte with Stumptown beans. They also serve sandwiches for lunch.

So...tasty baked goods, pleasant stay-a-while atmosphere, good locally roasted coffee, and, for extra credit, loose-leaf tea. Any other places we should know about? The only one that leaps to mind (other than Foxfire) is Blue Gardenia on Mississippi, and maybe Ugly Mug in Sellwood, though I haven't tried their bakery items and I don't think they're made on site.

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  1. extramsg RE: patrick Oct 17, 2006 06:32 PM

    Baker & Spice in Hillsdale, Half & Half downtown, Bakery Bar across from clarklewis. I think that's the style you're looking for, although I would add places like Ken's Artisan, Grand Central, Petite Provence, Fleur de Lis, and Pearl Bakery to the list. And there are coffee shops with more limited baked good selections like Ristretto (which isn't that far from Foxfire).

    1. n
      Nettie RE: patrick Oct 17, 2006 07:09 PM

      Not at all like Crema, but we did a bike ride once to DiPrima Dolci, rewarding ourselves with cannoli--I'm not sure what they have for coffee or tea, but I'd highly recommend that.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Nettie
        extramsg RE: Nettie Oct 17, 2006 08:07 PM

        Ditto.

        1. re: extramsg
          patrick RE: extramsg Oct 18, 2006 04:58 PM

          I've heard lots of good things about DiPrima Dolci, including another cannoli rec from another cyclist. Furthermore, I think we pass right by it on one of our morning routes. It's at Killingsworth and Denver, sí? What else do they have other than cannoli?

          1. re: patrick
            n
            Nettie RE: patrick Oct 18, 2006 10:18 PM

            Do you need something other than cannoli? :^)

            I've been there once, and what I remember is that they have a very wide variety of Italian baked goods, some sandwiches, a few lunch specials (some kind of pasta is what I remember), and espresso drinks. I'm sorry that I don't remember more details! When I was there on a Sunday morning there were quite a few other cyclists there--you certainly wouldn't feel out of place in your full cycling regalia.

            They have a website here:
            http://www.diprimadolci.com
            ...but it's not that great a site. (I was trying to find out what coffee they have and what their hours are, but that info doesn't seem to be posted.)

            1. re: patrick
              extramsg RE: patrick Oct 19, 2006 04:48 PM

              Their pignoli are REAALLLLY good as well. I've enjoyed their soups and sandwiches also. I'd like to try a calzone from the sometime.

        2. w
          whimsy2 RE: patrick Oct 18, 2006 03:33 AM

          Although I'm a regular at Crema- I like the big table where I can spread out my NYTimes as I drink my morning latte - a great alternative is Grand Central. While they don't have big tables for NYtimes, they do have exceptional scones and soda bread, great with latte. There's one on Hawthorne (the original) as well as one in Multnomah. And I think there's a new one in Northeast Portland somewhere, too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: whimsy2
            r
            rockbroker RE: whimsy2 Oct 18, 2006 03:53 AM

            It is on N. Fremont, just east of Mississippi.

            1. re: whimsy2
              extramsg RE: whimsy2 Oct 18, 2006 06:30 AM

              There's also one in Irvington on Weidler and one in Sellwood. (And the original is in Seattle.)

            2. m
              MyNextMeal RE: patrick Oct 18, 2006 03:20 PM

              Fleur De Lis - NE 40th and Hancock.
              Stumptown coffee, nice lunch menu, patio, and the baked goods....

              1. Cognac RE: patrick Oct 22, 2006 04:20 AM

                Cafe LiLi in Sellwood on SE 17th and Harney. Also, Bakery Bar on SE Water Streat. Pearl Bakery in the Pearl district. I have a preference to Li and not many people know about the place yet....

                1. Cognac RE: patrick Oct 22, 2006 04:20 AM

                  Plus you can ride the springwater trail to Li's for your good workout!

                  1. patrick RE: patrick Oct 24, 2006 10:10 PM

                    We'll have to check out that LiLi place, what with the new Three Bridges route open and begging to be checked out.

                    The Bakery Bar is exactly the type of place we're looking for. But all of these other recommendations are great to keep in mind as well, particularly Fleur de Lis and DiPrima Dolci. I'll report back with any particular experiences.

                    Regarding Petit Provence, we visited the one on SE Division (are there more?) and thought it was pretty mediocre. Good croissants, but the atmosphere was kind of mall/ski-area and the rest of the baked goods were only so-so.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: patrick
                      extramsg RE: patrick Oct 24, 2006 10:39 PM

                      The original location is in Lake Oswego, just called Provence Bistro & Bakery -- or something like that. The atmosphere is fine to me. But the service can be spotty, especially with the ESLers (Frenchies) behind the counter. I guess they're trying to give a more European feel, appeal to French customers, or that's just who they know and hired.

                      I thought pastries were generally pretty good. Not as pretty as a St Honore but probably better tasting. Maybe not as good as the best places around town, though, like Ken's. They did have a pretty big selection which was nice.

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