A good friend visited recently from New York and made it his business to get around the city sampling all of the best coffee shops. Double-fisting with his water bottle, he made a nice dent in the coffee culture here, one easy espresso at a time. At each counter, he’d order, sip, and smile. And then say, “I don’t want to admit it, but that’s darn good.”
I’m always looking for a handy metaphor, and this one fell into my caffeinated lap all too easily — it is darn good, the coffee around these parts. And gosh, so are the pastries and the falafels and the tacos, and the ice cream and oh, the list goes on.
I’ve hated to admit it myself, but the show Portlandia does a pretty good job of portraying the deep intention and gravity with which we Portlanders consider our food and drinks — from sourcing to plating. Why do I hate to admit it? Between you and me, I find that show to be pretty annoying, though I know, like all things Portland, it’s well-intentioned. Maybe because it rings so true. Maybe because I lived in NY a little too long where I learned that life is supposed to be hard.
In any case, what I love about the ritual of a stop at a coffee shop is how those same good intentions so often carry forth through the design and feel of a place too. In a city that rains a fair amount, one needs to feel really cozy while sipping her politically correct and totally hip afternoon coffee. And while I’ve long enjoyed the habit of a late day latte, the ritual of it has become even more precious to me here in Portland, where things are, well, precious.
Readers — what are your favorite Portland establishments? Comments are open — (you only have to log in one time!)