I had the good fortune yesterday to spend a very enjoyable day in Portland with my brother and his friend. I just thought I'd stop by to leave a few comments from the places I tried!
His friend was set on going to Stepping Stone Cafe for the mancakes, so we had a late brunch there. Fortunately, there was zero wait time and we got seated in a roomy booth. The pancake special was blueberries and white chocolate chip. My brother had a full stack of mancakes with strawberries on the side, while his friend had a full stack of the blueberry white chocolate chip mancakes. I wasn't overly hungry, so I had a side order of the chicken fried steak with gravy (no eggs). The mancakes weren't memorable, other than their size -- they tasted fine, but I'm not a huge pancake fan to begin with. The blueberry white chocolate chip was a good flavor combo and really helped add some interest to the blandness of the pancake itself. I thought the chicken fried steak was very well fried, and the gravy had good flavor. It was incredibly rich and the two together were a bit heavier than I really wanted. I ended up scraping a lot of the gravy off and ate most of the steak. My brother and his friend used some of the gravy to make some pancake bites a little more savory when they got tired of the sweet syrup and fruit. I don't know if I'd go back to Stepping Stone unless it were pretty convenient (I were already in the neighborhood and hungry for breakfast) -- if I did, I probably would never order a mancake.
After wandering around a bit, I found the Salt and Straw storefront in the neighborhood and insisted that we go in, even though I was the only one with enough room in my stomach for dessert. The line was pretty long and I didn't want to hold things up too much, so I only requested a few samples, although I would have liked to try them all! I tried the sea salt with caramel, arbequina olive oil, and marmalade and peaches -- I ordered a small scoop of 1/2 sea salt caramel, 1/2 olive oil. After ordering, I noticed another seasonal flavor, the lotus seed matcha -- she was kind enough to let me sample that as well. I will say that this was some of my favorite ice cream ever. I liked the flavors and mouthfeel of this ice cream much more than Molly Moon's in Seattle. I would order any of the flavors I sampled again, and next time I'll try some new ones. I plan to visit Salt and Straw every time I'm in town, if at all possible :)
On my way out of the city, I dropped by Sesame Donuts in Tigard to order a half dozen, which I shared with two friends when I got back home. I tried the sesame donut, apple fritter, blueberry crumble (filled with blueberry jam), chocolate honey, chocolate old fashioned, and blueberry cake. I'd never been to Sesame Donuts, and all my friends only want to try Voodoo when we're in PDX -- they are pretty unwilling to sample new places, for whatever reason. I enjoyed all of the Sesame Donut offerings so much more than anything I've had at Voodoo. I think the blueberry cake and sesame donut were my favorites, with the apple fritter coming in close behind. The donuts were all fried very well and didn't feel too oily, but they had a crisp outer edge. I usually prefer raised yeast donuts to cake donuts, but these cake donuts were wonderful. I would definitely go back here again!
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