This past Saturday we decided to hit up a coffee shop and bakery we've been meaning to get to for awhile - Crema Bakery and Cafe. Supposedly the coffee was pretty good, but the baked goodness was supposed to be even better.
It's almost funny we hadn't been there yet, considering how close it is to Alma's chocolates and very close to Ken's Artisan Pizza on the corner of SE Ankeny and 28th.
Just a note, but Saturday late morning is not the most ideal time to go - the line was 12 deep when we got there and all the tables were full. For us that was fine, since we habitually get our food and drink to go anyway.
First the drinks. Crema serves Stumptown coffee, so I ordered my standard mocha and Wifey ordered a Caramel Sutra - which was pretty much a caramel latte. Both of the drinks had very well-done espresso, but the chocolate and caramel flavors were almost too subtle. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, just something I'm pointing out.
Then the treats...oh wow. We ordered an earthquake cookie, an apricot scone, and a raspberry cream cheese danish. All the treats are made in their own kitchen and I have to say, I could have ordered one of everything it all looked so good. The scale wouldn't have been nice to me the next day, but my tongue and tummy would have been ecstatic.
The cookie was rich, soft, and chocolatey - probably the best rendition of that style I've ever had. It was thick too, so the baking had to be just right to make sure it was fully cookied without overdoing the outside. The scone was also well baked, not overdone as scones can sometimes be. I personally could have used a tad more apricot, but I'm not going to quibble about something like that.
The danish was excellent. Lots of flavor, plenty of creaminess and fruit flavor to go with a nicely flaky crust.
I'd recommend all of these to anyone, plus all the things I didn't try because I'm just about 100% positive they'll all be good. We'll be going back for sure.
After stopping there, we decided to get some lunch. That wasn't initially on the schedule, but Wifey wanted some chicken strips from Side Cart. The other day when I stopped by there at lunch time (when I ordered the Loco Moco burger from Brunch Box - also excellent), they were out of strips.
Well, it turns out that they were having a special. For $5 you would get chicken strips and two side dishes from a Thanksgiving-like menu. How could we pass that up?! So we ordered stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and the chicken. All of it was good stuff, especially if you are anxious for Thanksgiving to come.
But on the way to Side Cart from the east side, we drove past this new cart - Ninja Plate Lunch. It's a Hawaiian place, serving kalua pork, loco moco, shoyu chicken, spam musubi, and hamburger steaks - the meals being $5 and coming with rice and mac salad. Basically, it's a huge amount of food for $5. We had read about it on Food Carts Portland, but didn't know it would be open on a Saturday. We like Hawaiian food, so what the hell?
We picked the Loco Moco lunch, something I had never had and Wifey hadn't had in a while. It's a tiny little pink cart, but the food was really good. Then again, I don't think I've ever had bad Hawaiian food in Portland. This was just as good - maybe even better - than Portland staples like Noho's and the Bamboo Grille, but at roughly half the cost.
Plus, you get Dum Dums with your meal - how can you top that?!
All in all, another successful Portland food romp, replete with three more places to recommend to others (four if you count Brunch Box).
Get out and eat! :)