Sterling’s Kiosk

I intended to give Coffeehouse Northwest a review the other day, but when I arrived and asked what espressos they had available, the barista informed me that they only had Hair Bender (from Stumptown) available. Actually, they had two different Hair Benders available, each with a different roasting date. While it might have been an interesting exercise to compare how the roasting dates affected the flavors, I was hoping to try something different. The barista suggested I go to Sterling, a few blocks away on NW Glisan. She said it doesn’t have any tables, but that if I wanted to I could bring my drink back from Sterling and sit down at the café and hang out. Though it was a nice offer, I decided to come back to Coffeehouse Northwest another day.

It took me about five minutes to walk over to Sterling, and when I arrived, I found what appeared to be an old-fashioned coffee bar, built in the style of the 1920s (at least that was my impression). The kiosk was sandwiched into a small space by the entrance to a flower shop.

Small but classy (dressing up is optional)

Tim, the barista, greeted me and I asked him about their espresso. He recommended that I try the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (YUR-guh-chef) coffee. It was a little more expensive than the house blend they had available ($2.50 for a double), but it was more interesting too. He described the espresso as beginning with blackberry flavors, continuing with a smooth middle and creamy finish that was like Baileys (Irish cream). That sounded interesting enough for me, so I ordered one and watched him prepare the espresso.

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The Honorable St. Honoré

I went back to explore Portland’s “Trendy-Third” (23rd Ave) area this week. When I had earlier asked for café recommendations, one of my MIM classmates (Badih) recommended the St. Honoré Boulangerie. Had my French been a little better, I would have realized that it was more of a bakery, but since they have coffee available, it’s close enough for me.

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Located at the corner of Pettygrove and 23rd Avenue, Vivace is a well-known café in one of Portland’s trendy hipster districts ( “trendy-third”, as some people call it). The café, with its refinished wooden floors, felt-covered cushioned dining chairs and low-hanging chandelier, reminds me of the parlor in someone’s old Victorian house. The western windows catch a lot of sun (after the leaves have dropped from the trees), good for warming yourself on those crisp fall afternoons. If you prefer to sit outside, there are several tables on the covered porch and also next to the sidewalk along 23rd.

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