Ristretto, the Sequel (Prequel)

In Hollywood, when a film does well, studios rush to produce another one in order to take advantage of the buzz from the first one. Lots of times they just throw something together and figure that you liked the first one enough that you will go see the second. The results are often bad flicks. Weekend at Bernie’s II is a good example of a terrible sequel. Dumb and Dumberer comes to mind too (though you could argue that it wasn’t much of a drop-off). The sequels to Blair Witch Project, Rocky, Police Academy and The Matrix all left something to be desired.

Not every sequel is bad, though, and sometimes they turn out to be as good or better than the originals. The Godfather II, Superman 2, Shrek 2 and The Dark Knight all were improvements on their predecessors.

The question I had was, if Ristretto’s William Cafe was a movie, what would the sequel be like? Would it be like The Empire Strikes Back (good) or would it be like Grease 2 (awful)?. To find out,  I visited Ristretto Beaumont the other day, dressed as Darth Vader (just kidding!).

To be technically accurate, the Beaumont store, located at the corner of Northeast 42nd and Fremont, is the original Ristretto location. However, I had already gone to the Ristretto on North Williams Avenue, so the trip to Beaumont played the role of a sequel.

Ristretto part un

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Heart Roasters

It is rough to live in a place where there is so much quality coffee available. After leaving the Spunky Monkey the other day, I walked around the corner to Heart, a two-minute walk over to Burnside and up a block. Heart opened in October 2009 and is owned by Wille Yli Luoma, a professional snowboarder from Finland who lives in Portland. The contrast between the two cafés was evident.


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Super-Funky Spunky Monkey Coffee

If you are a regular reader of Caffeinated PDX, it probably won’t surprise you that the other morning I left the house without a definite plan of where I was headed (If you’re not a regular reader, you might click on “wandering” in the tag cloud and see what I mean. I tend to wander a lot and have had some very interesting adventures because of that). I knew I wanted to try a new coffee shop but wasn’t sure which one. By habit, I was drawn toward downtown, so I headed for the #19 bus stop. As I was walking along the street, I saw a large pink delivery truck coming towards me. My first thought was “Mmm, Voodoo Doughnuts! I wonder if they’re going to stop in this neighborhood somewhere.” As the truck passed me, however, I was surprised to see that it was not the Voodoo Doughnut truck. Instead, it was the Spunky Monkey Coffee truck.

The Spunky Monkey! I had seen their booth at the farmer’s market at PSU. There was always a long line, though, so I never tried the coffee. Seeing the truck reminded me that I still had not been there and needed to go. Coincidentally, the #19 bus that I was planning to take downtown also swings back out into Northeast Portland close to the Spunky Monkey, so I wouldn’t even have to change buses to get there. It was a good omen—I was obviously meant to go for a visit.

A monk with spunk

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If you happen to be out walking along Northeast Killingsworth Street someday, and the breeze is blowing just right, you might find yourself drawn to a small, white building with red trim and a couple tables out front. From that building, a rich, toasted-sweet aroma pours out onto the street, an aroma so attractive that you cannot help but want to find the source. There is no sign outside to tell you where you are, but you will have just found Extracto, one of Portland’s famous micro roasters.

A humble exterior

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