With Portland’s profusion of excellent bakeries, it’s easy to get into a squabble by asking people to identify their favorite bakery. One thing’s for certain: Ken’s Artisan Bakery (338 NW 21st Ave., 503/248-2202, www.kensartisan.com, 6 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon., 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.) is always among the top choices for wonderful French-style breads and pastries; the croissants—light, flaky, and crunchy at once—are masterful. At this busy NW 21st Avenue fixture, you can also pick up a freshly made sandwich for lunch (11 a.m.–3 p.m., $5–9), or an espresso and a chocolate chip cookie for an afternoon pick-me-up. Monday evenings only, Ken’s stays open late and serves delectable pizza.
One of Portland’s finest artisanal bread makers,
Pearl Bakery (102 NW 9th Ave., 503/827-0910, www.pearlbakery.com, 6:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) is on the edge of the Pearl District, and its breads are served at many of the city’s top restaurants. However, come to the friendly bakery and café for breads and baked goods that you cannot find elsewhere: dense walnut bread, eggy challah, pain au raisin, flaky Danish, and other delectables from the yeasty realm. Café tables are available in the bakery and on the sidewalk, and sandwiches ($6–9) and coffee drinks are available throughout the day.
A traditional French boulangerie and café for light meals, St. Honoré Bakery (2335 NW Thurman St., 503/445-4342, www.sthonorebakery.com, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) is a neighborhood institution in Northwest Portland. Operated by Dominique Geulin, who grew up in a family bakery in Normandy, this is about as authentic as it gets outside of France. There’s a large selection of breads, including excellent baguettes and a dense pain de campagne. Geulin mills his flour in-house from Northwest-grown wheat, and the bread is baked in a natural clay firebrick oven. Of course, there’s a broad selection of pastries, and the bakery doubles as a café at lunch and dinner, when sandwiches, soups, salads, savory tarts, and pizzas are available ($5–14).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel