Oregon redux

Made a quick trip back to the Pacific Northwest to drop my son off at college. Some coffee stuff and some non-coffee stuff to report.

One Portland café I regretted missing on our last trip was Coava. They are the roaster that supplies one of my DC favorites, Little Red Fox, and their flagship location was the café visited by Jerry Seinfeld and Fred Armisen on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I visited the outlet on Jefferson Street SW, in the southern edge of downtown. Great coffee, made by baristas who were both friendly and highly knowledgeable.

We stayed near the airport and wanted breakfast and good coffee in the morning without having to drive far. We found both in the Roseway neighborhood, with breakfast at the quirky Cameo Café, which makes delicious traditional breakfast items as well as Korean specialties, and coffee at Kainos Coffee. Kainos roasts their own beans and makes drinks on a beautiful white Rocket commercial espresso machine. It’s the kind of unpretentious neighborhood spot we all wish was near our house.

Unlike my last trip, I found good coffee in Eugene this time. Because we were there between the Friday-Sunday window, this time I was able to get a macchiato at Wandering Goat. Delicious, definitely worthy of the coveted Asterisk of Quality. All ordering at the moment is through the window, but there are tables on the sidewalk and a big shade tree to help take the edge off the industrial neighborhood.

My wife and son visited last year and had gone to a café they liked which they couldn’t find on our last visit. This time we found it, the 13th Avenue outlet of Tailored. Good stuff, and definitely the best to be found within walking distance of the UO campus. My son vouches for the grilled cheese sandwiches from his last visit.

We also very much enjoyed Vero Espresso House. The name suits to a tee, as it is in a beautiful, sprawling, sunshine-yellow house that’s inviting and has a lot of tables out on the big side patio.

We got breakfast sandwiches one morning as well, which were delicious, though it took forever. They kept calling my wife’s name to pick up the order, which would have been great if her name were Deborah. My wife’s name is not Deborah, and sounds nothing like Deborah.

Cartwright?

This time around I also visited Dutch Bros, the drive-through coffee chain which originated in Oregon and has since spread to 470+ locations across the Western US. The menu is pretty heavily tilted toward sweetened flavored drinks, and they don’t have a macchiato on the menu or know how to make one, which was odd as they will ask if you want your cappuccino wet or dry. Ordering an espresso with a little bit of steamed milk got me something that I wouldn’t seek out if there were better options nearby, but was better than what Starbucks serves.

We got a recommendation to try Equiano Coffee, a small roaster that also serves drinks on Friday-Sunday. We didn’t have the time, but will try it next time we’re in town on a weekend.

The one downer of the trip came on one of several runs to buy stuff to fill out my son’s dorm room. I came out of a store to find someone putting a piece of paper under the wiper of my rental car.

So don’t be like the woman who hit the rental car with her truck, got out to look at the damage she caused, and drove away; be like the guy who wrote this note after taking a clear picture of her vehicle and license plate for me.

On our way back to Portland my wife and I did a tasting at Adelsheim Vineyard, where I took the picture at the top of this post. Gorgeous views, great wine. Delightful, and less than an hour from downtown Portland.

My last coffee on the way out was from the airside Stumptown outlet at the airport. Big, busy outlet, and my coffee was surprisingly awful. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that their products suit themselves better to a small café than to a large, high volume/high turnover commercial space. My wife thoroughly enjoyed her coffee from one of Portland Coffee Roasters‘ stands, so that’s probably a much better bet at PDX.

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