Eat and Drink Guide Spring 2017
Scientific fact: Everybody loves pie—and the people of Portland are no exception. Since rounding up some of the best pies in the city is not for the faint of heart (or digestive system), I spent several days gorging myself on sweets so you wouldn’t have to. (Poor me.)
Tilt | 3449 N Anchor, 1355 NW Everett
If it’s Portland-style artisan passion you’re looking for, Tilt may not have the pie of your dreams. However, they do have a solid and tasty assortment, including Banana Cream and Marionberry. Whatever you do, don’t miss the standout in their selection, the Mini Hand-Sized Apple Pie which, the evening I visited, sat all alone under a glass cake stand on the counter. I took care of that.
Pambiche | 2811 NE Glisan
Upon entering the cozy Pambiche, I was politely greeted by a tiny selection of pastries. Among their postres
(the Spanish word for dessert) was an empanada: a handheld individual pie filled with sweet guava paste and cream cheese. With guava as a main ingredient, I assumed this dish would be fruity, but instead it tasted fluffy/flaky on the outside and creamy/perfectly sweet on the inside. You know, like a super classy Pop-Tart.
Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery | 1800 NE Alberta
Known for its “handmade sweet and savory pies,” Random Order started as a coffee shop but eventually became a “pie bar” as well, thanks to the owner’s artist friends who all loved to bake. With flavors ranging from Lemon Meringue to Tahitian Vanilla-Sugar Salted Caramel Apple, it was tough to choose from the pie menu’s “Random Classics.” (There was even a vegan option called “Mixed-Up Apple.”) I finally settled on their seasonal selection, Strawberry Rhubarb, as well as slices of Brandied Peach and Bourbon Salted Pecan. Thanks to the richness of the brandy and bourbon, I quickly became drunk on happiness.
According to the friendly staff, two other locally famous pie people trace their humble beginnings back to this restaurant. Eloise Augustyn managed the shop for several years before she branched out to start another beloved Portland pie place, Sweedeedee. And Kate McMillen helped pioneer signature recipes for the restaurant in her earlier career before going solo at another local favorite, Lauretta Jean’s. Speaking of which...
Lauretta Jean’s | 3402 SE Division, SW 6th & Pine
You know a pie joint is serious when you’re greeted by a vintage revolving cake refrigerator. Bringing back memories of pressing my palms against the same kind of machine when I was a chubby kid at the local diner, Lauretta Jean’s felt comforting and evoked an emotional response. Apple lovers will find a lot of variety here, including Heirloom Apple, Apple Walnut, and Salted Caramel Apple, which was the best of the bunch—but hurry, according to staff it might not be around much longer. This seasonal favorite will disappear to make room for spring flavors, such as Rhubarb, coming in the next few weeks. Other must-eats include Chocolate Chess—a creamy mousse-like filling topped by brownie and nestled inside a pie crust—and their cherry pie, which brims with tart goodness. In fact, every option on Lauretta’s menu is as unique as the next.
Ohana Hawaiian Café | 6320 NE Sandy, 10608 SE Main, Milwaukie
“You’re not going to find a better piece of pie in Portland than the Sweet Potato Haupia Pie from Ohana Café,” said trusted friend and local supermodel Ed Schmucker. “All their desserts are made from scratch, in-house.” He wasn’t joking—looking at the pie felt like a spiritual experience. The menu described it as “fresh Okinawan purple sweet potato and a layer of haupia (coconut custard) on a macadamia nut shortbread crust,” and that was exactly what came out of the kitchen. With a thick layer of gorgeous custard cream and perfectly crisped coconut shavings, the Sweet Potato Haupia Pie is everything a pie lover could dream of. Not just for Thanksgiving anymore, it’s a refreshingly different take on the classic dessert. E+D