What I Ate: Portland, OR (Dessert Edition!)

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When I said earlier this week that I did some serious eating in Portland, I wasn’t kidding. I really made the most of my time in Portland and I visited so many restaurants and shops that I had to make a separate blog post just for my desserts! By only getting small plates at the places I ate, I was able to eat more frequent meals, thus trying the most places possible in only 5 days!

Portland definitely has a sweet tooth in it’s system, so there are no shortage of places to get desserts. In fact, there are plenty of places that only serve dessert!

Here are some of the delectable sweets I tried in Portland:

Salt & Straw — Multiple Locations, 2035 NE Alberta Street

An instagrammers guide to Portland will certainly bring you to Salt & Straw, Portland’s homegrown ice cream shop. They use local dairy and fresh seasonal ingredients as the basis of their ice cream, and they’ve got some wacky savory flavors, including fennel & maple, and goat cheese habenero. I sampled a few ingredients and opted for the Strawberry, balsamic and pepper. The balance of the strawberry’s sweetness and the balsamic’s brininess was perfect, and the pepper added just a slight be of hit. My only compliant would be that the ice cream was slightly over churned and served a little bit too cold so it was hard to taste the flavor initially, but overall a delightful experience!

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Petunia’s Pies & Pastries — 610 SW 12th Avenue

A cute little bakery in the heart of the Pearl district, Petunia’s feels like a step back in time to the 1950s. The employees are wearing little candy striper uniforms with an adorable the mint green and pink color scheme on the walls. You walk up to a bar that is filled with glass cloche covered baked goods like pie, cookies and fruit bars. They were out of the pie of the day, so I settled for a cookie sandwich. It was a double chocolate chip cookie with a thin mint buttercream frosting on the inside. Super sugary and rich, I could not have eaten more than one of these and definitely needed a coffee afterwards,  but it was a nice sweet treat for the afternoon.

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Pinolo Gelato — 3707 SE Division Street

Just down the street from PokPok, this is a great stop if you are shopping along Division street. A simple interior, the shop serves up traditional Italian gelato, shovel spoon and all. I didn’t sample any because once I saw pistachio and stracciatella, I knew that’s what I would get. Those were some of my favorite flavors from my trip to Sicily. They were amazing. Better than Portland famous Salt & Straw (at least in my opinion). The pistachio was silky and smooth with that slightly sweet, slightly bitter taste of pistachio. And the dark chocolate in the stracciatella was absolutely spectacular. So bitter and sharp contrasted with the sweet cream ice cream base.

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Random Order — 1800 NE Alberta Street

Portland has a thing for pies. People go out specifically to eat pie, and I passed multiple pie shops, that specialize in one type of dessert. It’s a little strange, but hey, who am I to judge which sugary treat someone prefers? But I figured I should do as the locals do, so I checked out one of these pie places! I settled on Random Order, which was just down the street from my friends house. It is a fairly standard, simple looking coffee shop, but then you see the 3 cases of pies. Yes, three. I’m not a huge fruit pie eater, so I opted for the bourbon pecan pie topped with a house made whip cream. While it wasn’t better than my aunt’s at Thanksgiving, I really enjoyed this pie. The crust was flaky and the sugar level was high, but well balanced with the nuts and bourbon flavor. Plus, the fresh whip cream cut through the sugary nicely.

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Also, you might have seen my post from earlier this week about my doughnut adventures in Portland, but in case not, here is a summary of my stops at Voodoo and Blue Star.

VooDoo Donuts — Multiple locations, original one is 22 SW 3rd Avenue

This place has got wacky doughnut flavors (think cereal or peanut butter toppings) in big portion sizes, but it is a staple of Portland. The originally funky donut place, there is usually a wait for their fried dough, but the experience is well worth it.

Blue Star Donuts — Multiple locations, I went to Hawthrone location

A more simplistic and elevated take on doughnuts, Blue Star is the new kid on the block of the Portland doughnut scene. They offer unique flavor combinations, like blueberry bourbon, and their dough is more traditional. In my opinion, this was my favorite of the two doughnut places!

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Looking for more Portland restaurant recommendations? Check out my “What I Ate: Portland” post for my savory favorites!

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Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

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