Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A More Perfect Doughnut: Pips
Portland OR

Pip's Owner Nate Snell (right) and employee on a busy morning

Much has already been written about Pip's Original Doughnuts, a small shop on NE Fremont in Portland, Oregon. They've garnered quite a bit of press, and for good reason. 

Pip's has carved out a delicious niche making exquisite little doughnuts. There’s been some talk about whether these little rounds of perfectly fried dough should actually be called beignets. It really doesn’t matter to me what they're called. What does matter is that they rock. But for sake of discussion, I’ll describe them as an elevated take on the traditional doughnut.

Believe me – I’ve torn into more than one bear claw in my day and scarfed my fair share of maple bars. But given the opportunity to enjoy these daintier, more refined doughnuts, I’m all over it. I believe that has a lot to do with their subtly combined flavors. 

Clockwise from top: Meyer Lemon Pear, Nutella, Cinnamon/Sugar, and Honey and Sea Salt doughnuts

I ordered a sampling of four: Meyer Lemon Pear, Nutella, Cinnamon/Sugar, and Honey and Sea Salt. They were all delicious, but, for me, the standout flavor was Honey and Sea Salt  possibly the best fried-dough-thing I’ve ever had (and that includes the beignets at CafĂ© Du Monde in New Orleans). I’m no food critic, but the high-quality honey combined with the just-salty-enough sea salt is sublime. 

Pip's definitely qualifies as a Portland foodie destination, and it’s great place to take out-of-towners that like sweets. Plus, the owner was friendly! No hipster attitude here – just awesome doughnuts.

Pip's Original Doughnuts
4759 NE Fremont #C
Portland, OR  97213

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oregon Garden: Silverton OR

Call me kooky, but I sought out a botanical garden in winter when nothing was growing. Why? Because the weather was spring-like – and so what if the only thing missing were actual flowers?

But seriously, I do find that public gardens (not unlike popular European cities) are better in winter. No crowds, plus during the offseason, you can enjoy the quiet architectural quality of the place rather than the amped-out postcard version. Which is why when the temperature climbed into the high 50s last week, I hit the Oregon Garden in Silverton.

Due to the lack of blooms, the helpful chap at the front desk steered me toward the conifer garden, which looks impressive year-round. Actually, it is pretty darn magical. There’s a wide variety of evergreens ranging from small and cute to large and looming. Some of my favorite trees were the more imposing ones that looked like they were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Against the sun and blue sky, they were quite striking.

I was glad for my starkly beautiful late winter garden experience – since something tells me it will be a very different scene on a sunny Sunday in May.

Oregon Garden 
879 W. Main St. 
Silverton, OR, 97381

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Food for Thought #2

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.

R. Buckminster Fuller