Baking pastries at Yesenia’s in Hillsboro. See video below.
There’s something wonderful about the aroma of bread baking. Even Franz with its Wonder-soft loaves smells good when the ovens are on. But Mexican bakeries—panaderias—are a whole other world. They use cinnamon, anise and orange in their fragrant pastries, called pan de dulce or pan dulce, filling them with guava, pineapple, coconut and vanilla cream. Savory breads are often stuffed with ham. Cookies even come in the shape of a pig. While every Mexican market in PDX carries these kind of goods, a smaller number make their own breads and pastries. Of these, two are a step above the rest: Yesenia’s and La Espiga Dorada. Don’t be shy. Just follow the grandmother with toddlers in tow, or the day laborer picking up some quick fuel, or the professional getting a box of sweets for the office. Grab a tray and some tongs and load up from the bakery case or the racks. (Hint: Items from the rack are fresher.)
In the wake of IACP, Eat Mobile, and Taste of the Nation, all within a week of each other, I almost missed the publication of Devour, Willamette Week’s annual shopping guide for foodies. Glad I didn’t.
This year’s Devour has to be the most comprehensive guide to markets, bakeries, coffee roasters, kitchen supply stores, and the like ever printed in Portland. And it’s broken down by dozens of categories from “Open Sunday” to “Meat Market” to “Japanese”. And it’s not just a directory; each store gets a small review with recommendations. And it’s free.
There are some places missing here and there (one of which is included below), but I plan to keep it in my car at all times, a cheat sheet to exploring places I haven’t been or finding hard-to-find foods wherever I am. However, I suspect a lot of people will just use it for the markets and shops closest to their homes or offices. Following are 5 reasons to do a little exploring of your own.
It’s spring. There’s popcorn popping on the trees, I’m wearing shorts more than pants, I played my first round of golf in six months, and the Portland Farmers Market is open. Equinox be damned. It’s spring.
I can’t remember better weather for a market opening than we had today. Even with the expanded layout of the market, it was crowded like a summer festival. I saw a woman so excited by beets, she unintelligibly rattled off all the things she was going to do with them. The old farmer in his straw hat just looked at her stone-faced, continuing to stuff the purple roots in a bag.
I got a chance to take pictures of nearly every booth, sample a lot of food, buy a few things, and talk with vendors.
Clockwise: garlic spears, strawberries and tomatoes, spring veggies, cherries
The Beaverton Farmers Market is clearly one of the largest in the area, on most days the largest. Only during a festival does the Portland Farmers Market challenge Beaverton’s on size. And it’s still a very good market. While the percentage of produce vendors may be lower than some markets, there are no craft booths like in Vancouver, Gresham or Eugene. It’s truly a farmer’s market.
I rushed out on Saturday about a month ago before heading to judge a BBQ competition in Aloha. I was hoping to taste bagels from a fellow PortlandFood.org member, “Krunchky”, but he was at a wedding. It was drizzly which made for fewer market-goers, easier photos, and an opportunity to talk with a few of the vendors.
Boones Ferry Berries
Was driving through Westmoreland after an unsuccessful attempt to visit Curds & Whey one afternoon just over a month ago and I happened upon the Moreland Farmers Market. I’d never been, so I stopped. It’s at the corner of 14th & Bybee, just west of Milwaukie, a short walk from Adobe Rose, Oaks Bottom, Caprial’s, and so on. It’s a small market, but diverse enough to make a quality neighborhood farmers market, especially for only being in its second year.
Mini Tarts from Little Pots and Pans
The Hillsdale Farmers Market, one of the few in Portland Metro to run year round, is a great farmers market. Sure, it’s smaller than Portland Farmers Market, Beaverton Farmers Market, and possibly a couple others. But it has its own character and several terrific vendors that you can only find there or who only provide a certain product at the HFM. It’s also on Sundays, a bonus to me since I’ve been doing the deli on Saturdays.
Two weekends ago, I rushed to the market just as it was opening to snap some photos and buy some treats before a noon flight to Chicago. Good thing for my pocketbook I had that flight to keep me from over-buying.
Clockwise from upper left: Gathering Together Farm, Market Gourmet, Misty Mountain, and Osmogaia
Futile hope for a weekend as sunny and beautiful as the week that preceded it got the deli off to a slow start this last Saturday. I took advantage of the situation, shirked my hosting responsibilities at Kenny & Zuke’s, and sped down to the Portland Farmer’s Market. Since starting the deli my Saturdays have been spoken for. I haven’t been since some time midway through last year.
Drizzly and cold, the market was still packed. I tried my best to get photographs of some of my favorite vendors and other vendors that I hadn’t photographed before, squeezing between the shoulder-to-shoulder market-goers.
Following are some of the highlights and lowlights from the market.
Version 2.0 of Extramsg.com’s dining guide and tip sheet for the Portland metro area is finally finished. You can visit it here or by clicking the link at the left under Portland Food News.
The tip sheet has been greatly overhauled. Categories, such as Indian and Sushi/Japanese have been added, but also many of the entries in each category have been updated or completely changed. There’s also a new listing of “Quick Picks” by neighborhood in descending order by price.
Hopefully this tip sheet will help visitors and new residents of Portland — or those looking to expand their culinary horizons. If you would like to criticize or comment on the tip sheet, please follow the link in the dining guide itself.
Coming back from visiting a client in The Dalles last week, I heard on the radio that I-84 was shut down in both directions due to an accident and fire. I needed to go to Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon at 162nd and Glisan anyway to pick up some canned squash blossoms, so I got off at the Wood Village exit and proceeded to Glisan, took a right, and headed towards Portland. A sign caught my eye, though, announcing the “Fairview Farmers and Artists Market”. I passed it — first because I had never heard of Fairview and second because the inclusion of “artists” suggested that it might be more of a crafts fair. But it was a nice day, I had my camera with me, and I hadn’t eaten anything in 24 hours, so I made an illegal u-turn and went back. Glad I did.
I was looking everywhere for fresh squash blossoms, it was Wednesday, I was in Southeast, and so I decided to swing by the People’s Farmer’s Market. When I got there, the street was closed off and kids were playing soccer in the road. They were having a special event, a street party. Cool. I grabbed the camera and spent the next hour tasting, browsing, and chatting. While there isn’t anything truly new from past years’ reports, the People’s Farmer’s Market always deserves to be highlighted. While it’s small, it has more interesting goods per square foot than any other farmers market.