Hello FRIENDS! It's FRI-YAY!
And, it's a Friday before a long weekend, so you know what that means... More coffee AND brunch <3
First things first, how was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? Did you do anything fun to celebrate? J was awesome and woke me up with donuts, coffee, and roses. I mean, how does it get better than having you SO bring you coffee in bed? When he does it with donuts. I, oh so lovingly, got him a card with homemade coupons to eat pizza and play video games without me, no questions asked. I feel like that gift is very apropos.
As I mentioned earlier, this weekend is a long weekend with Presidents Day on Monday, so that means I get an extra opportunity to catch up with some of my girlfriends! And don't get me wrong, you know I love brunch, day or night, but sometimes I just need some variety. Variety in terms of the kind of food, the ambiance, the venue and in how dressed I actually have to get. So, in thinking about where to go this weekend with various friends, I realized I hadn't talked about some of my favorite more casual spots on the blog yet!
And I know you're probably like "Niven. Literally, every coffee shop in Portland has food." And you'd be right. But what you don't know is which are the good coffee shops and what about them is good. Luckily, you don't have to worry. I've taken it upon myself, through trials and tribulations, to find those great spots and share what's what.
So today, I’m covering two charming coffee + brunch spots that I would go to anytime, with any of my friends or fam. Are you ready?
Jim & Patty’s
If you’re looking for a truly great cup of coffee and seriously delicious housemade pastries and baked goods, and a casual spot to relax for a minute, I can’t think of a better spot than Jim & Patty's. Perfect for a casual morning meet and greet, or somewhere to take the kiddos for a croissant and hot chocolate, Jim & Patty's is a family run coffee establishment by none other than… Jim and Patty.
Started in the early 2000s, Jim and Patty have been around in the Portland coffee scene for quite a while. Before opening up their current three locations in Portland and Beaverton, they were the founders of THE local coffee establishment in Portland, before coffee shops were cool. What am I talking about? Good ol' Coffee People - Portland’s own original version of Seattle’s Starbucks. And before that? Jim and Patty were THE couple selling coffee at the farmers market back in 1974! So they truly understand coffee and are some of the founding members of the Portland coffee scene.
And that’s honestly one of my favorite things about Jim & Patty’s - they’re the original, 100% local, and 100% Portland. That, and the pig newtons. You really can't go wrong with the pig newtons.
Now, don't get me wrong - you can get a good mocha in Portland at a number of coffee shops. What you can’t get is a pig newton, one of J&P’s classic savory breakfast items AND a really great mocha. A pig newton is a classic at Jim and Patty's. It's is a housemade biscuit with two classic sausage links stuffed inside. Now you might be thinking “well I don’t eat sausage, so this is useless to me” but you’d be missing out. With a full breakfast menu of gratifying breakfast sandwiches, this spot is great for all your coffee, tea, breakfast/brunch needs. Whether all you want is a single cup of coffee and a muffin or a full brunch entree with house-made biscuit sandwiches. AND, even better, they have solid gluten-free and vegetarian options!
Another awesome thing about J&P's is the staff. The team at each location are beyond friendly and become familiar faces if you frequent the establishment enough. I think they're so nice because they're treated like family by Jim and Patty and that translates into their business. You won't find nicer baristas, with bigger smiles than here.
So, if you’re looking for a spot to connect with your partner over a pig newton and a cup of coffee, or somewhere to settle in and read a book, I highly recommend you check them out. It’s our go-to spot when we’ve got a day of errands and to do’s ahead of us. Heck, we love J&P's so much, we hosted a morning after "coffee date" with our friends and family after our wedding at one of their coffee shops!
Order Recommendations: Try a Malted Mocha or Velvet Hammer with Hemp Milk, and a Pig Newton. If you’re extra hungry, The Dancing Goat sandwich is my go to!
If you’re in the mood for a spot with a view, I definitely suggest heading over to Upstream Coffee & Eatery. Located right on the Portland waterfront, Upstream has a killer view of the harbor, really good coffee and ON POINT avocado toast. If it's nice outside, you can grab a cup of coffee and walk up and down the promenade to get solid views of the Willamette and take in the profiles of three of four Portland’s bridges! And if it's not nice out, you should absolutely still visit, and take a seat inside of cafe at one of their beautiful natural wood tables and take a look out the window at the harbor, while sipping on a delicious golden milk latte or salted caramel latte.
In terms of coffee, Upstream uses Stumptown beans, so you’re getting a true Portland experience in every cup. And if you don’t like coffee (who are you?!) they have quite a few delicious alternative drink options like golden milk lattes, matcha, smoothies, tea, etc. And they’re latte art is solid.
J and I took Gus down there for an adventure last weekend, got ourselves some mochas with alternative milk - Upstreams S’mores Stout Mocha with coconut milk for J and a Salted Mocha with coconut milk, extra hot, for me. And then we ordered two avocado toasts and one ricotta toast with egg and prosciutto. Both our coffees and toasts we made by the owner with precision and served up beautifully on a wooden serving board. Both aesthetically pleasing and tasty!
We took our meal board outside, even though it was still only 35 degrees, to enjoy the sun and take in the sights. We sat at one of the many picnic tables hosted by Upstream on the promenade and we ate, talked and people watched as we sipped on our coffees. Oh, and we, of course, snagged a dog treat inside for Gus, so he was happy too.
Once we demolished our breakfast toasts, we dropped off the serving ware inside and headed along the river for a walk. You can walk along the water all the way from Upstream to Tom McCall Foundtain and back fairly easily, with plenty to see and enjoy.
Order Recommendations: While we didn’t order a turmeric milk mocha, I’ve heard amazing things. And definitely get a breakfast toast - either the ricotta or avocado are delicious!