Portland: The City for Coffee, Tea and Walking

 

 

Portland is a great place for a weekend getaway. We chose Portland because we enjoy a walkable city. The weather was comfortable with warm temps and sunny clear skies just perfect for walking.

We always make it a point when visiting a city to check if there’s a  Free Walking Tour.  Portland does have a free walking tour and we highly recommend it.  This tour is worth the 2 hours. Eric was our guide and we thoroughly enjoyed his humor and knowledge about all things Portland. He also recommended a few of his favorite restaurants and coffee shops. After our lunch at the Adler St. Food Cart Pod, we decided to check out the coffee shop he recommended.

 

He prefers coffee and I prefer tea

Spellas Caffee is a tiny cafe that could easily be missed if you didn’t know it was there. There are 2 cafe tables outside and a pretty small retail space inside. There’s only space enough for 2 -3 people inside. But don’t let the size deter you. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeated the cafe. I loved the beautiful chandelier creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I felt I was in an Italian cafe. My husband is the coffee drinker in the family. He ordered his usual cafe mocha while I quickly noticed the gelato case. I decided to pass on the coffee and order a scoop of gelato. The barista suggested I order an affogato. Oh. Ok, but I went with it. I am so glad I took her suggestion.  The strong espresso combined with a scoop of gelato was a delicious combination. Instead of adding milk or cream to my coffee I had a scoop of luscious creamy vanilla gelato.  From now on it will be hard to drink coffee any other way.

affogato: an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream over which espresso has been poured. The affogato can be sipped slowly or eaten with a spoon and is a great way to enjoy dessert, coffee, and an after-dinner drink all in one.  wikipedia

Spella Caffe owner, Mr. Spella has crafted the art of preparing espresso. He has spent his life acquiring techniques in bringing the best cup of espresso to his customers. The next time you’re in downtown Portland get the tastiest espresso and treat yourself to an affogato.

Spella Caffe -Downtown Portland OR

 

Sometimes the location isn’t everything

Yelp is a great app to search for anything I’m looking for. We searched for a tea shop and I was surprised there were several choices for tea shops. We decided on a tea shop just outside the downtown area.  We were lead to an obscure industrial area.  I was a little skeptical until we drove by and saw the outside of the shop. Don’t judge a shop by its location. I immediately loved the way the exterior looked with its brick walls and all the greenery surrounding it. It looked very English. I walked in and knew I was going to have a great cup of tea.

Steven Smith Storefront

Steven Smith’s Teamaker is a small and quaint tea shop.  The decor was simple with shelves neatly lined with a wide choice of teas. There were a few tables where people were enjoying a pot of tea and reading the newspaper. We sat down at the counter and looked over the menu to select our tea. Green, Black, Oolong in every variety you could imagine. All the teas blends have numbers and a name. I selected an imported tea, #47 called Bungalow. It’s a Darjeeling tea. The black full leaf tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains. The teamaker prepared my pot of tea and served it in a simple teapot with a large porcelain cup and a tea biscuit. It was a soothing and flavorful tea. I imagined I was in England somewhere having afternoon tea.

 

This tea shop has more than meets the eye

The building is a 100-year-old blacksmith shop. The founder, Steven Smith, was a native of Portland and a leading tea entrepreneur. They have a second location where they hold tours, classes, and events surrounding tea. I love that this shop sees tea as more than a beverage. It’s a culture.

My favorite part of traveling is finding local shops such as these in seemingly hidden places.

What obscure shop or place did you find on your travels?

High Tea with a Purpose

Directions for brewing the perfect pot of tea.

Boil a pot of water. Pour it over a spoonful of tea leaves in a beautiful teapot. Then steep for 5 minutes. Pour it carefully into a china teacup. Serve it with baked biscuits and muffins along with freshly made lemon curd. It’s time for high tea.

One of my pleasures in life is having friends over for tea. It’s always a relaxing time sipping tea and doing what girls do best – share their stories. Or as we say here in Hawaii, talk story. My guest for this tea party was my friend Trudy who just returned from her travels to Europe.

Trudy brought back tea from London in a beautiful commemorative tea tin. With a wedding picture of Prince Harry and Megan on the front. It was almost like having high tea with them both. I wish that were true.

Royal tea from Prince Harry and Meghan Markel

High Tea with a purpose

I purposely planned this high tea time for Trudy. I wanted to hear all about her travels this summer and I love a good travel tale.

We ate biscuits smothered with lemon curd and drank our special royal tea. I listened and imagined I was there with her. From London to Prague to Budapest to Rome and not in that order. And did I skip a few countries?  She shared many wonderful stories and lots of photos.  Another pot of tea, more biscuits and more travel stories. Where did the time go? We needed more time. There were many adventures she still hadn’t shared. We would have to get together again to hear the rest of the stories.

After several hours we found out we had more in common than our love for traveling. We both had blogs, but we weren’t blogging.  Trudy just returned from a blogging conference in Prague and it encouraged her to get active with her blog. That got me excited to get serious about my blog. We decided to meet again the following week to work on our blogs. And we continue to meet every week to encourage each other and share our challenges and triumphs with our blogs and our lives. Here’s Trudy’s blog site www.travelboomers.com

Do you have a blogging buddy that can encourage and urge you to keep blogging?

 

My love for baking

I went on a gluten-free diet several years ago. And that changed how I cooked. Especially my baking. I don’t have any gluten issues. It’s just a choice I made after researching the effects of gluten on your digestive system and overall health.  Since then I have collected and made recipes using gluten-free flours and natural unprocessed sweeteners.  It’s been fun experimenting with coconut, almond, rice, buckwheat, and tapioca flour and the list goes on. I hope you will make some of these gluten-free recipes we enjoyed at our high tea party.

Daryl's tea table with Trudy
Homemade gluten-free lemon curd, biscuits, and muffins.

Menu*

Black English Tea

Gluten Free Biscuits

Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries

*Click on the links for the recipes. Thank you to the creators of these tasty recipes.