Everyone knows Portland is a great coffee town—and what goes better with a morning cup, or a 4 p.m. one, than a little something sweet from one of the city's best bakeries? For a bakery to be truly noteworthy, it has to master both sweet (pastries that perfectly balance butter, flour, and sugar to elevate a croissant to something magical), and savory (breads that have strong enough flavors to complement an turkey sandwich, for example). From pies to focaccia, these five standouts are worth breaking any low-carb diet for.
Primarily a bakery specializing in butter-crust pies, Lauretta Jean's (pictured) makes fruit pies, cold meringues, and less common offerings like chocolate chess. Their quiches use the same dough but add herbs to the mix. They also make one of the best biscuits in town—marked by a little crunch on the outside yet fluffy on the inside, served with butter and jam, or as an egg sandwich.
Roman Candle Baking Co.
Right next door to dinner hot spot Ava Gene's, the same owners run a more casual restaurant-bakery with the same rustic Italian goodness. Fans come to Roman Candle to grab a thick square slice of pizza bianca, some focaccia, and the not-to-miss Kouign-Amann, a crackly pastry that's sort of like a round croissant laminated in caramel.
Little T Baker
The motto at Little T Baker is “buns not guns,” and the sunny bakery, with locations in SE and Union Way the West End, serves delicious sandwiches, loaves, and pastries, especially their Jacobsen Sea Salt-dusted brownies. Don't expect a gluten-free option here; their other motto is “flour, science, hands and heart.”
Grand Central Bakery
With locations all over town, and the fact that is supplies bread to many local restaurants and sells loaves at groceries like Safeway, Grand Central might be the most ubiquitous bakery in Portland. But it's a deserved reign, thanks to their tangy sourdough; soft, eggy challah on Fridays, and cookies (the molasses one is chewy and perfectly spiced). You can also buy their frozen pizza dough or cookie dough in stores to bake the goodness at home.
Ken's Artisan Bakery
James Beard-nominated owner Ken Forkish makes amazing French pastries like canneles, eclairs, and fruit tarts, plus unique loaves like French rye, dense walnut, or Raisin-pecan breads and his namesake bakery.
Sarah Z. Wexler is on the Oregon beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in Portland, you can follow her on Twitter at @SarahZWexler.