Today in Portland, it’s was hot. And sunny. And my day off. So what a better way to celebrate than to throw on my straw happy hat and jump on my bike for a ride around the city with Tim, with no particular destination in mind. First things first, I brewed a large batch of iced tea, in a large mason jar obviously (it’s Portland), and drank it. Then we were off! Pedaling our way through the neighborhoods headed in the direction of nowhere, it wasn’t until we’d stumbled upon the Alberta neighborhood way up north that we knew we were in for something good. Real good.
It’s called Salt & Straw, and yet it’s a local ice cream parlor having seemingly nothing to do with either salt or straw. Except maybe the salted caramel used in one of the flavors? Maybe there’s a catchy backstory, or some deep meaning behind it. Anyways, it seems like every local company is going with alliteration these days in Portland: Salt & Straw, Plate & Pitchfork, Cloth & Canvas. Aside from the name and the fact that you should expect to pay the same amount for one ice cream cone as you would a pint of Ben&Jerry’s, I really have nothing bad to say. In fact, I must admit I’m quite envious of it all. If you check out their website, saltandstraw.com, you will read about how they started from a bike cart and an idea and turned it into a successful and fulfilling business. On the website you can also check out their seasonal flavors, all made in small batches using seasonal and local purveyors almost exclusively. It’s quality, truly, and that is what you are paying for.
Is it all worth it? I think so. After sampling about five flavors (there’s no limit on sampling, mind the lengthy line of annoyed fanatics behind you) and chatting a bit with the very friendly staff, I made the toughest decision I’ve made in a long time. I chose one flavor: pear with blue cheese. Blue cheese? In ice cream? YES. And it was amazing. The flavor was mostly creamy pear, with small pieces of blue cheese and candied pear mixed throughout, so it wasn’t overwhelmingly stinky like you might be imagining. It actually reminded me of this amazing salad with pear and blue cheese that my mom often makes. Being the emotional wreck that I am, I always have time for nostalgic moments.
Although the ice cream was quite soft and melted quickly in the heat, I left feeling very satisfied with my choice and experience at Salt & Straw as a whole. When it comes to grassroots food pursuits, you can count me in.