Ken’s Artisan Bakery

I spend a lot of time fantasizing about what it would be like to live in Paris, but when my cup of Stumptown coffee, the Sunday NY Times and I claim a seat at Ken’s big wood communal table and I tear a smoldering pain du chocolat from limb to limb, watching the warm chocolate ooze out from between the buttery fluttery layers of pastry, I’m thinking there’s no place like Portland.

Even if I had the chance to move to Paris, how could I ever leave Ken’s?!

High ceilings, rustic hardwood floors and spotless walls of windows give Ken’s an airy cheery feeling even on the most dismal of days. It’s hard to concentrate on the newspaper when the lazy rivulets of rain on the glass remind me of the shiny sugar icing on Ken’s sweet sandy nutty hazelnut cake, and I find myself daydreaming about the jambon sandwiches–with their shards of dry smoky ham and thick shavings of gruyere cradled in a butter-lined slab of crusty fresh baked ficelle.

dessert-3-illustrationI tuck into my lemon meringue tartlet last, gently plucking off each golden meringue tip before biting through the thin butter crust into the sweetly tart and impossibly silky lemon cream. Before heading home, I’m sure to order a half dozen dusty pink rosewater macaroons, a slice of pear frangipane tart, and a fresh loaf of walnut bread to go.

And clear your calendar for Monday nights, Ken’s keeps the ovens on late, turning out delicious thin crust pizzas for an appreciative crowd. Go early or be prepared to wait a while.

Sacre bleu! Even if I had the chance to move to Paris, how could I ever leave Ken’s?!

Details

Cuisine: Bakery

Owner: Ken Forkish

Atmosphere: Light, airy, cheery, bustling neighborhood bakery

Outdoor seating: Yes, a few sidewalk tables outside along NW 21st and NW Flanders

Best Seat: Depends on your mood. An intimate conversation with a friend/lover—grab the two-top in the far NW corner by the window. Feeling social—take a spot at the communal table. Beautiful day? Grab a seat outside, or next to the open window.

Noise Level: Energetic, but conversation can largely be conducted in a normal tone

Dress Code: Casual

Bring the Kids: Yes

Bathrooms: Yes, they are shared with the entire building so you must get a key and ask to be buzzed in, then walk around the counter and out the back, and through the door to the right.

Parking: Free but hard to find on surrounding side streets, either get lucky or be prepared to drive around a bit

Beer: Yes, served in the afternoon and on Monday pizza night.

Wine: Yes, served in the afternoon and on Monday pizza night.

Corkage: $15 per 750 mL

Coffee: Stumptown

Tea: Tao of Tea

Ideal Meal: For breakfast, a chocolate croissant and a Stumptown cappuccino. For lunch, a jambon sandwich, salad, and a cup of one of Ken’s delicious soups. For pizza night, a spicy soppressata pizza and a Caesar salad.

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Dining Solo, Kids Included, Out With Friends

Reservations: No

Take-Out: Yes

Delivery: No

Wi-Fi: No, but you can usually pick up a nearby signal

Deals: On pizza night, don’t forget to ask for your free loaf of that day’s leftover bread with your check, they will let you pick any loaf!