Last month, I got to live my lifelong dream and escape the arctic tundra of DC for the verdant valleys of Portland, Oregon. I’m surprised I made it back to the east coast, but somehow I did and I’m back, and every single day I’ve thought about hopping a flight back to Portland to give in to my cravings for a snack or a sammy from this very locale.
Each day, in between training sessions, we caught bites at Lovejoy Bakers, expertly located just across the street from the studio. Out of convenience, necessity, and also gluttony, I got to test out a good bit of the menu over the course of my long weekend there, and I became full-fledged obsessed with everything they had to offer.
Lovejoy Bakers is a corner cafe and deli in the heart of the Pearl District, a gorgeous area of Portland noted for art galleries, shops, and a speckling of boutique fitness studios, also home to the famous Powell’s City of Books. Pop in for breakfast or lunch, and you’ll find a healthy mix of all kinds of humans, enjoying a wide spread of pastries, sandwiches, salads and soups. With an epic menu of delicious foods to choose from, I drove myself nuts every breakfast and lunch deciding what to select (yep, it was so good I often went twice in one day). The first lunch, I ordered the seasonal turkey sandwich on country loaf with avocado, bacon, house cranberry relish, and mascarpone cheese. Light but filling with all of things I love best on Turkey without overdoing it on the “no-no” toppings, I pretty much inhaled the whole thing in one swoop. I loved the light mascarpone in place of traditional mayonnaise, that allowed the avocado to take the wheel in adding a sense of heartiness to the sandwich. The tangy cranberry relish was just the right amount of zest to keep me interested bite to bite. A+ sandwich, if you ask me. Full disclosure: I spotted this next dish on the menu the very first moment I walked into Lovejoy. After all, it contains my two favorite things rolled into one. However, surrounded by the fittest/prettiest people I’ve ever met in my life, I got cold feet and, as you know, settled in for the turkey sandwich. Which was not a bad call but…
But, by day two, I realized that, while food is fuel, I would really hate myself for not testing it out with such limited time in Portland. After working up the courage to reveal my inner whale to my new friends, I ordered the duck confit banh mi, dressed in typical banh mi fashion with pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and Vietnamese aioli.
I cannot express how much joy this sandwich brought me. I ate in silence in a sea of chatty gals, relishing every single bite, zoning the eff out as I fell into a deep haze of paradise. And then I came back to reality and it was all gone, and I wept. Just kidding, I held it together and no one judged me so it was a good day at Lovejoy Bakers.
My last and final day, after realizing that perhaps duck confit was not the best bet for an afternoon chock-full of exercise, I reverted back to my healthy ways and opted for the smashed chickpea sandwich, served with roasted red peppers, herb salad, and zesty lemon slices on a multi-grain sandwich. Light and refreshing, I actually loved the uber-thin slices of lemon that were incorporated into sandwich, as if it were any old topping, adding tons of fresh flavor to the already delicious smashed chickpeas. Taste-sensitive humans beware, the lemon can be a little too potent if you don’t know what to expect. But I did, and I loved it.
Most notable and not pictured, the steel-cut oats with brown sugar brûlée. I had this for breakfast EVERY SINGLE MORNING and I do not regret it, only regretting that I cannot recreate this dish to enjoy for myself. Ok, realistically, I probably can, but I’m a little lazy and also lack a brûlée-ing torch (late b-day present, anyone?). As you can imagine, it was divine. So divine and untainted that I could not disgrace it by photographing it, the same way Beyonce hid Blue Ivy away from the world for a point in time. JK, I was just hungry and impatient.
Lovejoy Bakers is a slice of heaven on earth. At a single $, when I return to Portland, I’ve gotta have it, especially for breakfast and lunch, which I did basically every single day I was there. So now that I’ve showed you all that you need to know about the world, you have two options: build a second location in DC right next to me right now, or ship me away on an airplane to bring me back already. Choose wisely.
939 NW 10th Avenue