Among the quagmires created by the Covid-19 crisis: Many of Portland’s signature dessert shops are closed, just as some of us need a sweets-infusion the most.
But even as Salt & Straw and Blue Star Donuts’ many retail outlets sit quiet, those businesses and many others are working on ways to get their comforting products into our homes.
Here are a few of the many ways Portland’s signature doughnut shops, ice cream parlors and dessert bars are adjusting to the global pandemic.
Salt & Straw
Portland’s most famous ice cream company announced it had closed its 17 scoop shops across the U.S. on March 23, laying off nearly 700 employees. And in tougher news for Salt & Straw’s many fans, the business has never focused on grocery store accounts. But fear not! On the company’s website, you can have a “Seeing Rainbows” pack shipped to your home for $65, with five pints of Salt & Straw’s well-loved, charm-studded Pots of Gold and Rainbows.
Blue Star Donuts
Another Portland brand without a strong retail presence (outside of its own stores, which have been closed since March 16), Blue Star announced Wednesday that they had worked out a deal to bring their glazed doughnuts and new buttermilk doughnut holes to all four Portland-area Green Zebra grocery stores, plus a handful of New Season locations. Look for nine different flavors including lemon-poppy seed, horchata, piña colada with pistachios and blueberry-bourbon-basil, as well as mini vegan cake donuts.
Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai
You might not have put much though to the “& Chai” part of this popular Northeast Portland mini doughnut shop’s name. Until now. After furloughing their entire team on March 16, owners Nate and Jamie Snell began bottling ultra-concentrated versions of their five house chai flavors including vanilla, cocoa and toasted coconut-turmeric, with 10% of sales going to a new fund set up to aid the service industry. Pre-order Tuesday and Friday at 8 a.m. for contact-less pick-up up at Pip’s Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
With their Portland and Lake Oswego shops temporarily closed, NOLA Doughnuts has created a new yeast-raised doughnut recipe with flavors including vanilla, maple and chocolate ganache plus apple fritters and doughnuts holes, which will all be available at Zupan’s Markets as soon as next week. To keep the public safe, the doughnuts are fried by two members of the NOLA baking team wearing gloves and masks, practicing social distancing and sanitizing throughout the day.
This Central Eastside (1670 S.E. Third Ave.) and Pearl District (432 N.W. 11th Ave.) locations of this “mostly raw” plant-based eatery remain open for takeout and delivery with an array of sweet treats, including house-made chocolates, cookie dough bars, chocolate chip cookies and their signature L’il Puddin’ (also available at New Seasons Markets). For April, they’ve made a special lemon crunch cake with cashew kreem, an almond crust sweetened with maple sugar, and topped with shaved coconut and a candied lemon slice. The Central Eastside kitchen is also giving away free meals to anyone in need.
The long-awaited pizzeria from Ava Gene’s chef Joshua McFadden opened early for curbside pickup not long after the novel coronavirus came to Oregon. In addition to its Wisconsin-inspired tavern pies, the restaurant has pastry chef rehired Mason Herbert-Suda to make pints of the upcoming restaurant’s gelato to-go as well as some of Ava Gene’s signature desserts and McFadden’s chocolate chip cookie dough to bake at home. Order online for curbside pick-up in the parking lot next to Ava Gene’s, 3377 S.E. Division St.
This family owned dessert cafe is raising money through $5 gift cards and serving dessert donations to front-line medical workers at police stations, fire stations, hospitals and clinics. Contribute through Venmo (@Aaron-Allina). Memoz has also launched a create your own cookie at home kit with a choice of dough and mix-ins available through local bicycle delivery CCCPDX and GrubHub.
This Vancouver pizzeria (8070 E. Mill Plain Blvd.) is offering its full frozen custard menu for curbside pickup, including sundaes, shakes, concretes, floats and even boozy floats. All (except boozy floats) are available on DoorDash as well. The restaurant is also serving a few fun specials, including the Keep Calm Sundae, with double chocolate-brown butter cookies (also available a la carte), strawberry sauce and smoked marshmallow over vanilla frozen custard, topped with whip and a cherry.
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