1603 NE Killingsworth St. – Portland
I’m pretty sure there is no bakery that sees my face more often than Seastar. But here’s the crazy thing: I don’t typically end up with a cookie or pastry when I’m there. Totally unintuitive, I know. This is not because the cookies and cakes and muffins aren’t good (they are!) but after filling myself with thick amazing corn durham toast (all of their breads and baked goods are made with flours that they mill themselves from several different types of whole grains sourced by local growers – a labor definitely worth their efforts, imo!), plus an egg – and also seasonal vegetables – both of them cooked in their beautiful wood fire oven, and also a side of tahini…and honey and butter – and 3 cups of coffee, I’m too stuffed for cookies and cakes and muffins.
Last weekend, however, I stopped in for breakfast with my brother on our way out of town heading up to Seattle and bought one of these butterscotch numbers that I’d actually been peeping for the past few weeks – a relatively new addition to their lineup. (He is possibly as cookie-curious as I am, something I think I’ve mentioned before). We tossed it in the backseat of his car for a future snack during our 3 hour drive.
Which we did – somewhere around Centralia, WA. And here is the upshot: this is the first public cookie I’ve eaten in months that moved me enough to write about. Which justifies my lack of a single new post in nearly 10 months, but is also the absolute truth.
Here’s what I want to tell you:
• The butterscotch flavor (aka brown sugar and butter, aka one of the very best combination of ingredients ever invented in the history of the world) is present and accounted for. Assertive, in a good way. Who has time for an unassertive cookie?
• Firm and slightly crispy along the circumference – soft and perfectly underbaked in the center.
• Butterscotchness enhanced by a thin drizzle of butterscotch sauce atop.
• Additional and unexpected embellishment: a sprinkling of finely ground coffee (or espresso?). Nice move, guys. This really pulled it all together quite nicely. I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own but I’m for sure stealing that idea.
Cheese & Crack Snack Shop
22 E 28th Ave – Portland
Here’s what’s in it:
• chocolate chips, oats, coconut, dried cranberries, black sesame seeds, rainbow sprinkles, olive oil, sea salt.
I am not going to tell you this cookie is phenomenal, but it IS good enough that I’d get it again. I’ve been loving sesame lately, been thinking about how to up its role in desserts (ice cream, cake, etc.). So big points right off the bat for the seeds. As for the
Grano Bakery & Market
1500 Washington St. – Oregon City
Brand new excellent bakery alert: Grano opened about a month ago, in downtown Oregon City. As I posted on my March 10th FB review of the place in which I mention their great bread, bread pudding, bostock…did I mention AMAZING bread, this place is completely worth the drive from Portland. (I can count on one hand the amount of FB reviews I’ve bothered to give or even thought about giving so, seriously: heads up on this one!)
Little T Baker
NE 24th and Sandy – Portland (inside Providore Fine Foods) & 2600 SE Division (main bakery location)
The fact that there are a mere 3-4 other peanut butter cookies on Carpe Cookie is not an accident. As I mentioned in at least one of those reviews, I find it hard to get excited about a PBC. They’re typically bland and flat-tasting, not salty enough (for the love of George Washington Carver, peanuts need salt!) and often greasy. Just not my thing.
Eltana Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe
4 locations – Seattle
I didn’t go to this place looking for a cookie. I mean it’s a bagel joint – a step above the typical bagel bakery offerings with things like fava bean spread and shakshuka on the menu (check it out) – but still, not a place I was expecting to find a remarkable cookie.
And then I remembered that, historically, some of my favorite cookies ever were found when I wasn’t looking for them, like at grocery store bakeries and taquerias and throwback 1990’s coffee shops.
I’ve been on sort of a tahini/sesame jag recently (fyi: a little swirl is so nice on vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of honey and salt), so I didn’t think twice when I told my bro to grab this tahini cookie when we were ordering our bagel lunch – the only cookie (or any kind of dessert, I think) in the entire place.
Conclusion: It was not a mistake! Okay, so imagine the sort of peanut butter cookie that is made mostly of peanut butter, held together with a little flour and sugar and (maybe?) eggs. And salt. (Salt is a must, especially in a nut/seed heavy cookie. I cannot say this too many times. This one could have used more, imo.) It’s that same sort of dense, protein-y texture as that cookie, but sesame-y instead of peanut-y (obvs). With even more sesame seeds sprinkled atop, as your eyes can see. You could eat this cookie in place of a protein bar and not feel like you were lying to yourself. No joke.
Points to Eltana for their out of the ordinary offering.
1603 NE Killingsworth St. – Portland
This is really more like a tiny cake – or a “cake-let” – than it is a cookie, if you want my opinion. (And if you’re reading this, you clearly do want my opinion.) No, I cannot back up that declaration academically. All I can tell you is that when I think of a molasses cookie, this is what comes into my head. Or this. Or anythingI’ve written about under the “ginger molasses” pull-category over to the right.
Sweet Life Patisserie
755 Monroe St – Eugene, OR
My 2-3x/year trips to Eugene are nearly always capped with a stop by Sweet Life on my way out of town. By “nearly always” I mean always.
And not for nostalgia’s sake. Yes, I (more or less) lived in that city from the moment I left my mama’s womb to the time of my first legal cocktail, which I’m just now for the first time in my life
Whole Foods Market*
NE 15th and Fremont St. – Portland
*my review pertains to this specific Whole Foods only because, in fact, not all WF cookie bakers are created equally. (I’m talking to you, WF @ NE 28th and Burnside. Over-baking your cookies and then wrapping each one up in Saran? Stop it.)
What is happening to my mouth? I suddenly crave snickerdoodles regularly. For the first time in all my cookie-eating years.
6839 SE Belmont St. – Portland
Coquine is a (relatively) high end, full service restaurant at dinner time, featuring seasonable and sustainable food in a lovely, comfortable setting. It is situated in an otherwise residential neighborhood next to Mount Tabor in SE Portland.
2420 N. Proctor – Tacoma, WA
Here’s something sad: I recently realized I had not been moved to write about any new cookies I’d met for over TWO months. Not since that almond-y beut in Oakland.
Here’s something not sad: Then one day this ace of a chocolate chip number showed up in my life.
They call it, simply, “The Cookie.”
3265 Lakeshore Avenue – Oakland, CA
Approximately $1.30 (Sold by the pound – by I forget exactly how much.)
I keep forgetting to tell you about the last great cookie I ate!
I was at my brother’s house in Seattle over a month ago – the same day he brought it back from a trip to SF/ Oakland along with a few others from the same bakery. Everything he’d
Food Front Coop
2375 NW Thurman Street – Portland
(Find it in the self-server pastry case in the store’s deli area.)
Okay, I know. Vegan. If you’re scrunching your nose right now you need to get over it and just don’t worry. Everything is fine. It is more than fine. Because no joke, this cookie is better than approximately 85% cookies I come across in the world, vegan or otherwise.
This is why.
Le Cookie Monkey
1902 NW 24th Ave – Portland
It is currently ONE HUNDRED DEGREES straight up – on the last day of July in Portland. I am too stoned out on the heat to provide a nuanced description on this one and, frankly, kind of can’t believe I had the fortitude to seek this one out on my way home just now.
2940 NE Alberta – Portland
Q: Why is it that a taco joint is completely NAILING chocolate chip cookies?
Stella makes exactly one* baked good and they make the $*!% out of it.
Somebody in that kitchen, clearly, is a cookie scholar – and is managing to get these gems under a glass dome at the cash register on a regular basis. (I’ve seen them every time I’ve been there, with maybe one exception when they’d sold out.)
3402 SE Division. Portland
First thing’s first: it’s not really a “gingersnap.” This is not a criticism; most days I would rather eat a soft, chewy ginger molasses cookie than a crispy, brittle one. (Not that a very good gingersnap doesn’t have its place in the world. It totally does.)
That being said, while not necessarily an earth-shattering ginger molasses, it is certainly a solid option – not shy on spice and flavor and overall pretty satisfying.
Note: I thought it tasted even better two days later than it did freshy-baked. Only a well-made, not over baked cookie will pass this integrity/longevity test.
5051 SE Hawthorne Blvd – Portland
This one was a crapshoot. I honestly could not tell by looking at it whether it was going to be a delightful cloud of lemon, toothsome chewiness – or a tragically dry, biscuit-y disappointment.
Grand Central Baking
Portland & Seattle – various locations
There are two Grand Central Cookies that I’ve loved for ages: Triple Chocolate and Oatmeal Raisin. I return to them again and again. And again. These are staples in my Portland cookie circuit; they are consistent, solid, always pleasing.
Café at Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd – Los Angeles
Had a work/fun trip to LA last week for a few days and was put up in this Koreatown hotel for one night. I knew nothing about the place before I showed up so I was bummed that I’d made plans to meet my friends at The Ace for drinks instead of insisting they come there. I mean, The Ace is…