Salt & Straw

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After stopping at Voodoo Doughnuts, why not wash down your Portland doughnuts with some Portland ice cream? Salt and Straw has four locations, including a cart in Lake Oswego, and scoop shops on Division, Alberta and 23rd… providing close access from anywhere in the city and the surrounding metropolitan area.

My son loves ice cream… what little boy doesn’t, really? But I don’t like him having tons of sugar and corn syrup, so, until Salt and Straw came along, we didn’t go for frozen deliciousness all that often. Salt and Straw—in true Portland, Oregon fashion—creates their ice cream using only natural, organic and local ingredients (when possible)  and produces them in small batches in a sustainable matter. With only seventeen percent butterfat and no artificial sweeteners, this is truly ice cream you can feel good about eating. They use the slogan “farm to cone” and fit right in with this city full of discerning taste buds.

I took my son to the Division location recently and we were greeted by an enthusiastic staff that delighted my son with their immense knowledge of ice cream—and numerous samples for him to try. The shop has the look of an antique farmhouse with concrete floors. A large chalkboard displays their ever changing, seasonal menu which ensures that no matter how many times you visit, you will never have the same experience twice. Did we want the Honey Balsamic Strawberry with black pepper? A large waffle cone—freshly baked—of Coffee and Bourbon? A decadent scoop of Sea Salt and Caramel? The unique flavor varieties were sampled with a smile and we placed our orders and purchased a t-shirt from the display case. My son wanted to put it on right there on the spot, but visions of chocolate and brownie stains— that would never come out with my only minimal laundry skills—danced through my head and I suggested that he wait until we got home.

He agreed, we grabbed our cones, piled with scoops of colorful, flavorful, milk and cream and began to eat.

The flavors cannot be described. The freshness cannot be matched anywhere else. Because there are no artificial additives, the complexity of each individual flavor in the ice cream could be tasted and identified. This is rare in the world of confectionary where, no matter which flavor you prefer, you mainly just taste sugar and a little milk. Not here. I could taste the coffee and bourbon; I could taste the cream, the milk. I snuck a bite of my son’s cone and relished the flavor of fresh baked brownies. Surely this was ice cream we could indulge in guilt free as often as we wanted to.

We ate and enjoyed each other’s company and then, when it was time to go, my son—ever the tenderhearted child—suggested we buy a pre-packaged, to-go pint for mom and sis. The idea of curling up on my couch next to the missus and watching the new episode of Portlandia while enjoying a delectable bowl of ice cream sounded good to me. We picked out a couple pints and some sweet rolls and headed back out into the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon, feeling so very proud to live here.

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