“Portlandia” pokes fun at all things Portland

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“Portlandia,” the six-part mockumentary of our quirky city is yet a mere month away from debuting on cable (Jan. 21, 2011), and the PR is heating up. Portlanders are talking, anxiously awaiting — and already laughing — about the show by Carrie Brownstein, former Sleater-Kinney guitarist (and one-time trainer to my dog at Happy Go Lucky — I’ve got her autograph on my dog’s certificate to prove it), and SNL’s Fred Armisen.

Of course, if you’re making fun of Portland, you can’t let a joke about coffee go by. In the Portlandia trailer/music video on IFC, the cast sing and talk about Portland, where “young people go to retire” and “work at a coffee shop a couple hours a week,” “tattoo ink never runs dry” and “hot girls wear glasses.” OregonLive.com reported in early December that to promote the show, potential reviewers were sent bags of Stumptown Hair Bender as pre-show swag and symbol of this town.

A summary of the six episodes online doesn’t appear to involve any local cafes. But if Brownstein and Armisen continue their Portlandia creative endeavor, here’s hoping a future episode might take place in one of our many great Portlandia-esque cafes, such as Stumptown on Belmont, Fresh Pot on Mississippi or Random Order on Alberta.

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Supporting Portland’s artisan economy this holiday season

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I had to run into the local Whole Foods store on NE 15th
and Fremont last week, and while it’s not a locally owned store, I
have to say, it was pretty impressive to see a whole shelf
dedicated almost exclusively to locally roasted coffee. There were
a number of my faves, like Ristretto, TrailheadCellar Door, and Portland
Roasting
. They even had Allan Brothers from down the I-5 corridor, a blast from my college days past.And  there were also some new names I’d love to try — like Lone Pine Coffee out of Bend and Water Avenue Coffee right here in Portland.

If you want to support Portland’s artisan economy, and particularly our burgeoning coffee roasting community, check it out this season. New Seasons has a similar, though not as comprehensive, offering.

In fact, two of our larger independent roasters made it into Charles Heying’s recently released book, “Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy,” which features a number of local artisan businesses, from coffee and chocolate to beer and bikes.

Trailhead Coffee and Warehouse Cafe focus on community

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A few months ago, a friend encouraged us to get involved with Know Thy Food, a local food-buying coop that brings Portlanders together with local farmers and food producers. We did, and soon after that, found out local Portland roaster Trailhead Coffee had joined the program. What better way to feel good about your part in the community than to buy local, and get some killer, locally roasted coffee beans at a great price?

What’s more, the folks at Know Thy Food (and Portland Green Parenting…the group behind Know Thy Food) opened the Warehouse Cafe in the Southeast Portland Brooklyn neighborhood, where locals can gather for food, coffee and community.

Notes on the Warehouse Cafe…

Where: Located at 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., just a couple blocks up from the Aladdin Theater, the Warehouse Cafe is more than a cafe. They’ve turned an old strip-mall space into a multi-room community center with cafe, classroom and children’s consignment shop, with a warehouse behind it all for the food-buying piece of the operation.

Coffee: There are actually four different coffees available through the various parts of the endeavor. The Warehouse Cafe brews up Stumptown and Trailhead, and the crew at the cafe has been well-trained in the art of barista-ing. Know Thy Food sells Cafe Mam (from Eugene) and Trailhead beans in their weekly bulk-buying business. But, this post is going to focus on Trailhead, since it’s my new coffee crush.

I had heard some buzz about Trailhead on Twitter, where they won the YWCA’s Coffee for a Cause tasting contest in October. And I’d seen their handsome, wooden cargo bike/mobile coffee-stand at the Sunday Parkways car-free biking events. So, when I saw that I could buy a pound of Trailhead espresso every week through Know Thy Food, I jumped at the chance to taste their coffee, and we haven’t been disappointed. Trailhead is tangy with a pleasant-tasting bite, and it brews up nicely in our stovetop espresso maker. The folks at Trailhead describe their small-batch roasting method on their website, as well as the source of their beans — Cafe Feminino, a social program for women coffee producers in rural communities around the world. Love this! Trailhead is in a handful of cafes around town, stores like Whole Foods and New Seasons and delivers by bike through Portland Pedal Power. It doesn’t get more Portland than this.

Cool stuff: Lots of family/kid-friendly events and activities; strong sense of community; connecting local food producers with local foodies.

Not so cool: The cafe is, after all, a warehouse, so bring a jacket in the winter. Milwaukie is a busy street and kind of a pain to navigate for those of us who drive (hats off to all the food-buying friends who come by bike or live in the neighborhood).

Care for some coffee with your veggies?