At Mix 'N' Match Creamery, the process of getting an ice cream is almost as fun as eating it. After asking what flavor you'd like, a staff member places cream, sugar, and milk in a metal bowl, then blasts the mixture with a splash of liquid nitrogen that creates a sub-zero environment. As the cold, condensed-water cloud over the mixture evaporates, all that's left is wholesome, three-ingredient ice cream. The flavor options that can be added to the mix are virtually endless, as the team blends their many syrups with unique mix-ins, including chunks of cheesecake, bits of bacon, and crunchy Lucky Charms. The resulting treat can be scooped into a cone or waffle bowl to create a dessert that is easily portable and can be eaten in its entirety, much like a tin can of goat food.
Founded by Michele Chirgwin in her kitchen in 1986, Michele's Chocolate Truffles has grown to a staff of 25 chocolate makers producing 35 varieties of truffles and more. The chocolatiers start at 6 every morning, using Guittard Chocolate and a host of other quality ingredients to craft their confections. Michele's most famous sweets, her truffles, come in flavors as varied as amaretto, lemon zest, and pistachio butterscotch (a truffle map can be seen here). Truffle boxes allow customers to mix and match desired chocolaty bites, from as few as four ($10.35) to as many as 20 ($47). Also available are candy bars ($2 apiece), with flavors such as almond coconut and walnut fudge, as well as assorted sweet morsels such as fudge ($3) and peanut brittle ($5.95)—all sure to make babies smile before weeping as adults greedily steal the irresistible candy away.
From buttermilk fried chicken to herb-crusted prime rib, the chefs at Stanford's find a way to add pleasant surprises to just abut every dish they make. The barbecue chicken pizza, for one, boasts a unique buttermilk garlic sauce and each of the wood fire-grilled steaks sails to tables with parmesan potato wedges and a choice of six savory sauces. But little details like these aren't the only surprises on the menu. There's also a selection of sushi rolls, such as the tempura prawn rolls, and walnut-crusted brie with seasonal housemade preserves. The signature cocktails also have their share of surprises: the lavender cosmo comes with an aromatic lavender-sugar rim and the basil gimlet's balanced mix of basil and sour lime trips across the tongue in an unexpected show of herb-fruit harmony.
Elephants Delicatessen has been providing Portlanders with fresh deli fare since the dying days of disco. Items are made from scratch daily, with the menu and prices varying from location to location. A few staples pop up at several Elephants eateries, however—namely, the delicatessen's highly praised soups, including the beloved tomato orange soup ($4.50 for a bowl at the Elephants on Wheels location), said to have the ability to align stars in a single spoonful. An array of sandwiches is also available at Elephants Delicatessen, including an albacore tuna salad mini-hoagie ($4.50 at the three Flying Elephants locations), or the Elephants' Own Hamburger ($8.95 at the NW 22nd Avenue location). Depending on which Elephants you choose to harness with your lunch-grabbing lasso, you can also opt for pizza, spinach salad, a black-bean burger, fish and chips, or a Carolina pulled-pork sandwich. Be sure to check your location's menu before making crazy-eyed demands for lobster-and-squash cookies, which don't exist.
YoTown Caf??s 14 flavors of YoCream frozen yogurt can be mixed with any of the 95 different topping. Guests can also order a Bubble Tea, Stumptown Coffee, and peruse the cereal bar along one wall. The cheery caf? is blanketed in dreamsicle orange and soft green walls and has special pink and blue tables small enough to fit kids and their imaginary lawyers.
At Umi Sushi Japanese Restaurant, chefs busy chopsticks with 14 specialty sushi rolls and a menu of traditional Japanese dishes. Servers stroll through the placid dining room, rescuing empty plates from the clutches of Olympic-discus hopefuls and dotting the yellow tablecloths with appetizers, such as the taco su's octopus, cucumber, and seaweed salad ($7.50). Behind the sushi bar, fresh ingredients merge together to create raw and cooked nigiri sushi ($3.50+), vegetarian maki ($3.50+), and specialty maki, including the dragon roll with eel ($8.95 for seven pieces). The Umi special sauce marinates thin strips of short-cut ribs ($11.95–$13.95), and the Tanshin bento box ($12.50 for a large) partitions teriyaki flavors into culinary cubbyholes. Diners can augment meals with scoops of green-tea ice cream ($3.95) or signal their departure by gurgling imported beer, wine, or sake.