St. Honoré Boulangerie is an authentic French bakery (the owner is from Normandy) on the edge of the trendiest shopping area in NW Portland, but just far enough away from the crowds that parking is fairly easy to find. It's comfy with two walls of sliding glass doors, outdoor seating, and lighting that somehow makes the bread, pastry and dessert display look dazzling, like it's on stage.
I was on vacation in Portland and, as a baker, I had a list of a dozen bakeries I planned to try around the city based on extensive advanced research. I fell so in love with St. Honore that I went back 3 times in two days to get all the things I had to try. I had croissants, sandwiches, cranberry & hazelnut roll, bacon roll (OMG), chouquettes and brioche. There was nothing I didn't like, but my favorites were Kouign Amann and the most perfect canales I have ever had. There's a whole subculture in France that describes the way canales must be made--takes days and special molds and beeswax to do it right--and these did not disappoint.
In fact, I thought I had to try the famed Portland donut palace, which has a line 40 tourists deep 24/7…so I went by a satellite in SW Portland my last morning after swinging by St. Honore to get my canales when they finally restocked. After standing in line and watching donuts the size of a toddler's head spinning in the case, coated with Tang and breakfast cereal, I just couldn't work up an appetite for the fried sugar with those canales waiting in my car, so I walked out with no regrets. If there's only ONE spot you can visit in Portland, save your appetite for St. Honoré.
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