One of our best experiences during this year’s short Portland trip was visiting Salt & Straw. We have our own expensive hipsterish gems in Vancouver like Earnest Ice Cream and Rain or Shine, so Fred and I were curious to see how Salt & Straw compared. (Ivan was just down for ice cream.)
Like many of the restaurants we visited, Salt & Straw is on SE Division Street. And yes, next time we go to Portland, we’ll try to do as we did last time and explore more than just one street for food.
After our dinner at Little Big Burger, we walked down to Salt & Straw were a massive Valentine’s Night lineup was strung along the outside of the storefront.
Once our spot in line moved up closer to the ice cream counter, we scanned the chalkboard menus and admired the decor. While Salt & Straw has fun and quality ice cream, there’s a definite curated feel to the chain shop.
My warm hot fudge sundae.
You can taste as many flavours as you want once you reach the counter, which we took full advantage of. For something as peculiar and strong as honey lavender, sometimes all you need is a little silver spoonful.
While we took our turn taste-testing, we chatted with the friendly ice cream scooper. Tori was upbeat, congenial, and all around made our experience at Salt & Straw so much better. While the quality of food at a restaurant or snack shop is always most important, whenever you receive particularly good service the place becomes that much more memorable. So thanks, Tori, for making our first trip to Salt & Straw a great one! We left determined to come back before we left.
But I haven’t even told you about the ice cream! So let’s get back to that.
I settled on the warm brownie hot fudge sundae with chopped hazelnuts and whipped cream, featuring salted caramel ice cream with caramel ribbons. It was delicious, and if you’re a big fan of sea salt, I’d recommend it.
Fred’s double scoop waffle cone had strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, and double fold vanilla. Ivan’s waffle cone was filled with Woodblock Chocolate’s Single Origins Chocolate, and Coffee Missionary Chocolate’s coconut cinnamon chipotle rocky road–god what a mouthful.
Long flavour names aside, both Fred and Ivan agreed that their ice cream was delicious. Be very careful about picking flavour combos if you get a double scoop, though… I took a bite out of Fred’s strawberry balsamic after tasting my sea salt ice cream, and while I recognized how good the strawberry balsamic flavour, you can imagine how the flavours clashed terribly.
Happy with our ice creams.
Two days later, before we left Portland for Vancouver, we stopped by Salt & Straw again. We wanted more ice cream, and some souvenirs to remember our time here.
Tuesday morning, it was much quieter. Tori was there, and we said our hellos as we picked up our ice cream and souvenirs.
I’m not quite sure it’s worth it to buy souvenirs from trendy restaurants or ice cream chains, but I actually enjoy the artwork on Salt & Straw’s current mugs and so Fred and I purchased one of each available design along with our ice creams. This time, I chose strawberry balsamic with black pepper and freckled woodblock chocolate, both flavours combining beautifully for sweet, tangy, and subtle salty flavours. Strawberry and chocolate is also always a good flavour combo, in my books.
Fred, adventurous as ever, got the same flavours as last time. He claims he knows what he likes and that the balance of flavours and choice of ingredients were so perfect he had to have them again. (He is very passionate about ice cream, I guess.)
Ivan chose to get the same long-named coffee flavour he got last time, but opted to switch the second flavour up with double fold vanilla.
A quiet Tuesday morning.
My ice cream and our souvenirs. Fred’s lion mug on the left, and on the right-hand side, my mug which features an elephant ice cream similar to the lion on its hidden side. Ivan got the Salt & Straw toque.
Chatting with Tori.
Until next time, Salt & Straw! We will definitely be back for ice cream soon. (Maybe in L.A.?)