A Sweet Sunday at Little t Baker in Union Way
I’m finding more and more as I get older that I have a particular taste in places I like to hang out. I want the space to be relatively well lit with decent natural light, or at least some unique and charming indoor lighting. That might be because I know what horrible lighting can do to a photo-shoot you are dying to come out perfectly. I prefer the environment to be relatively quiet and mellow. I want there to be less than ten people inhabiting the space, besides employees. I’d like to be able to go in and read a book or do some work on my laptop while being undisturbed for the most part. I do realize that this is asking a lot out of a place, but it really just puts limitations on myself. If I leave my apartment I want to go to a place that is relaxing.
Jade shares these sentiments with me. I don’t know if it is the age we are, the type of people we are, or maybe the influence we have had on each other. But the thought of going to hang out at a noisy bar with thirty plus people, drinking and being rowdy sounds completely stressful. Don’t get me wrong though, I have been to those places and had an okay time. I have a better time when all of the aforementioned qualities are just right and I get to relax. I think we found all of those qualities in the Union Way location of Little t Baker. We’ve gone to the other Little t locations in Portland before on occasion, but this one is particularly is special to us, set inside the indoor/outdoor setting of the little esplanade across the street from Powell’s Books.
Little t bakes all of their own artisan breads, sweets and treats on top of brewing pour over. We went in to get away from the hustle and bustle of being on our walk downtown and it turned out to be exactly where we needed. We ordered a pear turnover and cup of coffee. The turnover was perfectly baked: crispy on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside with the pear not being overly sweet. The best part of the shop for me though is that it’s no bigger than a few hundred square feet, with very limited seating and just a few tables. The word I would use to describe it is quaint. For a group of five or more it would be inconvenient and cramped. Luckily being the couple we are, we found no qualms with its size. In fact we revelled in its petiteness. It made me feel like I was right back in Paris again. The only thing that was missing is a couple of cute little Frenchie pups hanging out for me to pet.
I chatted with Steven Massey, the overseer of the shop, about how and where the bread and treats are baked. He told me that the majority of it is made across town at their larger location and then delivered fresh every single day to the shopfront in Union Way. After we enjoyed and completely demolished our turnover he recommended we try the pumpkin tart, which I knew I couldn’t say no to. It was savory and sweet, the perfect combination which reminded me of winter time in Oregon. Our take home from this experience was Little t’s house made focaccia bread. We would have gotten the olive focaccia, but the last one was bought right out from under us! Regardless of not getting our first choice, the plain focaccia was exquisite with its crusty outside and perfect soft middle. I’m sure I would buy bread from Little t Baker everyday if I could, and spend every weekend inside eating pastries.