Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cartola Cafe

Slowly I'm getting back to my normal life. I was only away for three weeks, but so much happened while I was away (or when I was busy packing the week before) that I feel I have a lot of catch-up.

One of those things is the appearance of a new cafe, just a 4-minute walk from my house. Cartola (it means 'top hat' in Portuguese), named for Angenor de Oliveira, a Brazilian singer instrumental in the development of samba, makes me extremely happy. Ever since Torrefazione closed--four years ago this summer--I've missed having a cafe within walking distance. Yes, there are other cafes in my neighborhood--they just haven't felt like 'my' place.

I think Cartola might finally be the place. They're serving Stumptown coffee and an assortment of Pearl Bakery pastries. First requirement (good coffee and good pastries) fulfilled.

The first time I visited, the owners said they'd had Pearl's gibassiers available when they first opened, but no one ordered them. I expressed my surprise (gibassiers are one of my very favorite local pastries), maybe a little strenuously. Today when I went in, they said they'd be getting them again. I'm taking it as my personal duty to make it worth their while. Anyone who wants to help me in this endeavor is welcome to order them (as long as it's not the last one!).

Cartola is tiny. Outside, the wide sidewalk affords comfortable outdoor seating under a tree. The inside is cozy and classy. Music plays, but it's not loud, and it's music I like. There are two arm chairs by the front window (I know it's barely summer, but I'm already thinking of the winter hours I'll spend in those chairs!), and 4 or 5 marble-topped tables along a long padded bench. Art work and family photos hang above on the wall covered with handsome floral wallpaper. Second requirement (pleasant spot for reading), check. It's the kind of place I will visit often, with friends or a good book.

2723 NE 7th Ave. (just north of NE Knott)
Portland, OR 97212

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