Sweet Treats at Citizen Baker

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Local writer Erin McKalip wrote an excellent article on BakeryBingo.com about Hotel Eastlund’s Citizen Baker and Altabira City Tavern. Click here to see all of her outstanding photos and access the comments section:

Have you seen those crazy predictions of what Portland will look like in a few years? There was one in Portland Monthly about a year back that had a drawing of the skyline in 2035. It was insane, filled with huge skyscrapers dotting both sides of the river. The biggest change appeared to be in the Lloyd Center and central Eastside areas.

It is sometimes hard to believe how much this city is changing and how rapidly it is growing. Especially as one of the seemingly few native Portlanders, it is definitely a different landscape than even a few years back and with the construction everywhere, it will just continue to expand.

That being said, I totally get why people move here. Portland is a great city after all! And one of the big pluses of the expansion? Better restaurants popping up everywhere you look, even in unexpected areas. One such example: the Altabira and Citizen Baker combo in the beautifully renovated Hotel Eastlund.

Located just a few blocks from the Convention Center and Rose Garden (ok yeah yeah, it’s the Moda Center but some things die hard, like it not being the Rose Garden anymore), these two endeavors by Nel Centro’s David Machado were a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The Lloyd Center area epitomizes the term food desert, with a Denny’s, Red Robin and other sub-par chains, while the rest of the city is a sea of glorious eats.

Altabira City Tavern is the fun rooftop bar and restaurant, great for a business power lunch or evening drinks with friends on a warm summer night. {And on my list of where to eat al fresco this summer!}

Citizen Baker on the other hand is the main-level Portland bakery cafe. It is light and airy with giant windows lining the space. I could easily hang out there all day, starting with breakfast while reading the paper, to popping open my laptop to get some work done over a Heart Coffee Roasters coffee, then moving to a light lunch and a glass of rose with girlfriends.

All the breads are made in-house (and also served at Altabira and Nel Centro), from baguettes to focaccia, so those are a definite must order. My recommendation is the Breakfast Sandwich with fluffy scrambled eggs, melty cheese, and crispy applewood smoked bacon.

While that might be too standard-fare to get you excited, know that it is served on a freshly baked ciabatta. It isn’t overly chewy or crispy making it too difficult to eat your sandwich (#firstworldproblems but still that is real annoying). Instead it is the perfect consistency and just enough bread to offset the richness of the cheese and bacon.

I’m always a sucker for steel cut oatmeal for some reason. Theirs is topped with maple syrup, toasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries.

For lunch time, they’ve got a variety of sandwiches also served on their house Buttermilk Wheat or Levain. For the nearby worker bees, you can pick up grab-and-go salads like Tuscan Kale with Farro, Cherries, Hazelnuts and Aged Ricotta Cheese.

Like any good bakery, they’ve also obviously got a handful of rotating pastries and cookies. Being such a chocoholic, I don’t usually go for the fruit options but last time I was at Citizen Baker, I had to try Lemon Zest Cookie. It was one top-notch choice. Soft, chewy and tart. It was great for a hot day.

This is what the NE Lloyd Center corridor has been needing!

From Bakerybingo.com ● June 30, 2016 ● By Erin McKalip

Top photo by USA Today, Megan Snedden Photography