A Few of Our Favorite Things in Portland

We always try to buy from local businesses, but there are also times when we are pleasantly surprised to find a larger company that has the best interest of their clients and or the world/environment in mind. In fact, when we find a place we get this feeling about we are extremely loyal to these businesses, large and small.

Because we love our clients too, we want to make sure and share a sampling of our favorite things or places here in Portland. Places where we feel like the business owners truly care about the services and products they put out and the way they treat their customers. We enjoy these places and we hope you will, too. But we’d also love to hear about your favorite places as well, so feel free to leave a comment, telling us about your favorite local business (large or small) and why you love them.

BQ’s Best Grocery in Portland

Who doesn’t like Trader Joe’s, right? But did you know that they go above and beyond for the concerns of their customers? While we were at Trader Joe’s one day, we had the pleasure of speaking to one of their associates about finding white beans with a lower salt content, and to our surprise he produced a seven page list of all the products they have that are low in sodium, listed by section of the store. We already shop there because they make buying organic affordable and they have such a great variety of products, some of which you can only find there. But being able to not only answer our concerns about the sodium in the white beans but to then produce a list that guides us to the lower sodium items throughout the store– was just above and beyond!

BQ’s Best Tea Shop, Portland

For magnificently fresh and interesting tea blends — that we adore, try Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants. They get teas made in small batches so their stock changes very regularly and is always very fresh. You can go into their shop and try the teas before you buy, they will brew you a cup any of the teas they sell.

Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants
724 Northeast 22nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 236-3539

BQ’s Best Chocolaterie in Portland

For magnificent chocolates we recommend you pay a visit to Alma Chocolates, a small locally owned business with, quite literally — a heart (or two.) In fact, they have several heart designs both the more traditional love sentiment and a more biologically correct looking version (though encrusted in gold flake) actual visit.

Alma is Fair Trade-friendly chocolate, as they use single-origin chocolate (which often makes it simpler to trace the cacao’s source) and organic ingredients (there is currently no organic chocolate being produced along the ivory coast — the region where the majority of slave and child labor practices produce a significant portion of the cacao used to make commercial chocolate .)

From their site:

Alma Chocolate uses fresh, single-origin and organic ingredients to make chocolate
you can believe in. For our handcrafted confections, we use real vanilla, fresh herbs,
and organic butter and cream, with no additional oils, fats, preservatives, or artificial
flavors. No two batches of our exquisite chocolates and candies are exactly alike – they
are as individual and unique as the people who enjoy them.”

Our favorite is, what we lovingly refer to as crack, is their almond and ginger toffee dipped in dark chocolate. They sell this by the pound. Besides the hearts, they also make religious icons covered in edible gold. You will not be sorry you visited the shop. Stop by and enjoy a small cup of drinking chocolate — the kind they drink in the movie Chocolat — heaven!

Alma Chocolates
140 Northeast 28th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97232
(503) 517-0262

BQ’s Best Kitchen Supply Shop, Portland

A great place to buy anything and everything that you need for your kitchen is, locally owned, Kitchen Kaboodle. They have multiple locations around our fair city, which means I keep finding things I didn’t even know we needed — like a carrot peeler with 3 blades, so you can peel faster. But the thing we love most is that they stand by their products, and their employees.

When the economy went south, instead of firing people, they cut hours to 3 days a week in order to cut costs without cutting jobs and they lowered the cost of their products — to help their customers. Once things started to get better, they increased employee hours back to full-time, but continued with the lower prices. They even carry some
dining furniture, some very nice, high-end stuff, check it out sometime.

BQ’s Best Nursery in Portland

For spring planting there is of course The Portland Nursery, with several locations
around town. Not only can you find just about any plant you might think of, including
vegetable starts, but you can also get wonderful advice from their experts, from why
your plant is dying to how to improve your soil for a better result with your plants. They
also have classes and their annual Apple festival.

BQ’s Fav Local BookStore Besides Powell’s

This store is woman-owned business and has a wonderful staff that will help you find whatever book you’re looking for. They regularly have readings from authors and used books for sale.

Broadway Bookstore
1714 Northeast Broadway Street
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 284-1726

Of course, there’s always the world’s largest independent bookstore,Powell’s Books right here in in town, with locations downtown, in the Hawthorne District and out at the airport selling new, used and out of print books, both in their stores and online.

BQ’s Best Ribs in Portland

For the best ribs in town nobody beats Podnah’s, though the other items on their menu are also excellent and their greens and corn bread are unsurpassed. Saturday and Sunday brunch is a must.

Podnah’s Pit Barbecue
1625 NE Killingsworth
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 281-3700

BQ’s Best Night’s Rest in Portland

Will be at your house, once you get your hands on one of these Organic Dream Pillows. These pillows’ shapes are made in a way to structurally support your body while being eco-friendly (previously this has only been done with synthetic materials.) They have a variety of pillows, from 2 different sized bed pillows to meditation pillows that are filled with millet hull (a much softer filler than buckwheat) and is also easy to heat up in the microwave for a soothing treat. Visit them at the Saturday Market every weekend during market season or at their website.

Organic Dream Pillows
108 W. Burnside
Portland, Oregon (Saturday Market)

BQ’s Favorite Workaholic Treat

Their web site says it all:

This “no-frills” day sauna/spa offers a taste of the exotic East to women in Portland .
Beaverton Jade Sauna has combined the best of traditional Korean bathing techniques
in order to leave our clients feeling younger, rejuvenated, and the cleanest you’ve ever

The newest addition to the Korean bath culture is the “Jim-Jil-Bang” (jade sauna room).
The popularity of jade sauna rooms has exploded in Korea . These bathhouses—
located across the country—are regularly packed with both tourists and locals. Jade
sauna rooms are a low temperature dry sauna. In Korea , medical authorities have
confirmed the health benefits of the simple touch of jade stone. It has been proven to
improve blood flow and relax the muscular system. Whereas a conventional sauna
circulates heated air which can cause breathing difficulties and flushed skin, our jade
sauna room radiates heat through the floor, providing a well-balanced temperature
throughout our large room. In Korea , athletes and those suffering arthritis and
osteoporosis are regularly advised to use jade sauna rooms as treatments.”

We think this is a MUST for women who work too much. If you do the scrub and the moisturizing treatment together, you will have baby soft skin for at least a week, and will feel lighter and healthier for much longer, give it a try!

Beaverton Jade Sauna
4260 Southwest 110th Avenue
Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 644-5544

BQ’s Favorite New Portland Restaurant

We were delighted when this restaurant opened in our neighborhood, since we did not have any formal restaurants within walking distance of our house. Since our first visit, we have been back over and over again. Not only is the food excellent, but the owners, Mathew and Elizabeth, are committed to the neighborhood, often hosting fundraising dinners for different groups and organizations. Their fare is seasonal and delicious, and the staff is incredible!

This is what they say about themselves:

“At Firehouse Restaurant we’re committed to offering seasonable fare using sustainable
fish, meats, and produce whenever possible. The building lends itself well to the style of
cooking that we do. We use a wood-fired oven, rotisserie and grill that emphasize
technique, seasonality, and a simple straightforward approach to food. To us, there are
few things more beautiful than a well-prepared meal in a warm and inviting setting. We
have worked hard to transform the old Firehouse 29 into a place that is for everyone.”

Firehouse Restaurant
711 Northeast Dekum Street
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 954-1702

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