05 November 2021
Some coffee shops exist in a timeless continuum that seems to defy placement in the eras of Portland coffee: not necessarily hip but not uncool, not trendy but justly popular, not made for Instagram but beautiful still. There is no new idea at Oui Presse; only outrageously good coffee and food with an assortment of hearty and sweet baked good and lunch options with, of course, a selection of magazines.
When I describe Oui Presse, I very seldom go deeply into the concept — there are magazines, there are journals — but it certainly defines the people and offerings. Thoughtful, a little more of a slow approach to everything, but in a manner of slow food, slow lingering over a cappuccino or a pot of tea, slow appreciation of the neighborhood. A knitting group meets here many mornings, so you might enjoy your coffee and hard boiled egg, or beans and toast, while you listen to the comforting chatting of local people creating their hats and scarves and sweaters out of jewel tones.
Connection with local sources is important, so during the pandemic, Oui Presse began connecting with a local farmer to sell their wares in front of the shop. Now you can usually pick up vegetables as well as pistachio cake and their outrageously simple and perfect peanut butter, jelly and European butter sandwich. The vegetables also go into the day’s soup; a recent visit was a very rich and filling chicken and dumplings.
I would be remiss if I didn’t describe the cakes: pistachio or caramel layer cakes and usually a coffee cake, all just perfect just as they are. Many an afternoon has included a brief stop at Oui Presse for a sweet interlude before I continued with my walk or bike ride. Right on Hawthorne, they’re convenient to everything, and ready to welcome you for a lunch or a visit or a long deep introspection with your journal.
Oui Presse, 1740 SE Hawthorne Blvd, is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day at the writing of this blog post in November 2021 for both indoor and outdoor seating.