Beautiful, brainy, and beguiling. Which girl has it all?
Lovejoy Bakery really is the whole package. I have only been to their Pearl location (another one is on the SW Waterfront near the OHSU tram), but it’s obvious that the 10th and Lovejoy location is well-loved by the neighborhood and beyond.
Stop by at almost any time of the day (open 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily) and it’s always well-frequented: couples enjoying crema-topped cappuccino and evil-looking pecan sticking buns and sumptuous Danish early morning, girlfriends sharing obscenely delicious breakfast sandwiches throughout the day (let’s hear a hallelujah for all-day ordering) and those in Office Casual attire noshing on impeccably crafted sandwiches and salads throughout the day.
And all day long people in the know stop in for their breads, each one more lovely and tempting than the one that precedes it on the beautiful wood rack; caraway ryes, ficelles, olive ciabattas, country walnut loaves, and so much more. I have to physically refrain myself from grabbing handfuls of all of these loaves and holing up somewhere with a pound of fresh goat cheese and butter and stuffing my face until I explode (but ah, what a great exit strategy).
And oh those sandwiches. I have now tried a number of them and they’re all well-thought out and perfectly executed. Imagine a lamb meatloaf with green beans, crunchy onion rings and a harissa mayo (see above with LB’s fantastic signature potato salad). There’s also a smashed chickpea on their commendable multi-grain (with roasted peppers and a herb salad) which is unlike any other veggie sandwich I’ve had around town. Further, their version of a turkey sandwich leaves its competitors in the dust with its inclusion of provolone, avocado and bacon and a heavenly Green Goddess dressing.
And then there’s perhaps my favorite, the Lovejoy Deluxe – a breakfast panini that features a warm, oozy fried egg, a smear of soft French blue cheese, crisp bacon and frisee dressed in a tarragon vinaigrette, all encased by a perfect Ciabatta roll. On paper the mix might appear startling but in mouth, it’s stunning. I love the combination of bitter frisee and sumptuous cheese and egg; here the bacon plays the part of smoky referee to great effect.
Hands down, this is one of the top five breakfast sandwiches ever.
To top it all off, the Pearl location is eye candy in itself: stunning blackboards with descriptions of sandwiches, handsome gray marble counters, and soaring two story windows that keep the cafe awash with all available light. Every detail is spot on perfect (from fonts on signage to silverware to how the pastries are displayed) and so sophisticated that the overall experience is a deeply satisfying one.
I could sit here for hours, watching the bustle of people coming and going, the cafe staff finding their groove, the parade of breads and pastries newly adopted and being whisked out the door to fortunate new homes.
Lovejoy Bakery is the girl in high school who is gorgeous and original and brilliant and funny (and just gets more poised and self-possessed with time), but is also so kind and open that you can’t help but tamp down any jealousy you might feel and just love her — baking insecurities be damned!