The Salt and Straw isn’t a traditional bakery. In fact, there is nothing traditional about this place; it’s half ice cream shop/half bakery. We came for the infamous ice cream combinations like blue cheese and pear, chevre with marionberry habanero jam, and coffee and bourbon, but were pleasantly surprised to see it was a bakery too.
The location is in the Nob Hill section of Portland and the area is fantastic. It’s one of those stroll down the street to window shop kind of places usually reserved along a coastline. Salt & Straw has a lovely set up with wall to wall windows that open and give you the outdoor setting without the uncomfortable patio chairs. It seemed like the place couldn’t go wrong.
With so many interesting combinations to choose from, it was exciting when the woman behind the counter asked if we wanted a sample. We quickly listed through a couple each to get the full experience. My friend accidentally dropped his little silver spoon (no plastic tasters here) which was met with a heavy sigh from the worker. When she dished up my marionberry, a glob of jelly was about to run off. In my attempt at a save, the ice cream fell off the spoon and another scowl was given. I only made matters worse by being indecisive about my coffee too. The one in the hat showed nothing but annoyance with my presence. When a third co-worker made her way in she sighed she was back again and grumbled “It feels like I never left.” There was one employee who excitedly talked foodie with the people in front of us in line and I wished he’d been my ice cream distributor. He glowed the excitement of how the combinations were something different in the culinary norm.
While I know it’s work and if we all had the choice we might not do it, but this is service for freakin’ sake. Although I like the foam art on the top of my latte, it wouldn’t kill you to be a little respectful or appreciative of the fact I dropped five bucks on it. It was a thought Tia and I talked about most of the time we sipped our coffee and ate our ice cream. We agreed for our made up bakery, if we are lucky to have employees, it will be the expectation they enjoy working there. And not that fakey Subway Sandwich greeting of “HI! WELCOME TO SUBWAY!” you’re hit with when you walk through the door. Something more genuine. Like a simple smile of appreciation.