Chocolate chip cookies from Courier Coffee. Suzette Smith
This year’s Valentine’s Day is going to be huge. Why? Because everyone moved in together last year to save on rent and secure in-house companionship. How’s that going? If good: Gotta buy a lot of stuff to say, “Thank you for love.” If bad: Better buy a bunch of stuff to appease your romance roommate.
Valentine’s Day always comes with a lot of expectations, but if you’re looking to get your romance friend something really GOOD—in addition to the millions of other accoutrements of affection required of this holiday popularized by greeting card magnates—here are two really wonderful cookies that say: “Hey, the best stuff in life is simple. Chocolate chip cookie, aw yeah.”
If you aren’t partnered on Valentine’s Day, keep in mind a couple I saw at the airport years ago. They were stuck on a layover and he was repeating every overhead announcement in the voice of Yogi Bear. Partnered love isn’t all it’s made out to be, and you can eat all the cookies yourself.
Courier Coffee’s return to pre-pandemic form may be a long way off. The bustling little cafe on SW Oak preferred a long bar style of customer-to-barista interaction, so the place was generally full of people pleasantly chatting and waiting for their house-roasted, single-origin pour over. You waded in and inevitably a barista appeared from the mist to engage you in convivial conversation. Then, before you knew it, you’d somehow divulged your favorite color and your coffee order.
This desire to create something special over something efficient evidenced itself not only in their coffee but their baked goods as well—most notably their lauded chocolate chip cookie, which Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks revealed to Hulu audiences in the first episode of Eater’s Guide to the World.
The main hiccup in that reveal was Courier’s cafe has been closed since March 2020, and there isn’t yet a way to return to the Courier Coffee vision of a coffee house while the pandemic rages on. “I don’t even want people catching up outside,” owner Joel Domreis said recently, with an expression of concern.
Domreis has, within the past few weeks, fashioned a window for to-go orders so that the cafe can flirt with a return to limited hours. A recent Friday morning had him working alone in the shop, listening to records, baking small batches of cookies, and making new pots of pour over every 15 minutes or so.
The cookie is everything Brooks promised—a lovely mixture of deeply rich chocolate with a perfect dusting of salt—though Domreis demurs about what makes it so special. “I tell people, ‘Use the Toll House recipe, but use better chocolate,'” he said. Since this is a small outfit, you’ll want to put in a cookie order ahead of time, but getting Portland’s most coveted cookie is a great way to say you’re special.
Chocolate chip cookies from Coquine. Suzette Smith
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Another cookie that is loudly lauded across Portland belongs to Mount Tabor-area French restaurant Coquine. The dark chocolate and almonds of Chef Katy Millard’s chocolate chip meld perfectly with their recipe’s brown sugar and sea salt. The cookies are bigger and bring a hardiness not present in Courier’s little chocolate salt snack. A Coquine cookie is definitely a dessert and meant to sit atop a meal with finality: You are now full.
Since the pandemic began, Coquine has offered a variety of takeout possibilities. They’ve got takeaway lunch and dinner, plus farm direct pick-ups where customers can get produce and goods straight from Black Locust Farm and Wobbly-Cart Farm. Coquine also offers pick-up windows for “I Just Want Cookies!,” due to the popularity of these little marvels. If you’re reading this column in another state or have a loved one far away, you can also ship Coquine’s cookies. They’re that popular.
Coquine, 6839 SE Belmont, (503) 384-2483, coquinepdx.com