Elephants Delicatessen

Portland, OR. Stepping into this deli is like stepping into a proudly-owned boutique shop, with the eager faces ready to explain the curious items available and from where they originated. Is it though? No, let's instead go with a specialty, gourmet food marketplace.  Words like "shop" or "store" could minimize the extent of the experience, and when it comes to food: why do such a thing? It has a grill, a wood-fire oven, pastries, a cheese counter, sauces and dips galore and so much more, hosted in a brightly lit space known as Elephants Delicatassen.

Too hungry to make it home? There are tables for that. In a bit of a rush? There are sack lunches available for order, purchase, and delivery. Want to rest those soles and take a break? There is a full-service bar and coffee available, and quite the supply of food to taste. Be forewarned, eyes can be larger than most people's stomachs, as the colorful but enticing display appeals to the visually stimulated.

Cheesecake - well I can say it was good, but like many cheesecakes I come across, it only just met the mark. It was fluffy and light in its entirety - the whipped confection with a humble cream topping. It rose to an expectation but not in excess. Was it finished? Yes, all of it was gone when it met my lips, but I desired a little something more to push it beyond ordinary.

Carrot Cake Cupcake
Carrot Cake Cupcake - has been one of the few cupcakes that left a good taste in my mouth. Ideally moist coupled with the standard flavors reminiscent of childhood versions. Is that cinnamon? Hmm. Nutmeg? Maybe. What is that? Crushed pistachios? Oh...how pleasant. There is something spectacularly simple in its creation that warrants buying a few. Trying to get carried away was challenging but I managed, given that I only have so much stomach to fill.

Marionberry Pie

Marionberry Pie - or Oregon's proud little blackberry, I should say, was a quick favorite. The crust paralleled the oil types in crispness and sprinkled with coarse sugar. Both delicious and not too sweet, it tasted as one could hope for in a berry pie. Despite the rather intimate shot of the pie's undressing, it did make it home safely, though at this point I had likely eaten much of the crust.

There are a few locations supplying and serving the basics, more or less, which means more chances to sample the favorites or try something new:

  • Flying Fox Tower
  • Flying PDX
  • Flying Kruse Way
  • Elephants in the Park
  • and for the food stand lovers, yes, it exists: Elephants on Wheels

Next time: (aside from another cupcake) I'll be sure to introduce myself to the charcuterie and cheese counter!

Elephants Delicatessen
115 NW 22nd Ave
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 299-6304