When I was just about four years old my mother was working in the yard and wound up chatting with a nice couple who were looking to purchase a house in our neighborhood. My mother being a very typical New York Jewish mother with only the slightest understanding of personal boundaries invited that couple in to see the inside of our house. That nice couple happened to have a son who was about to celebrate his fourth birthday and they kindly invited me to his birthday party. And so began an “arranged marriage” with my oldest of friends. Well like all great friends we tend to have one mind so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn we both left New York and wound up both living in the Pacific Northwest … No longer a block away but only a short three hour drive to Portland, Oregon.
So what the hell does any of this have to do to with New York food? Well thanks to my good friend I have a pretty solid excuse to drive to Portland fairly often. And on my last journey I finally decided to stop at an Italian Bakery I had read about in the northern outskirts of Portland. The Bakery is called Di Prima Dolci, and like most restaurants I found it online by searching for New York Style Italian Bakeries in Portland. Di Prima Dolci’s modus operandi … Well the owner is originally from New York and her parents are Italian immigrants and her goal:
… to share the richness of my Italian heritage, to offer products not currently available in the Portland area, to provide a neighborhood meeting place offering top-quality baked goods, lunch items, dinners and coffee drinks …
What else could you ask for?
Di Prima Dolci is a sight to behold when you walk through the door. The first thing you notice is the pastry case full of Italian pastries which is a rare sight anywhere on the west coast. The two items that really caught my eye were the Cannoli’s and the black and white cookies. The case only had empty cannoli shells which is an excellent sign because as any reputable New Yorker knows a cannoli needs to be made to order. Well we ordered up an assortment of pastries to take back to Seattle with us including a cannoli, black and white cookie, tiramisu and a bunch of Italian cookies. Before we walked out the door I noticed a sign indicating that they also served pizza at his establishment. On this fine day they were serving Sicilian pizzas and so I couldn’t help myself and I ordered a slice to eat before we headed out the door.
The Sicilian pizza was really good. I haven’t had a slice of Sicilian pizza in ages because it is even rarer than an ordinary slice of pizza in this neck of the woods. The sauce was incredibly fresh and the crust had that perfect crispy bottom while staying chewy at the same time. When we finally made it back to Seattle we dove into our box of pastries. The cannoli was excellent … creamy and sweet and still with a crisp shell. The cookies and tiramisu were all amazing. My only disappointment was the black and white cookie which was iced on the top ( a pet peeve of mine … a true black and white cookie is iced on the flat bottom side) and the black icing really just wasn’t that good.
Overall Di Prima Dolci was really good. A true New York Italian bakery in the Pacific Northwest. And to top it off their pizza was excellent. It also looks like they have an excellent lunch and dinner menu which I will try next time I am in town. So if you also happen to have your best friend of 31 years in the Portland area (or you just happen to be in Portland) and you have a hankering for a really good New York style Italian pastry or a good slice of New York pizza stop by Di Prima Dolci. I highly recommend it.