The idyllic streets of Sellwood in spring look a lot like the set of Sesame Street (without the puppets)—it’s the kind of neighborhood where kids still sell ten-cent cups of lemonade on the sidewalk (really—I bought one). Nestled in this Southeast Portland haven is the bright and airy Jade Teahouse & Patisserie, owned by mother-daughter duo Lucy and April Eklund. Open since last fall, Jade Teahouse offers a French-Vietnamese menu of lunch and dinner items, homemade pastries, and about fifty-five teas from around the globe (some of which April blends herself). Lucy prepares all the food from scratch, with selections ranging from grilled tofu salad and savory sandwiches on house-baked baguettes to more decidedly Asian entrées, such as stir-fried rice noodles and grilled eggplant with sweet-and-sour basil sauce.
Polished bamboo floors and sunlit grass-green walls invite you to curl up in a cushioned chair by the window and sip calming cups of Inner Peace herbal tea, or to savor an aromatic plate of lemongrass-garlic chicken.
But Jade’s greatest asset may be its pastry case, where rows of Lucy’s homemade sweets beckon from behind the glass. Try the bright-green Vietnamese wedding cake (a specialty she has been preparing for the Vietnamese community here since 1975), made with thin layers of crispy puff pastry, light buttercream frosting, and vanilla essence from pandanus leaves. A slice will have you skipping through the streets of Sellwood.