Happy Sparrow Cafe
An aptly named establishment, this. It’s almost impossible not to emerge cheerful and chirpy from this cute, colorful Belmont cafe. The house specialty is kolaches ($1.95-$2.75 each), a traditional Czech pastry that has found its way to this small corner of Portland via Texas. Every day, Happy Sparrow bakes dozens of these little briochelike buns, and fills them with a rotating assortment of locally sourced ingredients. On any given visit, the savory offerings might include spicy barbecue pulled chicken, a hearty vegan vegetable or a simple Tillamook cheddar. Sweet fillings range from the more traditional smoky, crunchy poppyseed and date to some outrageously tasty Nutella variations—ask them to nuke it first, so the insides ooze out all gooey and warm. Just to add to the cross-cultural confusion, pair it with a Vietnamese coffee, made strong and sweet with a proper phin drip filter over condensed milk. Sink this with three or four kolaches, and you’ll be one happy little bird indeed. RUTH BROWN.