Portland's Best Potluck Ideas

You're no Barefoot Contessa and you certainly don't have time to make Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals this season. Fortunately, when a friend asks you to bring the booze and a little snack to the holiday party, you can skip the cocktail nuts and wow them with homemade pastries, artisan cheeses and seasonal dishes from these gourmet grocers, mercantiles and bakeries.

Updated: November 24, 2009

Gourmet Grocers

Elephants Delicatessen

115 NW 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97210

Studio dwellers without a proper kitchen can fake their culinary prowess by picking up gourmet fixings from this upscale delicatessen and bakery. The selection is a treat for the senses from butternut squash and pear soup to couscous side salads to pumpkin rum raisin bread and spiced pear cake for dessert.


3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Hawthorne hipsters could make a meal from the eye-catching side dishes and specialty goods sold at this European style market. Whether you need wine, cheese, charcuterie or seasonal vegetables for a crudite plate, the staff can help you create a dish that steals the holiday potluck show.

Zupan's Markets

2340 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97210

Well-heeled Northwest neighbors drop by this upscale market to pick up holiday-appropriate sides from the pretty deli cases. Taste treats from the ever-present sampling stations, then purchase your favorites to ?prepare? at home.

Meat Counters and Mercantiles

Foster & Dobbs

2518 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212

Head to this neighborhood mercantile for appetizer fare like charcuterie and crusty baguettes, partnered with condiments that will give a basic party plate a bit of pizzazz. Don't skip over the cheese counter: The owners? carefully edited selection covers soft, hard, sharp and mild options, and every cheese in between.

Laurelhurst Market

3155 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

If you want to slave over the stove, this restaurant's in-house butcher counter's got plenty of meat to fulfill your home cooking needs. But for those who can't (or simply don't cook), the butchers stock ready-to-eat pate and artisan charcuterie. Add a baguette or some crackers to the mix, and your job is done.

Steve's Cheese

2321 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210

Weave your way through the crates of wine that fill Square Deal Wine and you'll find this tiny cheese counter in back. The staff will help you select cheese, crackers and condiments to create a holiday cheese plate to wow your friends. While you're there, pick up a bottle of champagne from the wine merchant and you're set to go for the party after one stop.

Niche Bakeries

Two Tarts Bakery Inc.

2309 NW Kearney, Portland, OR 97210

Most holiday dessert buffets star Frisbee-sized cookies crowned with sickly sweet frosting and sprinkles. Surprise your host with something different this year by bringing diminutive artisan cookies from this Northwest neighborhood bakery. The ginger chocolate chip and pecan tessies satisfy on multiple levels because of their small size.

Sweet Pea Bakery

1205 Se Stark St, Portland, OR 97214

Swing by this Southeast bakery to pick up sweets everyone from omnivores to vegans can eat. The sweet-leaning lineup of vegan baked goods begins at cupcakes and tops out with a moist chocolate and vanilla buttercream Tuxedo cake that will have guests fighting over the last slice whether they're vegan or not.