Yordprom Coffee has just celebrated its first anniversary, and if you haven’t yet discovered this little gem of a coffee house, you are missing out.

Yordprom is the kind of place you want to go to more often, but with so many choices in Portland, sometimes it falls through the cracks. I occasionally run in after a quick trip to the farmers market for a cup of Thai peaberry coffee, or maybe a Vietnamese brew, or perhaps an iced chai.

I had never tried their food until one recent cold, rainy day, when a hot cup of something and a steaming bowl of curry was just what I needed to warm myself up.

Even Portland’s better coffee houses can be uncomfortable at times, with tables squished together so close you just know the hipster sitting next to you is listening in to all the personal drama you’re sharing with your BFF over a latte. One of the things I like about Yordprom is they give you your space in a warm, inviting atmosphere.

It’s easy to find the coffee house’s small parking lot on Congress Street — just look for the brightly colored flags adorning the roof of the building, and the lime-green walls of the entryway.

Walk inside, and you’ll find seven or eight large, brown wood tables and black chairs in a bright orange (sort of pumpkin-colored) room, along with a comfortable black sofa in front of a fireplace. There’s a flat-screen television over the fireplace, but if you hate that kind of thing, don’t fret — it never seems to be on.

This place never seems too crowded, and I can’t figure out if it’s because people just haven’t discovered it yet or if it’s the design of the space. Or maybe I’ve just been picking the right times to visit.

You order at the counter, where there’s a large menu of coffees, teas, espressos, etc. The lunch menu, served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is light Asian fusion fare, and the choices are few but delicious.

I started with the Tom Kha Soup ($3.95), which arrived steaming hot in one of those oversized coffee cups. It was filled about halfway — the perfect amount for a light lunch or afternoon pick-me-up, especially when it’s cold outside.

The Thai coconut broth was light and lemony, and had just a touch of heat — enough to give you a little kick after you’ve swallowed a spoonful. The sliced chicken in the soup was a tad overcooked, but the onions and scallions were perfect.

I also tried the Spicy Chicken Curry ($7.95), which arrived beautifully presented in a large white bowl. “This is very hot,” the server warned me, and I’m not sure if he was talking about the temperature (like the soup, it was steaming) or the spiciness, or both.

This was a spicy green curry made with large chunks of tender chicken and chopped bits of green beans served over a juicy bed of rice noodles. The whole thing was flecked with fresh basil and swimming in a coconut milk broth. It was spicy enough to make my nose run, but I kept picking at it, going slowly to savor the flavors and go easy on my mouth and sinuses.

To drink, I had a Thai tea latte that has become my new favorite hot drink. The tea makes the foam a bright orange — literally the same color as the walls. It’s mild with just a hint of sweetness that comes, I learned, from adding a touch of sugar and vanilla.

Other options at Yordprom include lo mein noodles with mixed vegetables for $6.95 (add chicken for $1 extra); a cold wheat noodle salad with lettuce, scallions, fried shallots, ground peanuts and citrus for $4.95; and a hot noodle bowl made with thick wheat noodles, clear broth and mixed veggies (for the vegan in your group) for $4.95.

If you’d rather have something sweet, there’s always a good selection of pastries at the counter. The options change, but might include blueberry muffins and coffee cake, brownies, raspberry-and-cream cheese croissants, cupcakes, cookies and the largest cream horns I’ve ever seen.

In a town that has a million coffee houses, Yordprom Coffee is worth visiting — and chances are you’ll want to go back again and again. 

The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7.

 


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