to wait or not to wait?

Dear Dessert Oasis,

As I was walking past Portland’s third Salt and Straw location on my way to and from a play the other night, I laughed to myself that the line looked just like this 2 hours apart on a Sunday evening.


Now don’t get me wrong, they make delicious ice cream. And it’s been over 85 here for the past 6 weeks, which is not what we know as May and June. But every time I see a line like this at one of Portland’s hip dessert spots, I can’t help but wonder….is it worth it? It’s been ice cream for the past few yrs, cupcakes before that. Are we becoming so culturally obsessed with trendy treats that we’re missing out on something even more delicious at mom and pop shops that don’t get mentioned in the Huffington Post? And sometimes I worry about the amount of time Portlanders spend in line waiting….brunch, ice cream, what’s next?

I mean no criticism to Salt and Straw, creative, delicious, and worth the $, just not sure about the time. I know you don’t know Portland, but you know desserts and are well researched in old and new. I thought you might be able to help shed some light on why we wait and how we should budget our time for desserts.


An hour for ice cream skeptic in Portland


Dear skeptic in Portland,

Ugh. Lines. Ugh. Trends. I have a low tolerance for any kind of line even if the promise of treats is at the front. I’ve driven past donut shops on donut holidays and gotten cookies instead of cupcakes on cupcake shop anniversaries. But is the wait sometimes worth it?  Let’s consider….

  • is this a seasonal treat?
  • are you just visiting this area or do you live there?
  • can you get the treat on another/less busy day/time?
  • do you have to be anywhere at any time later? (I personally can’t deal with the anxiety that comes with checking the clock every 5 sec to decide if you can still make it to some appointment on time and still get a treat. “Why are you late?” “I needed a donut.” No one understands.)

If the treat is seasonal, you’re only in town for a bit, can’t get it another time, and your schedule is open, I say, go for it!

But here are some tips for making the wait less painful:

  • if you can, wait with a friend
  • bring drinks (water or a flask – your call)
  • maybe use the time to catch up on emails/calls

So many things to consider, but it all just really comes down to one question: do you feel like waiting at this moment? Yes? Do it. No? Skip it. Change your mind after waiting 20 min and not moving? Bail. That’s ok too! No shame.

Now, is it ok to indulge in a trendy treat? Answer: yes. Is it ok to ignore mom and pop shops? Answer: no. Solution: eat it all from everywhere.

Hope this helps with your scheduling! And next time you’re waiting in line, you can always read archived Dessert Oasis posts!!

Wearing supportive shoes and stretchy pants,
Dessert Oasis

Have a dessert question?  Email me at – from funnel cakes to fondue fountains, if it has sugar, I’ve probably eaten it.

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