Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
Jami Curl, Portland's resident 'Queen of Cupcakes', is done with cupcakes. (Kind of.)
Curl first introduced Portland to the charms of Saint Cupcake 8 years ago, when it quickly became a local favorite. In 2012, Jami followed up with Quin, an artisan candy shop located in the trendy Union Way shopping district in Downtown Portland. Quin boasts a bright and beautiful array of handmade candies, including caramels, lollipops, marshmallows, licorice, and more. In December of 2013, Curl shocked fans and cupcake-lovers when she announced her plans to close Saint Cupcake by the end of the year.
Well, never fear, Portland. Jami Curl's cupcakes are still here. (Kind of.) Curl transformed the Saint Cupcake space on SE Belmont into a brand new sweets shop called Sprinklefingers. This quaint little shop offers a beautifully curated selection of sweets, candies, cookies, and confections. The space feels like a mix of Saint Cupcake and Quin, but retains its own distinct personality. Quin candies are available for purchase in packaged sets (similar to the Quin shop downtown), but Sprinklefingers also sells individual lollipops, caramels, cookies, brownies, ice cream, and—drumroll, please—cupcakes.
Mind you, the cupcake selection is slim. Gone are the days of rainbow assortments of cupcake flavors and mini "dot" cupcakes—at Sprinkle Fingers you'll only find one daily flavor of cupcake in a standard cupcake size. When asked about the switch, Curl simply said that she was ready to branch out. "Making cupcakes was never my dream job. I didn't intend to be a cupcake baker for my entire life. It was time for something new."
One hardly notices the lack of cupcakes, however, in lieu of the array of handmade cookies, brownies, candies, and treats. (There's even an ice cream case full of Curl's frozen creations, which she's dubbed "Melty Goods".) The sweets counter is the focal point of the shop, and it's equal parts adorable and whimsical. There are pretty little glass jars full of handmade gumdrops (made with real fruit and natural colors) and large glass jars full of hand-wrapped artisan caramels, such as the Lord Bergamot Caramel (made with Smith Tea) and the Best of Oregon Caramel (made with Freddy's Guys Hazelnuts, Jacobsen Sea Salt, and Bee Local Honey). To round out the display, there are tall jars of brightly-colored lollipops, little bowls of twizzle rolls, and multiple platters of freshly baked goods.
Curl approaches each treat like a work of art, carefully constructing them with quality and artisan ingredients. Take, for example, the Quin Caramel Brownies ($3.50). The brownies are made by sprinkling bits of Quin's Sea Salt caramels throughout a rich dark chocolate batter.
So yes, there's a whole lot more than cupcakes at Sprinkles, which seems to be a very good thing. Click through the slideshow to see more of Sprinklefingers' candies, baked goods, and treats.