Conclusion: Bring your signed copy of Dave Eggers' "A Hologram for the King" (recently purchased after a book-signing Feb. 5 at Powell's), order a lemon tart and stay awhile.

Info: 102 N.W. 9th Ave.; (503) 827-0910, http://www.pearlbakery.com. Open 6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. Most items $1.25-$4.50.

Ken's Artisan Bakery

Known for: Ken Forkish opened his bakery more than a decade ago, and his empire has expanded to Ken's Artisan Pizza and a cookbook titled "Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza." His bread has inspired a great deal of praise from foodies and others, but it's the pastry selection that mesmerized customers on a recent morning.

Vibe: With its high ceilings, yellow walls and polished concrete floors, Ken's is homey and businesslike at the same time. The display of breads and pastries and sweets is like a garden of earthly delights.

Highlights: Bread pudding, apple galette, macarons, hazelnut butter cookies, brioche, walnut bread, ciabatta

Overheard: An astonished customer who asked: "How many flavors of macarons do you have?"

Conclusion: Plop the baby in a high chair with a croissant to keep her quiet, plunge that fork into your slice of opera cake and know that bliss, although temporary, is a very real state.

Info: 338 N.W. 21st Ave.; (503) 248-2202, http://www.kensartisan.com. Open 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Most items $2-$4.

Blue Collar Baking Co.

Known for: Blue Collar's slogan is "We're not afraid of butter!" and the proprietor means it. The year-old business is the most recent step in owner Warren Becker's evolution from home baker to entrepreneur.

Highlights: Red velvet Bundt cake, wage earner chocolate chip cookies, big rig oatmeal cookies, waitress scones

Vibe: It feels like its name — blue collar. Clocks are proudly labeled and set to the time in Scranton, Pa., Milwaukee and Cleveland. Industrial-style tables and chairs sit atop a tile floor. Cookies and pastries sit under glass domes on a counter.

Conclusion: Becker and his baked goods are irresistible. Pull up a chair and a chocolate chip cookie and banish all thoughts of kale for the next 20 minutes.

Info: 319 S.W. Pine St.; (503) 227-3249, http://www.bluecollarbaking.com. Open 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. All cookies $1.

alice.short@latimes.com