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Rocking Frog Cafe

2511 Belmont

(SE)  Portland, OR

They took an old Craftsman house along Belmont, transformed it and—viola!—the place became the Rocking Frog  Café  in 2007.  With a dark green main room, a blood-red ex-bedroom (multiple skull pix on the walls—was this all to remind us of pithing the frogs in freshman biology?), a gold “library” and an entry-way with a couch plunked down in it, and a single bathroom right in the middle, where you’d expect it. A community information board was over the couch in the rather claustrophobic (some might find it cozy!) entry. The library had a half-wall, or, rather, contained pass-throughs between it and the main room, and stools flanked this wall. The library, and indeed the entire place, had lots of books, skulls, plants, stained-glass windows and other interesting items, as well as dark woodwork.  The place seemed, in a word, dark, and a stark contrast to the bright light that shone in through  the windows.  In the red room was a game bookshelf, and this room had a door which opened into a back yard with tables and tall bamboo. A gas fireplace held its own in the front room, and elegant but well-used overstuffed wing chairs provided seating.  Two frog bookends echoed the frog theme (the pithing one, remember?). Generally, I liked the place, and I don’t require much of a theme. Doesn’t make the coffee any better, and variable anarchy beats frogs any day. Too many frogs become trite, or should I say too much of any theme becomes a crutch. The best thing about the Rocking Frog was the hot—made-to-order—doughnuts! (Could be that’s a bias due to the fact that the dining hall in my freshman dorm had the last known one of those machines. Last known to me, that is. I gained the “freshman 15” gobbling hot doughnuts, I’m pretty sure). I vaguely remember some cool blues music: that makes a place come alive, regardless of gloom and doom.

Service and clientele: Busy young people quietly working on laptops. Many of these hipster places are filled with really friendly folks, at least if you’re friends on Facebook. One woman worked, providing coffee service very adequately and quickly popping in our doughnuts. Later, our raving about them seemed to fall on deaf ears; she must be used to praise!
Bathroom: Basically the way it always was, not all gussied up. But the unnerving thing was that the wear caused a slit through which to peer out—or in. I liked its stained glass transom window–real class!
Fare: Did I mention the hot doughnuts? $1 each or 6/$5.  All right! Also served were chai, lattes, & the usual hot drinks, pastries, and many types of salads and sandwiches, from ham to vegan (prosciotto cheese and fig piqued my interest)
Rating: 3 coffee beans (of 5 possible). Guess I can’t get beyond the sobriety of laptop environments, but I kinda-sorta liked the place.

3 coffee beans copy