What makes a GREAT bagel? I’ve been having that debate with friends ever since tasting my first one in the early 1970’s. Some say it’s the flour, some say the technique, and of course New Yorkers claim that it has to be the Manhattan water. Well, we can all agree on one thing. There is nothing like an authentic bagel.Fortunately, out here in the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon we have some of the best bagels you’ll ever find. East Coast skeptics, hold your fire – Ken Gordon, the owner of Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen, turns out bagels that are just as meticulously crafted as everything else he bakes, brines, pickles, roasts and prepares.
He starts with Northwest-sourced ingredients like Shepherd’s Grain flour. Then, Ken and his bakers roll out each ball of dough and form each bagel by hand – no machines here. The bagels proof for 36 to 48 hours, allowing time for the flavors to develop. Finally, starting around 1 am each morning, they boil the bagels to ready them for baking.
What you get are bagels that are just chewy enough, with the right yielding texture and complex flavor. They have eight varieties – plain, onion, garlic, salt, poppy, sesame, everything and pumpernickel – with whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, pecorino cheddar and jalapeno coming in September. We’re fortunate enough to carry all these bagels along with Kenny & Zuke’s freshly baked rye bread and rugelach at all of the Portland-area Whole Foods Market® stores and also in Vancouver, WA.What I think is most special about Kenny & Zuke’s is that Ken has gone back to the traditional roots of a neighborhood delicatessen. It’s not just these bagels and the rye bread – everything is made in house; from brining the pickles and pastrami to roasting the turkey and corned beef. The attention he puts into the ingredients can’t be matched. For example, the rugelah and cheesecake are made with Gina Marie Cream Cheese, which is a small-batch cream cheese that is only found at specialty cheese shops (and some Whole Foods Markets.) Everything they do at Kenny & Zuke’s they do with great care and you can taste that passion in everything they make.
Ken is carrying on a tradition that started over 100 years ago. You don’t find delis like Kenny & Zuke’s in many places around the country anymore! We have a real treasure here in Portland. I hope you stop by and visit if you’re ever in the area – and swing by one of our Portland-area Whole Foods Markets to pick up a bag of bagels for the road.