When you’ve cooked professionally and catered incessantly, you can’t just walk into a shindig empty handed — or with something too slapdash. You know that you can’t get away with a simple cheese platter, or a store-bought dip or appetizer without a little razzing. People expect more. Chances are you will become invisible as you walk in the door — all eyes will be on what you are holding. And it had better be good. Not fancy, mind you — just damn tasty….
“I know good bagels, and this isn’t one of them”, one friend once sniffed dismissively when referring to an inferior product from a chain here in town. Because I knew she had spent time in New York, I understood that she found validity in using her geographic past as a critical bludgeon.
A mathemetician might write the equation as such.
X (past familiarity with exemplary product) + Y (discerning palate) + Z (ingredients x proper cooking methods) = BB (best bagel)
BB – (X or -Y + Z) = CB (Crap Bagel)
Okay, you can’t all be math geniuses so I will break it down to language you can understand. Some assume that unless you can pull out a serious bagel pedigree (having lived in New York, Los Angeles or near an artisan baker as verified by NY Times or Saveur), you can’t call crap– or manna– as you see it.
It’s like they don’t care if you like what you like; if you can’t pull out some serious creds, don’t get in the fray. Trust me — these bagel aficionados are as serious as a pulmonary embolism and you’re going to wish you had one if you get in a debate as to what you do or do not know. Let them just have this one.
But when I tell you I went to college in Montreal, believe me when I say I know good bagels — have you not heard the term MONTREAL-STYLE BAGELS? There is a reason they’ve been given their own moniker, people – this sort of bagel is the bomb. They start out with an enviable starter, are given the proper time to rise, and then hand-formed into smaller rings than the NY bagel. They are then boiled, given a short rest and then baked in a wood fired oven until they sport a blistered skin and wonderfully dense, chewy interior. God then kisses these angels and lovingly sends them along.
They are so good in fact that denizens are willing to walk in sub-zero temperatures before sunlight to secure a still-warm bag. They are that frostbite-worthy. I ate thousands of some of the best bagels on the planet for over four years, herego, I know bagels. And so when I tell you Henry Higgins is worthy of your bagel attention, listen up.
On the other hand, I grew up in Connecticut and lived on Sarah Lee bagels (basically Wonder bread with a hole) until I went to college. And during that time I loved these spongy frat boys with a fervor most girls feel only for puppies and boy bands.
So am I bagel expert or bagel ignorant?
I only bring up my seemingly conflicting creds because I want nothing from deterring you from trying Henry Higgins bagels and making up up your own mind. Just look at them. It’s like looking at the sun — stare too long and it’s not good for your eyes. But it’s hard to take your eyes off them, right? (Must be that blistered crust.)
I know all those East Coasters may want to torch my house for saying so, but for a New York style bagel, I think they are some of the best ones I have had in Portland. (A later post will talk about my favorite Montreal style bagels, Tastebud).
Does that mean there aren’t other good ones here? No. Have I tried all that is out there? Not yet- or come up empty when I have tried. More to follow.
But for now I am simply saying that I have had a lot of meh bagels and these are the the best NY style ones I have had SO FAR in Portland – and if you think there are better, let me know. In the meantime, calm down, bagel crazies, we’re just talking about a bread product. Get back to your New Yorker and let me do my thing here.
But for now, Henry Higgins. Until they open up their own brick and mortar at Foster and 65th (allegedly in next couple weeks), find them on the weekends at 537 SE Ash Street (near Grand) in their charming little storefront on the weekends or at various shops and cafes town during the rest of the week.
I brought a gaggle of teenagers and kids to HH this past weekend and it was a huge hit. The woman behind the counter couldn’t have been more accommodating. She recalled eight different orders (“so, here’s your “#1, lox on onion bagel, scallion smear, hold the onion, #2, pumperknickel buttered, not toasted, #3…”) without paper assist and with extraordinary grace and composure as the line started to grow. She wanted each one to be perfect, and they were.
You know a bagel is great when you can’t stop eating it. Like this pumpernickel with scallion cream cheese.
You know you’re a pig when you eat your entire bagel without offering up a taste to anyone else but still find the time to beg bites off of others. Like this poppy seed with lox, caper, onion and tomato.
Don’t take my word for it. Don’t let other bagel snobs persuade or dissuade. Bagels are something we don’t feel comfortable unless we’re ranking them. Stop. We don’t do that with friends– why must we with bagels? It’s not a zero-sum case for crying out loud.
Just jump on that train and hold on for its worth.
This 26 plus acre park is situated in the Laurelhurst section of the city and was created in 1911 when the City of Portland bought the land from William Ladd (once mayor and developer of our beautiful Ladd’s Addition area of the city).
Luckily, the design was handled by Park Superintendent Emanuel Mische who was famous in his own right (he had long collaborated with the Olmsted brothers who became known for their extensive landscape design all over the world) and did an unbelievably beautiful job. I read somewhere that it was the first city park to be mentioned in the National Register of Historic Places. No wonder — just look at it….
I’m obsessed with linen. There, I’ve said it.
I especially love it in white, cream, ecru, dove gray, caramel — and oatmeal. Oatmeal linen is the best– it looks sort of French with equal parts rustic and elegant. I love the feel of it, the way it catches the light, and if there was a snowball chance in hell the color looked good on me, I’d probably wear it all the time. It looks amazing with so many colors – aqua, cobalt, pumpkin, fuchsia, sage, lavender, navy, white, even black – but alas I look like death warmed over in it.
That fact, however, didn’t stop me from buying the couch I fell in love with at Restoration Hardware. It is covered in Belgian oatmeal linen, took two months to arrive, and sat for one month in my living room before I felt worthy of a long sit. It’s what I like to think of as a grown-up couch; something you buy with intention, see as an heirloom (unless kids destroy it inadvertently with a Sharpie), and can have your in-laws sit on when they visit. (Darn it! I think I see a foot print on it! I am going to have kick some major a–.)…
How many recipes can you say have been a constant companion for almost your entire adult life?
For me it’s just a handful, and they are almost all desserts….
Bulk bins with hard-to-find legumes and spices, every odd ingredient a baker could need, a knockout butcher department, a deli that demands respect and all the best produce at very competitive prices — what’s not to love?
What? You’d want someone to greet you outside with a grill cooking burgers and sausages, too?
Good news – Sheridan has all of that, and then some….
When I first started driving for Meals on Wheels six years ago, I just delivered the food they had made in their commercial kitchen. Not long after, I started adding a homemade treat each week and the reaction was so strongly positive that I didn’t have the heart to stop. I will never forget the look on one of my senior’s faces when it dawned on him that I had nothing extra for him. It only happened once, and now I haven’t got the stomach to arrive at a senior’s door without something, anything, no matter how small to add to their pre-made meals….
A couple years back I bought one like these from an artist specializing in vintage and repurposed items. She had the top seam finished off with a reprinted vintage Christmas Card, folded over. This week I found a total of five of these empty stockings at the bins, and next Christmas I am going to take that same basic idea and do that with these.
Perhaps I will then fill them with tiny packages of homemade treats — or just with purchased mini treats of a similar theme (nuts? wrapped truffles? breakfast treats?) and then leave the filled stockings on the doorknobs of friends’ front doors.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing to wake up to?
(approximate cost of items: a quarter)
Me, I pack up water, cash, and a small snack and then I hit the road; for just a few hours I then become a modern day pirate in search of lost treasures. My hunting ground? I go to the Goodwill Outlet stores. …
So I was coming home through Grant Park, dog in tow, and the walk was allowing my mind to wander and tackle some of the big issues rattling around in my brain. Was there any leftover bacon in the fridge?
And then I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye, almost missing it. Parked there, quietly, minding its own business. I couldn’t quite compute what I was seeing – a computer on a car?…