15 July 2008

A love note to Kenny and Zuke's

We first encountered K & Z's at Christmas, when we stayed at the Governor Hotel before continuing on to Mt. Angel. We saw it on an early morning wander through NW Portland while looking for a more substantial breakfast that pastries. Imagine our surprise to find a updated deli smack on the Ace Hotel and Stumptown Coffee. Intrigued, we stopped and grabbed a table, and ordered from an unapologetically retro menu.

To say our meals were good, or even great is to miss the point entirely. I have never had pastrami or corned beef made with as much love and care as Kenny and Zuke's uses. Both meats were perfectly cured from fine beef. The sides and condiments were perfect. The bread was hearty deli bread. There was nothing light or nouvelle about K&Zs deli cuisine: it was and is full bodied, full flavored, full of fat and satisfaction.

I could not stop thinking about it, so it should be no surprise that one of my first stops while in Portland for my mother's birthday was K&Zs. I bought sandwiches and lox and bagels for mom and me - with which my mother was thrilled (Mt. Angel, and her retirement community aren't really hip to Central European meets American ethnic food filtered through the Slow and Craft Food movements.) It should also be no surprise that I bought lox, corned beef and pastrami to take back to Washington, DC with me.

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