Endless Road Trip: Pastrami in Portland?

We know that Portland does pork well…and ice cream, and of course weird food and breakfast. One thing I was not expecting to find in this foodie wonderland was a decent pastrami sandwich. Even more so than bagels or pizza-by-the-slice, pastrami is a food that rightfully belongs to the east coast, and to New York in particular. Just like West Coasters complain up and down that you can’t find good Mexican east of the Mississippi, there is now way I was gonna find a pastrami sandwich in Portland that beats those from somewhere like Lansky’s, right?

Except I did, and it is the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever had.

Kenny and Zuke’s is a collabo between a New York Jew and a native Oregonian who have taken on the old-school world of pastrami and created something new and amazing.

Their signature brand of brisket is wet-cured for seven days, rubbed with spices, and then comes the clincher: it’s smoked over oak for 10 hours, creating pieces of pastrami that have an intensely smoky flavor, but are also rich and juicy throughout, with not a hint of that dreaded dryness to be found in any bite.

But perhaps even more groundbreaking is that they address my long-standing complaint about the poor quality of bread found at Jewish delis. Instead of merely throwing their delicious pastrami on a piece of limp rye and letting the meat speak for itself, they serve theirs on fresh bread that’s made in-house. My choice: a pastrami club sandwich, with golden-brown rye toast and some very traif-y melted Swiss cheese. Also known as the best pastrami sandwich I have ever had. Sorry, New York—it’s true.

Also on The Endless Road Trip: Portland
1. Porklandia
2. All That’s Euro is Not Trash
3. Salt and Straw
4. Blue for Breakfast
5. Put Some Ink on It
6. Now That’s a Biscuit
7. The Most Elitist Berry of All


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