It is with some trepidation that I wade into the subject of bagels. But my research of Portland breakfast carts insists on it.
And it will be without fear, regret or delay that I will soon hit up Bridgetown Bagels for another breakfast sandwich or two. For that’s what happened recently, when one sandwich just wasn’t enough. After all, I am also a hiking researcher, and a man needs lunch, too.
Whenever it’s time to hit up a Portland breakfast cart, I put in a call to Jen Stevenson of 100 Best Places to Stuff Your Faces (new edition coming soon!). We have this thing called Operation Big Belly, where we hit up all the breakfast carts together (see Brunch Box and Egg Carton). We caught a super-sunny day at the Rose City Food Park, NE 52nd and Sandy, where there are several other carts, covered seating, and coffee shops nearby.
On this day, however, we felt mildly taunted by a sign next to our table. Here’s Jen staring it down.
I was not thinking of fitness at all, though I was hiking to Tamanawas Falls near Mount Hood later in the day. So I had no problem in ordering something called Three Little Pigs. As you might imagine, this includes three variations on pig flesh: ham, sausage, and bacon, with an egg. With all the sandwiches on their menu, you get to choose from Plain, Sesame, Poppy, Garlic, Onion, Salt, and Everything bagels, and they insist that they make “hand rolled, traditional, New York style, boiled bagels.” I don’t have strong feelings about bagels — I grew up semi-Presbyterian in the South — so long as they taste good. And these tasted damn good, nice and fresh.
Couldn’t resist a close-up:
And even after I bit into it ….
And, of course, my favorite picture of all: a picture of a person taking a picture of food.
Everything about this sandwich was perfect: the meat was tasty and cooked just right, the egg didn’t fall apart on me, and the bagel was tender enough that when I bit into it, nothing came squirting out the other side. It was easily one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve had, and possibly my favorite food cart breakfast in Portland. I have to get back to some other places to confirm this.
In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to get another one to go, for my hike. You can build your own sandwich by choosing a bagel, then a spread (Plain, Scallion, or Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese; toffuti; or hummus) a cheese (Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Mozzarella), veggies (Lettuce, Red Onions, Black Olives, Pickles, Capers, Tomatoes, Avocados) and meat (Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Salami, Pepperoni, Lox, Whitefish). Each one has its own price. For example, a bagel with cream cheese, two veggies, and one of the porks is $3.50. Whitefish is another $3 and Lox another $5.
I let them do the picking and got the Lox Sandwich with cream cheese, onions, and capers. That was $9 and came with chips and a pickle.
It seems we’re getting another wave of Portland breakfast food carts, and I’m all for it, since just about every food cart in the second edition of my book either closed or drove off to another city. So I welcome Bridgetown Bagels to the scene. And like I said, I take no stand on the “right way” to do a bagel. Barbecue is another story–I am from Memphis!–but for bagels … just make ‘em good and fresh. Bridgetown Bagels does that, and completely nails the rest of the sandwich, as well.
Bridgetown Bagels is in the Rose City Food Park at NE 52nd and Sandy. They say they are open 7 to 1 weekdays and 8 to 2 on Saturdays, but I find it best to confirm this with all carts. Their phone number is (503) 268-2522. They take credit/debit cards and are also on Facebook and Twitter.