Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Alice's Bagels

(UPDATE 8/13/13: This cart now is the second home for Fried Egg I'm in Love!)

(UPDATE 3/24/13: Unfortunately, I learned Alice's Bagels will be closing at the end of March. Getting through the winter is not an easy task. Alice has put the cart up for sale.)

Alice's Bagels is located at the Good Food Here food pod in Portland, Oregon. Alice has taken over the cart that Lardo formerly occupied. Their opening day was August 17, and I had to check it out.

Opening day (8/17/12), around 8:45 a.m.
Opening day was a scorcher, and many carts throughout Portland ended up closing early or not opening at all. It would be a short day for Alice, closing at noon to give the equipment a reprieve from the sun.

Opening day menu!

I got there around 8:30 that morning, and with such a short day, the lunch special was basically up all day. the $6 bagel sandwich included sliced nectarines, arugula, schmear (cream cheese), and a maple-balsamic reduction drizzle inside a bagel of your choice.

Lunch special
(Alice's Bagels)
The other side gives a better shot of the prosciutto!
Bagel options are plain, salted, poppy seed, or onion. There are three types of schmear: plain, scallion, or maple-bacon. I'll definitely try the maple-bacon schmear next time.

For $2 more, I added prosciutto to this one and opted for the onion bagel for maximum flavor. The panda loved his choice. Savory-sweet contrasting ingredients just work. Nectarines and prosciutto? Yup. The bite of the arugula added even more pleasing flavors.

A few suggestions from my first visit: I think there was a bit much cream cheese on the sandwich, and it looked like it just got liberally tossed on with no afterthought. Presentation does count for something. Also, I'll be sure to request the bagel toasted (or much more toasted) next time. The bagel itself was chewy and harder to eat, but a toasted bagel may give me a more positive experience. After all, who doesn't like the crunch of a good bagel?

A few days later, I went back for my second visit. I relayed my feedback to Alice, and she welcomed my comments. I got probably one of the messier items on the menu this time....

The #5 (and it's five bucks) starts vegetarian; maple butter, Frank's Red Hot sauce, and cheddar on a bagel of your choice. I added a sausage patty for a dollar more. Alice liked my choice and mentioned she puts extra maple on this when she eats it.

Yup, it's messy!
Maple butter, Frank's Red Hot, cheddar, fried egg, sausage patty
(Alice's Bagels)
Yeah, I probably should have asked for more maple butter, or just maple syrup in general. The Frank's Red Hot really upstaged the maple butter here. It's not a huge problem for me, because I love a good tangy hot sauce, but it may pose an issue for others that might want a more balanced bite.

I got a fried overeasy egg in my bagel sandwich, which to my knowledge wasn't part of the deal, but hey, it worked. The egg was perfectly cooked, for the record.

Finally, I chose a poppyseed bagel here, and I kept joking to my friend that I'm glad I wasn't taking some type of drug test for a job screening dealie. Alice honored my wishes and lightly toasted the bagel. It wasn't chewy this time around and still had a slight crunch despite being coated in hot sauce and runny egg yolk. I won't complain about the mess because I embrace messiness. It's like a rite of passage in life, really.

As I alluded to above, there are several fried egg bagel sandwiches on the menu. Each starts out as vegetarian, and then you can add some meat (usually sausage or bacon) for a dollar more. They also have a lox plate ($9), consisting of a bagel, schmear, house-cured lox, red onions, capers, and sliced tomato. Anything house-made already appeals to me.

You might also be able to get a half-dozen bagels for $8 and a dozen for $14. I'll certainly be back to try some of those other menu items! 7.5/10

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