Sunday, November 10, 2013

Aunt Fanny has some Hot Pretzels

A roadtrip from Portland to San Francisco would not be the same without pretzel tasting...well and maybe wine tasting ...but you can probably guess what I gravitated more towards. 

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of touristy restraunts and shops but buried closer to the ocean, near the salty water taffy shop, is a little stand called Aunt Fanny's Hot Pretzels. The pretzels are indeed hot but also doughy, drowned in butter, salted to perfection (if you prefer) and complete when dipped in cheese sauce (think nacho cheese sauce, so nothing too fancy). The first bite convinces you that you have embarked on one rich pretzel eating experience.

I think I would frequent this place a lot should the brand ever decide to expand to Portland - maybe close to the waterfront? 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Bier Stein Pretzel is Mighty Fine

My first trip to Eugene, OR was spent at The Bier Stein, a local beer shop that has over a thousand bottles of beer with at least ten unique brews on tap! It has only been around since 2005 but has expanded over the years given its popularity, especially with U of O students. 

Their food is amazing, but of course I  am partial to their pretzels. They are soft, salty, and complement their beer selections to a T. The cheese fondue and mustard give the pretzel an added kick too. I think I could have had several more helpings of their beer cheese fondue sauce by itself! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hand Made Hammond's Pretzels: A Tasty Tradtion

While not kin to Portland, if you haven't had a Hammond's pretzel you're missing out. Hammond's pretzels might be crispy but somehow they look and taste like a soft pretzel. Music to my taste-buds.

My boyfriend's co-worker recently introduced us to this little family-owned and operated bakery based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and naturally I needed to try their pretzels to see what all they hype was about.They have been producing hand-made sourdough pretzels since 1931 and are regarded as the "oldest continuously family operated hand-made pretzel bakery in America." Their little Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch Hard pretzel is definitely something to brag about.

Their pretzel products range from no salt to extra salty to dark pretzels (which have a more burnt consistency but are surprisingly still pretty tasty). I had the regular pretzel and dark pretzel and would have to say I am a bigger fan of the regular one, although it's pretty tempting to order some of the "extra salty" pretzels... for comparison purposes.

It turns out Pretzels were first introduced to the Americas by "Palatine Germans" or "Pennsylvanian Dutch" and the birthplace of the American Pretzel as we know it today began in Lititz, a city right outside of Lancaster in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Philadelphia in particular is one of the well known cities, in addition to New York and Chicago for their scrumptious soft pretzels - I wonder what it will take to get Portland on that list? I guess if Portlandinans start consuming twelve times more pretzels than the national average like Philly then we might also be recognized as a place for pretzels!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bretzels and Brewfests

Summer in Portland means many things, but one thing that always catches my eye are brewfests. Portland International Beerfest and Oregon Brewers Festival are two of my favorites.

Held right in the heart of the Pearl district, the Portland International Beerfest offers 150 world class beers from 60 different countries. These beers are strong, but luckily Fressen pretzels were available on-site to remedy me from getting too out of hand.

The Oregon Brewers Festival, located alongside the waterfront, offers beer selections that are more my style. In addition to 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon, this year I also took a liking to Oakshire OBF 26 an Imperial Oregon Ale.

In terms of pretzels, however, I would say the Oregon Brewers Festival has a doughy leg up on the International beerfest. While Fressen is delicious and if you can't tell by now, abundant in Portland restaurants, it's pretty hard to compete with Gustav's pretzel. Along with a sumptuous texture and abundant flavor the cheese fondue that accompanies this salty treat pushes this tasting experience into realms normally reserved for the original pretzel masters in Bavaria. In fact, Gustav's pretzel was what kicked off this blog and I must say it still stacks up pretty high in my book.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pretzel Bun Burgers a Growing Trend! #PretzelLoveSongs

In case there was any doubt pretzels were popular, it turns out pretzel-buns are a growing trend, especially during the summertime and my taste buds could not be more delighted.

In the last two months, Sonic Drive-In introduced two new Pretzel Dogs: the Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog and the Original Pretzel Dog (topped with mustard) and Wendy's sang from the rooftops about their highly anticipated Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

My Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger 
For those of you who don't know me well, Sonic Drive-In holds a special place in my heart - aside from the fact I am from Oklahoma it was a place my family and friends and I frequented numerous times growing up and in college. The fact they are jumping on the pretzel bun bandwagon is just too good to be true. The worst part? I still haven't tried one! Oregon only has three Sonics, and not necessarily conveniently located for me. However, I will make it happen and whoever reads this blog (or follows me on Twitter) will hear all about it...

As for Wendy's I caved last night. Naturally, I needed to know what all the hype was about. Let me just say it was definitely love at first bite. The pretzel bun was soft, warm and the perfect ratio of bread to burger. The combination of the two cheeses, spinach leaves, onions and tomatoes (and obviously bacon) made something simple seem magical.

What's more, Wendy's carried out a '360 marketing' approach, pairing this debut with a national TV and radio campaign, outdoor billboards and a Nick Lachey digital marketing campaign. In case you aren't familiar, if you tweet your love for the Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger using #PretzelLoveSongs, Nick just might turn those tweets into tunes.

There will be a finale video in August. My stomach will be twisted in knots waiting to hear if Nick will sing my tweet - let alone RT my tweets...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Starbucks is now serving Bavarian Pretzels!

Stoneground Dijon
Bavarian Style Pretzel
Starbucks is practically on every corner. In fact, in Portland alone there are at least 30 Starbucks locations throughout the metro-area - some of my favorites include the one in The Pearl and the one in Sellwood. So you can imagine my excitement when even Starbucks decided pretzels were a hot commodity too! 

They are now offering an Asiago & Cheddar, Bavarian style pretzel - with the cheddar melted perfectly inside the pretzel - and a Stoneground Dijon, Bavarian style pretzel - Dijon melted inside as well! I must say I was taken aback when I realized the mustard was inside of the pretzel, a very unique twist for coffee lovers on the go. 

While I imagine there is some debate/preference on which pretzel is better, I will have to say that the Asiago & Cheddar one wins in my book.

Next time you head to Starbucks to get that morning coffee, grab a pretzel and let me know on Twitter - @PDXPretzels - which salty carb you prefer!

Asiago & Cheddar, Bavarian Style Pretzel @Starbucks 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Now that was a Good(Life) Pretzel (Bend, OR)

A little over a month ago a few of my friends and I hopped over to beautiful Bend, OR to conquer the Bend Ale Trail. Out of all the breweries we visited, Goodlife Brewing gets a stamp of approval in my book. 

Not only did they have a great selection of ales, but they also had a delicious Bavarian Pretzel! This pretzel consists of their own spent grain salted soft pretzel paired with their German stone ground mustard and pale ale cheese sauce. The pretzel was good (a little flaky, and had a dinner roll-like taste), but the dipping sauce made it excellent. We couldn't get enough of it! 

If you haven't been to Bend or tried to tackle the Bend Ale Trail I promise you, you won't be disappointed. However, you might be intoxicated. If you're up for the challenge, at least you know you can carb-load in style along the way...

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Breakdown of National Pretzel Day 2013: Breakside Brewery

If there is one random holiday to celebrate, National Pretzel Day is a solid choice. This year I started out by treating my lovely Waggener Edstrom co-workers to Nuvrei's salt and cheddar pretzel bagels. What better way to start a Friday? To top off my morning, one of my co-workers bought me a Pretzel Day shirt!

After work, my friends and I then met up at Breakside Brewery to try out their pretzels and have a few beers.

While not on the menu that night, rest assured they do have a mighty fine Bavarian Pretzel. This appetizer comes with two warm pretzels from Fressen Bakery (a popular bakery for pretzels in Portland), served with Dry Stout mustard (delicious and slightly spicy), Obatzda (not so delicious), Radishes (mainly for decor) and Onions.

While the Obatzda wasn't my favorite side, it deserves some love. Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy typically served in German biergartens. Traditionally it combines aged soft cheese (Camembert or Romadur), a third of butter in addition to salt, pepper, hot paprika powder and naturally, a small amount of beer. I love cheese spreads but this spread didn't add up for my taste buds, I preferred the mustard. 

If you're dying to try this pretzel, I recommend going Sunday-Thursday from 3-6 PM and/or 9 PM to close so you can order from their Happy Hour Menu. We paid $9 per pretzels, but during Happy Hour the pretzel is only $4, quite a bargain for what you get in return.

Special thanks to all of my incredible friends for coming out to celebrate, your support for my pretzel adventures does not go unrecognized and it wouldn't have been near as much without you all there.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Twist and Shout! It's National Pretzel Day!

April 26th might be just another day to some people, but for salty carbo loving folks it is a day to celebrate!

This year I decided I would go to a brewery I had never been before - Breakside Brewery. I have heard a lot of people rave about their Bavarian Pretzels so now it's time to put it to the test. Check back next week to see how it stacks up!

On a separate note, I also wanted to take a minute to congratulate a new pretzel-loving friend Andrea Slonecker, who just released a new cookbook Pretzel Making at HomeNeedless to say I am excited to try some of her tasty recipes. Andrea was also recently featured in Portland Monthly Magazine, just in time for National Pretzel Day and low and behold Portland Pretzels got a little shout out! (Huge thanks to Andrea and Portland Monthly Magazine's Allison Jones!) 

Andrea Slonecker: Pretzel Making at Home
If you're celebrating National Pretzel Day send a picture of your tasty-gem to @PDXPretzels and while you're at it, give a little shout out to @AndreaSlonecker, congratulating her on her new cookbook!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hooray for Nuvrei!

Nestled in NW Portland, Nuvrei might have some mighty fine cakes and pastries, but they also have a delightful Smoked Cheddar and Wild Salmon Pretzel sandwich. This cheddar pretzel bagel comes with a chive cream spread, smoked wild sockeye salmon and smoked cheddar.

The cheddar pretzel sandwich was the perfect portion for a little brunch snack. It was served warm and had a perfectly soft consistency.

If you find yourself strolling around in NW treat your taste-buds  and stop in to Nuvrei.

I also recently tried their "salt bagel" with a fried egg...stay tuned for that review!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Taber Tavern Has A Terrific Pretzel

After hearing about a new place in town with pretzels, my friend and I finally got to see what it was all about. Nestled on East Burnside, Taber Tavern not only has pretzels on their menu, but they serve them two at a time with a house beer mustard (spicy) dipping sauce that I couldn't stop eating.

Fressen Bakery Pretzel and Taber Tavern Pale Ale Pints
Although technically their pretzel is from Fressen Artisan Bakery, which has yet to make an appearance on my blog until today, Taber Tavern completes the picture with their delicious mustard sauce and the fact they serve them warm. I also might add that their pretzel tastes very similar to the pretzels I had the pleasure of eating when I was in Germany last September. However, fun fact - pretzels in Germany rarely get served warm. I personally like my pretzels being warm (and salty, obviously). 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There's a Whole Lotta Love for Deschutes Brewery

As soon as people wrap their heads around the fact I have a blog dedicated to reviewing pretzels that I eat in Portland one of their first questions is not surprisingly, "What's the best pretzel you have had in Portland?"

This is tough. However, my first off-the-top-of-my-head answer is usually...drum roll please...

Deschutes Brewery.

Whenever I have friends visiting from outside of the Portland this is usually where I take them. I have already blogged about their delicious pretzel (might I remind you it comes with a creamy white cheese sauce with Black Butte Porter stone ground mustard sauce around the edge), but for this post I wanted to share that not only am I a fan of Deschutes but when my friend Dalton and his wife Elaine were in Portland and I took them here they also would agree that it was a tasty little treat!

Earlier last year my friend Corey came to visit and he was in Portland for only about a week and we ended up going to Deschutes twice! I guess my taste in restaurants (pretzels) isn't too shabby! Fortunately, I live in a city that is off the charts when it comes to good places to eat!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Starting 2013 off right with a Grosse Neujahrs-Breze

Happy New Year!

My sister sent me a recipe for a Grosse Neujahrs-Breze or a New Year's Pretzel and I figured it would be the perfect way to start off 2013 for Portland Pretzels!

In Germany, pretzels are a symbol of good luck. The Grosse Neujahrs-Breze is made a bit differently than some pretzels as three strands of dough are braided before you twist it into the traditional pretzel shape.

Additionally, pennies are randomly hidden in the dough and if you find it, your New Year's wish(es) are supposed to come true! While my breze doesn't look exactly like the picture included in the recipe I followed, I can assure you that it was delicious. Essentially a puffy, soft consistency with a slight lemony/salted flavoring. The added lemon flavor was likely because my nephew poured a little too much lemon juice into the batter vs. lemon zest like the recipe called for. Luckily it didn't ruin it :) I also hid raisins in the dough to reprsent the pennies, because I thought it would be more sanitary (and tastier for that matter).

Happy New Year!
If you are interested in twisting up your New Year's traditions I highly recommend following this recipe.

Cheers to 2013!