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!