Great Bread & Gratitude

I was in NW Portland, which is directly on the opposite end of town from us, on Tuesday for an appointment and I accidently arrived 45 minutes early.  I had planned on picking up bread at Ken’s Artisan Bakery after my appointment, but I decided to take the extra time before my appointment for a bread run.  I got to Ken’s and found a parking spot right out front, which was my first bit of serendipity.

I went in and walked up to the counter repeating the mantra to myself: I am here for bread, not treats.  I asked about a recommendation for a good bread for sandwiches.  The woman at the counter suggested the Pain Rustique and I had been leaning toward that one too.  As the bread slid into the bag I spied the Hazelnut Pound Cake in the display window.  My German taste buds spoke up and I also added one slice of the pound cake to my order.

I readied myself to pay and the woman behind the counter asked if I would be interested in trying out their Walnut Bread as a sandwich bread—for free.  Free, fresh bread—who would turn down that offer?  I had the choice of the Walnut Bread as a baguette or loaf.  I picked the loaf and thanked her profusely.  Henrik had his traditional almond butter and honey sandwich on it.  He called it “burnt bread” because it had a dark crust and was pretty crunchy.

I was immediately called to dress it up with butter and honey.  It was delicious.  It turns out that the Ken’s website suggests that preparation also.  I also think that it would be a great compliment to our favorite winter root vegetable soups.  The Walnut Bread may be a little rough on our pallets as a sandwich bread, but as a single slice, it is great.  I appreciate the opportunity to try it out.  I wouldn’t have been inspired to buy the Walnut Bread on my own, but now that I have tried it, I will buy it again.

Also, I would like to express my appreciation for the customer service I received at Ken’s.  The woman behind the counter was courteous and knowledgeable.  I have come to expect rude and inept employees in restaurants and retail stores in Portland and my experience at Ken’s was a welcome and refreshing change.  Thank you, Ken’s.

I had said that I wanted the Pain Rustique for sandwiches, but I was really planning on making salmon burgers.  I make the burgers with canned salmon from Vital Choice (they use BPA free cans).  I mix in an egg, 1 clove of crushed fresh garlic, about a tablespoon of Worcestershire and dried ginger root and yellow mustard seed (powder) to taste.  We all love them.  I made them a little oval to fit the loaf shape and they tasted great with the Pain Rustique.  I will definitely repeat that combo.  Oh, and the Hazelnut Pound Cake tasted great too!

If you are looking for a great compliment a wide variety of foods, try Ken’s artisan breads and sweets.  I wish you a parking spot out front and the serendipity to try something new.

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