Hole-y War: Speilman Coffee Roasters

Seedy bagel with roasted veggie cream cheese from Speilman Coffee Roasters

I am absolutely a huge fan of bagels and all things chock full of carbohydrates. However, I wasn't able to quite wrap my head around the uproar, panic, and public outcry that took place a few years ago when longtime local favorite spot, Kettleman bagels, was bought out by corporate chain Einstein Bro's in late 2011. After living here a few years, I now am beginning to get a sense of why. Portland doesn't seem to mess around when it comes to bagels. Especially boiled bagels. The boiled bagel is an area that I openly admit to be unfamiliar with. What is the different between boiled and baked? Baked and steamed? 

I have embarked on a quest toward investigating the so-called "boiled bagel battle" currently going down in Portland. What makes ones crust and texture more desirable than the next? Do flavored/topped bagels reign supreme, or does the blank canvas of a well-made plain bagel with a delicate shmear rise to the top? Are we all really made of stars? To begin to answer these questions, I set out to Speilman Coffee Roasters in SE PDX. I figured Speilman would be a good place to start, considering I have received multiple recommendations to check it out, and they roast their own coffee beans. Sold.

The ambiance: chill. The counter: loaded with bagels.

After finding some self control and fighting off the urge to order a full-blown lox plate, I had a hard time choosing between all of Speilman's bagel flavs (salt and pepper, golden raisin & fennel, the classic 'Everything' go-to, just to name a few). I went with the Seedy variety. The bagel was super tasty, topped with a crust of pumpkin, sesame and poppy seeds. A nice crunch to the crust, and a soft and pillowy, yet dense bagel within. But the star, in my opinion, was the cream cheese. Smokey and a little zippy, with swirls of roasted veggie ribbons. Speilman has a slew of cream cheeses to select from, including chive, salted caramel, blueberry, smoked salmon, and more. Reading the menu has inspired me to make a few concoctions of my own at home.

Should the cream cheese really outshine the bagel? My guess is no, but I have no complains about my Speilman experience. I will definitely be returning for another Seedy and a cup of their robust joe, and maybe a lox plate if I'm feeling flush. I hope to check out Henry Higgens and the Bridgetown Bagel cart to continue to weigh in on this showdown. Stay Tuned!

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