Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli - Portland, Oregon

Ben and  Esther's was our last stop for vegan eats on our little winter Oregon jaunt. We went on a Thursday afternoon and I don't know if it is traditionally Jewish deli day or what but the first thing that they told us when we walked in, was that they had been pillaged by the lunchtime crowd! We were a little surprised and disappointed that they had completely run out of their marble-rye bread but they expressed a willingness to be flexible and mix and match as necessary to feed us.

B & E is located at 1800 NE Alberta Street, another picturesque area, great for drifting aimlessly and enjoying the environs. We grabbed our eats to go this time as we had eaten not long before but didn't wnt to be driving back and forth from our hotel.
We decided to start with a 'Lizzo' Bagel. Their choice of bagels was quite limited due to the lunch run so our sandwich wasn't a true Lizzo with a jalapeno bagel. Still, everything else was true to the singer's preferences i.e. bacon, cheese, egg and a bacon-scallion schmear. This was a great breakfast sandwich and I'm certain that no carnivore would be able to tell that it was cruelty-free.
I'm not sure why I keep ordering knishes when I am at a deli (to be honest, I rarely get to real Jewish delis so this is only like the 3rd time), because they never really amaze me. Its basically mashed potato in dough. It sounds so much more exotic but, meh!
Potatoe Salad is definitely another Jewish Deli thing for me. Making it without egg or mayo (more egg) is a bit of a trick but this was quite good.
I was looking forward to Benny's Brisket on marble-rye but they were out of that. They agreed to make the sandwich on a hoagie which worked out pretty well. I'm not sure what the meat was (seitan? soy?) but it was pretty inspired. This was a beefy sandwich. With Swiss, mushrooms, horseradish and grilled onions, this was a hit. It came with a nice big spear of dill pickle as well.
Matzo Ball Soup is another one of those iconic Jewish deli things that you have to order. We enjoyed this a lot as it was homey and warming and could have been something your mother fed you on a rainy day whether she was Jewish or not.
Finally, we shared a cookie. Sort of an apricot or peach filled short-bread thing. It was pretty tasty. Should have gotten a few more.
So we found this all to be fairly impressive with a lot of creativity shown to reproduce the deli favourites but cruelty-free. Its not hard to see why they would get wiped out at lunchtime. I would thnk that arriving early is the wise strategy. I was impressed by the server's willingness to put together whatever they had left to feed us!
Food                              4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options               5 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          5 out of 5
Value                             4 1/2 out of 5

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...