Summer is road-trip season, so we're taking a culinary tour of America. But because Portland is a city of immigrants from other states, we don't have to leave town to do it. We're traveling to 50 Portland restaurants to try one distinctive food from each state. Our 50 Plates tour continues with a pastrami burger from Utah, which joined the union on January 4, 1896.
Other foods considered and rejected: Funeral potatoes, Utah scones, Aggie Blue Mint ice cream, Jell-O salad, Dutch Oven food.
Get it from: Mi Mero Mole's Nick Zukin, who has probably eaten more hamburgers than any other man in Portland, modeled Ace Hotel deli Kenny & Zuke's (1038 SW Stark St, 222-3354, kennyandzukes.com) pastrami burger on Crown Burgers' monstrosity, right down to the orange fry sauce. Zukin has moved on from the deli, but the burger remains, and it is a delicious delivery vehicle for three heart attacks' worth of fat and meat. K & Z's thick, beautifully cured pastrami adds an entire extra dimension of texture to the classic burger; the burger itself comes charred on the outside and (if you ask for it) red on the inside. Burger king for a day.
Click on the map to see each state's distinctive food and where to get it in Portland.