THE LOX WEEKEND

Here they're large, hot and fresh, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. If you buy a dozen to go, freeze them within a couple of hours, and they'll be good for a week.

Since a breakfast like this is designed to see you through til dinner, we had some rugalach to ensure against an outbreak of early appetite syndrome. These little pastry rolls, produced in Chompie's own bakery, come with various fillings: cinnamon and sugar, raisins and nuts, and chocolate. I wonder if Juan Valdez is aware of them--they're great with coffee.

Naturally, a traditional breakfast like this is followed by another Sunday ritual: an afternoon nap.

Boman's, 3731 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 947-2934. Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

After a week of rest and recuperation, we made the pilgrimage over to Boman's, exchanging the kids for friends Bob and Ellen. A couple of New York refugees, they've been in the Valley since the mid-1970s, as long as Boman's. But they hadn't eaten here for years and were ready for another try.

Not quite as spiffy as Chompie's, Boman's atmosphere is strictly deli-utilitarian: a couple of hanging artificial plants, posters and gray paneling. A wood picket fence separates the deli counter from the eating area. The seating is cramped, but there's a real deli feel.

At 9:30 we had no trouble getting a table, although an hour later customers had to wait.

As ritual demands, we started with a nicely arranged assorted-fish platter for two, presented on a ceramic, fish-shaped serving dish with its tail broken off.

Boman's delivered a generous portion of the usual Sunday-morning suspects: herring in cream sauce, barbecued cod, baked salmon, smoked whitefish and smoked salmon. Artfully positioned olives, sliced onion, a few slices of tomato, a big scoop of cream cheese and tons of lettuce rounded out the platter.

While we had no complaint with its size, we had misgivings about the quality. The lox couldn't approach the smooth, smoky taste of Chompie's Nova Scotia salmon. Nor was the pickled herring memorable. The cream sauce was not very creamy and had too few onions.

But the barbecued cod and baked salmon were wonderful, moist, meaty hunks of fish that quickly disappeared.

We also sampled the blintzes. They're less than half the price of Chompie's, but only about half as good. On some scales, I suppose, that's considered value, but not on mine. These simply weren't good enough to make us take more than a few desultory passes.

But by far the biggest disappointment here are the bagels. And for our congregation, that's a sin--and mortal, not venial.

Here it is Sunday morning, when 95 percent of all bagels are baked and consumed, and we get bagels that are not only stone cold, they're not even particularly fresh. Unlike Chompie's, Boman's seemed to have only one variety--plain. (Our waitress never asked us what kind of bagels we wanted.) The texture was rubbery, and even toasting didn't help much.

And besides tasting like they came from the recipe files of Annie Hall's Grammy, the bagels were small.

Remember the reaction when Roseanne Arnold screeched the National Anthem while massaging her crotch? Or when a Cincinnati museum exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe's impious artwork? I began to understand the anger of the patriots and true believers. These bagels stirred up the same feelings in me. A sacred ritual had been profaned.

We tried to put the botched bagels out of mind after the waitress informed us of homemade rugalach. Unfortunately, the pastries are stored in tightly sealed little plastic bags, so they arrived somewhat limp and soggy.

A pity, because the coffee here was good enough for me to down about five cups. Too bad it wasn't washing down food worthy of it.

As we left, Bob made a face and Ellen shook her head. "Now I remember why I haven't eaten here since 1983," Bob said. For Sunday breakfasters, Boman's is not the answer to your prayers.

CABBAGES AND KINGS... v8-19-92

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