HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- With four locations on the North Shore - including this one in Highland Park - the venerable Once Upon a Bagel knows deli. A big part of that equation is the fish counter - with four tuna salads and several smoked items, including salmon. They plow through more than a thousand pounds of salmon every week, but lately, they've been selling the more premium Scottish salmon from H. Forman & Son, a 110 year-old business from London.
"No food coloring added, no chemical, no nitrites, no sugar, it's just the basic, natural fish, and the flavor of the Scottish salmon is phenomenal," said Once Upon a Bagel owner Steve Geffen.
The brand is huge in Europe - carried at the finest markets. In Highland Park, you can get it on a lox plate with the works, or better yet, in a bagel sandwich with a shmear of cream cheese and a little tomato or onion. One of the keys - in addition to its lack of stabilizers and additives - is how it's smoked.
"We use a smoke wheel, we use friction smoke. Everybody else uses fire or burning of wood chips or sawdust. We actually use oak wood logs and filter it down against a spinning wheel," said Ethan Forman, the 4th generation to work for the family business.
That's a plus for the chefs at Sushi Dokku in the West Loop. Here, they buy the entire fillet, then break it down, slicing off the fatty edges, but maintaining that beautiful, fat-streaked interior for sashimi and nigiri. Forman says the fish is highly perishable since it's unadulterated, but the few extra dollars a pound don't seem to bother quality-minded kitchens.
"The trend for luxury food is more back to style rather than convenience. There's really trend going back to old school ways of doing things like smoked salmon," said Forman.
So whether it's bagels on the North Shore or in nigiri form here downtown, you're going to be seeing one of London's favorite smoked salmons all over Chicago in the months to come.
Once Upon A Bagel
1888 1st St., Highland Park
(also available at Northbrook location)
823 W. Randolph St.
H. Forman & Son smoked salmon available at:
Whole Foods (available at some locations, call ahead to ask)
Plum Market (Old Town)
Pastoral Artisan Cheese (All Downtown Locations)
Carnival Grocery (Lincoln Park)
Sunset Foods (All 5 Suburban Locations)
Dorfler's Meats (Buffalo Grove)
Kaufman's Delicatessen (Skokie)
Elegance in Meats (Northbrook)
Emma's Bagels (Skokie)
Max's Delicatessen (Highland Park)
Upper Crust Bagels (Deerfield & Northbrook)
Garden Fresh Grocery (Northbrook)
Foodstuffs (Glencoe, Evanston, & Lake Forest)
Grand Food Center (Winnetka)
Hofherr Meat Company (northfield)
Japonais (River North)
Rare Tea Cellars (Lakeview)
Supreme Lobster (Villa Park)
City Winery (West Loop)
Eleven City Diner (S Loop & Lincoln Park)
Once Upon a Bagel features Scottish smoked salmon
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