Because Oregon is so homogenous, Portland restaurateurs are faced with a clientele who probably won't call them on any cultural discrepancies hidden within their menus. While some restaurant owners occasionally succeed in transplanting the flavor of a particular culture's food (read: Escape From New York Pizza), most ignorantly appropriate entire menus with only a passing nod to those who actually created the fare.
Take Noah's Bagels, for example. True, this Noah person may have developed a bagel that tastes a bit like New York Jew food. But how Jewish and New Yorkish is it really? Noah's slogan reads, "Authentic New York Deli from Someone Who Knows." Yet only ONE out of the FIVE Noah's Bagels scattered around Portland is actually kosher! Not to mention (though I will anyway) that Noah's actually started in Berkeley, CA--and there is not now, or has there ever been, one single Noah's in New York City!
Perhaps the most sinister aspect of Noah's is the overbearing and cloying appropriation of the Yiddish language. Signs litter the dining room with phrases like, "Be a Mensch.* Schlepp some bagels. (*Yiddish for a good guy or girl)." Yet will any of these stolen phrases authenticate your experience or even make your bagel taste better?
What's more, Noah's now serves "bagel dogs." Hello, that's PORK! Needless to say, Noah's not only paints a false picture of Jewish culture, they're getting rich off it! And this is a crime that can only be eclipsed by the stomach-turning atrocity of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." Oy Gevalt.