I was born and bred in New York…. and yes… I know New Yorkers think they invented just about everything…. but I’m thinking we’re right about the bagel….. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of mail about this one….
Today there are many wonderful bagel bakeries around the country…. but the closest I’ve come outside of the New York City area to the bagel of my childhood……. is Bruegger’s Bagels. They are a franchise chain…. and according to Wikipedia the second largest of its kind in the US. They are in 23 states and the District of Columbia….. so if you have one by you and you have never tried their bagels…. you must.
I love bagels….. well …. I guess I’m a true New Yorker…. and you simply cannot be a New Yorker and not love bagels. I can wax poetic about the attributes of the perfect bagel…. but I don’t want to bore you to death…. however I will say that a slightly crisp exterior and a doughy inside are among the most important.
The bagels of my childhood were from the local “bagel place”…. A tiny store front…. with a long counter….. along the back wall behind the counter were these baskets filled with different kinds of bagels. I don’t remember having as many choices as we have today… but I do remember these bagels…salt, poppy seed, onion, garlic, sesame seed (my favorite as a kid), pumpernickel, and of course, plain ones…. not sure if there were any others back then.
You took a number and when it was called you had your order ready…. and they were put into brown paper bags….. you paid and off you went. The bagel place by my house didn’t sell cream cheeses or anything else with it. Bagels were cheap…. I remember we did fundraisers in high school selling bagels in the morning for 25 cents a piece….. hey it was the 70’s….(I think I just gave away my age :(…. just kidding).
On Long Island where I lived… there was one bagel place called “Bagel Nosh” and it was ahead of its time…. it was a cafeteria style restaurant ….. you ordered your bagel sandwiches and any side salads… paid and off you went to find your table. I’m not sure they are still in business… but they were great.
Back then…. I never met a bagel I didn’t like…. then I moved out of the New York City area…. Bagels weren’t the same…. until I found Bruegger’s Bagels….. all I can say is… I love them… my new favorite is the “Everything Bagel”…. Their sandwiches and soups are fantastic…. I really miss them. Whenever we go back to the house in upstate NY…. we have to go to Bruegger’s….
As for the “lox” part of the National Holiday…. I’m not a fan of lox…. Lox is a salmon fillet that has been cured. It is cut very thinly and served on a bagel with cream cheese…. some people swear by it…. personally I’ll take the bagel and a schmear (cream cheese)…
Soooo…. If you have bagels readily available… and want to be a hit at work tomorrow morning… stop by the bagel shop and bring some in to work!
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