Bagels are meh...

I’ve tried maybe 20 different bagels, about 10 in the US and 10 here in Peru (included some imported from the US) and I have to say I’ve never found them anything other than meh…
By themselves they are doughy and rather tiresome to chew. With some stuff on top it get better but even then, the toroid shape just isn’t great for putting things on and, if your bread needs stuff on top to be good, it’s just second-class bread.
Am I missing something or do you agree?

The dense chewiness of bagels is a feature, not a bug. It’s the perfect vehicle for certain toppings that would overwhelm the crumb of more delicate breads.

I happen to think a really good bagel, especially one with some cheese baked into the crust, can stand just fine on its own. But if you don’t like 'em, you don’t like 'em. Nothing to miss.

There are two kinds of bagels in the world: Those made in the New York area, and those made everywhere else. Once you have some from the latter, you can appreciate the former.

Depending on where you get your bagels, they will be some approximation of what a New York bagel is. Most of the time, it is just as you describe - a round piece of white bread with a chewy shell, some seeds and a hole. Meh, indeed.

Bagels are Teh Awesum! I love the chewiness of a true bagel; a really good bagel is a great thing to eat all on its own. The fact that every bite will have crust is also a plus.

The fact that they are the perfect vehicle for cream cheese and lox just takes them from amazing to superb. :slight_smile:

Bagels are meth! And I am hooked. On bagels, that is.

I would love to have an everything bagel. Now. With a half kilo of real butter. And a half kilo of Philly.

Sadly that isn’t an option in my neighborhood.

Indeed. There is something about a NY bagel - the perfect crunch on the outside leading the delicious warm chewiness on the inside - that is just amazing.

Any packaged commercial bagel sold in a store/supermarket is a guaranteed meh.

Freshly baked ones from a place that knows how to do it are worthwhile.

If by “the New York area” you are being expansive and including Montreal, I agree. Otherwise, you are sadly mistaken.

You realize you’re supposed to cut them in half, right?

Yeah, people on the west coast will point out a “really good bagel!” to me, but they ain’t never been to Zabar’s.

A good bagel is boiled. That’s what gives it the crunchy crust.

Unless the bagel baker is from NYC, he might not know that. Without the boiling, bagels are insipid.

Wegman’s makes decent bagels. I think they bake them right there in the store. I’m not sure if they boil them. Just about every morning I have one toasted with light cream cheese. Yum!

As others have said, stay away from the packaged ones, such as Lender’s. You have to get them fresh baked.

I am going to need more than your IMHO. Please PM me and I will provide my address where you can send me a dozen Montreal bagels so I can corroborate this statement. :smiley:

Actually, there is probably something to the whole US Northeast Coast bagel thing, and that would include eastern Canada. Probably something in the air, water, or combo of the two. Same can be said for sourdough in San Francisco.


New York water is said to be the magical factor in both bagels and pizza from there. The bagels here in Korea are not great, but they’re the only game in town.

Toast the separated halves. Slather in butter, sprinkle with garlic powder, add a little cheese and return to the toaster oven until the cheese is melted and browned. I used to sprinkle with salt at this point but sadly, that’s off the menu now.
That’s how I like 'em.

Bagels are overrated, and lox is just plain vile.


I live in Brooklyn, and even here you run into shit bagels. When out-of-towers come to visit and want a real bagel, I tell them to walk down the block to Seventh Avenue and go one block north for an excellent bagel (Bagel Delight, a chain that provides excellent bagels) or walk fifteen blocks south for THE BEST BAGEL IN NEW YORK CITY (The Bagel Hole, a total dive that makes THE BEST BAGEL IN NEW YORK CITY).

For total ecstasy, buy some of the bagel shop’s scallion cream cheese or vegetable cream cheese to spread on your delicious, delicious bagel. You can overpay for smoked salmon there, too, or just buy a 4 or 8 oz package from Acme Smokehouse (local) at any Brooklyn grocery store.

PS: Bialys are great, too, and you can have the same lovely breakfast with fewer carbs. (They are smaller than bagels. And oniony.)

Quality cream cheese, lox, capers, red onion, and a slice of tomato on an everything or salt bagel - perfection! Yes, NYC bagels are simply better than all the rest, but I’ve had excellent bagels anywhere there is a sizable Jewish population.

It’s also a cultural thing, the ceremony and social aspect of laying out the spread for guests.