I can safely say that I've tried bagels from every single shop that bakes their own bagels on premises in San Francisco and East Bay. I didn't begin this quest hoping to find greatness, but a few bagels stood out from the pack. Bagels that are more than just bits of round bread. Bagels with properly crackly-crisp crusts with dense centers. Bagels that have soul.
'Bagel' on Serious Eats
For the past couple months I've been on a quest to find the best bagel in San Francisco. This led me to a shocking realization: there are really, really bad bagels everywhere, and I'm not just talking in the convenience stores or supermarkets—places you'd expect bad bagels. I'm talking at honest to goodness bagel specialty shops. I wanted to share with you guys my thoughts on what makes a great bagel great. Word of warning: I'm about to get as opinionated as I ever get. You will most likely be offended by at least one or two things I say. Your concept of what is good and bad in the world of bagels will be challenged. You may even feel like I'm personally attacking you for your preferences. That's because I am. This is far too important an issue for live and let live to apply. We're talking significance of a which-side-of-the-bread-do-you-butter level here, so I I'm not holding back any punches. Feel free to come right back at me. I will defend myself to the bitter, un-toasted end.
We've been closely—nay, obsessively—following the state of the bagel in New York these days, and we'll just come out and say it: Fred's cafe at Barney's makes bagels that are just as good, if not better, than any of the city's other contenders for Top Bagel. Here's how they're made.
What's the most cost-effective way to get cream cheese on your bagel? We visited six of the city's top bagel shops and crunched the numbers to find out.
Meet Bagelsaurus's glorious version of bagels and lox, which includes a crackly, chewy handmade bagel, cream cheese, piles of house-cured salmon, pickled onions, and crispy fried capers.
When we heard about the hand-rolled, freshly baked bagels coming out of Beauty's Bagel Shop, we jumped at the chance to pay a behind-the-scenes visit. So, waking before sunrise and venturing across the Bay Bridge, we slipped into the kitchen with the Oakland store's early morning bakers for a look at their step-by-step process (and some bonus lessons in bagel classification).
A fast, satisfying brunch of softly cooked scrambled eggs combined with a toasted bagel and rich smoked salmon.
Softly cooked scrambled eggs combined with toasted bagel and rich salmon are all you need for a fast, tasty brunch.
From Coconut And Lime
Frankly, the idea of making bagels from scratch just to tear up and fry sounded as ironic as making brioche specifically to make bread pudding. (Isn't that what leftovers are for?) But once I started eating the bagel's crisp, seed-covered crust and soft-yet-chewy interior, I was ready for an I-told-ya-so.
The Hook ($8.00) is comprised of house cured togarashi lox, thinly sliced cucumber, creamy avocado, artichoke cream cheese, and sharp and crunchy red onion, all piled high between your choice of freshly wood-fired bagel (I went with My Everything).
I can't get through the day unless I have a couple of slabs of good bread, toasted and smeared with cream cheese and jam, along with my morning coffee. For me, "good bread" has to be fresh, with a great aroma; I have a great appreciation of all the dense breads out there.
Abbot's Pizza is famous for its bagel crust. No, it's not a bagel pizza. It's a regular pie with a dense and chewy outer crust resembling a bagel, complete with a coat of poppy or sesame seeds. The wafer crisp undercrust, though a little bland, provides robust support for the phenomenal toppings.
I don't use the word magical lightly, but there really is something wondrous about making bagels at home. Maybe it's the shape. I think most everyone understands a loaf of bread, but the round shape with a hole ... well, it seems like a whole lot more work than simply plopping some dough in a loaf pan. But it's not. Really. Try making just one batch of these, and I'm sure you'll have the process down pat. Put on your sorcerer's robe and follow along!
All the polls! We've already told you our thoughts on the best bagel in New York. (And we're standing by it!) But these are the People's Choice Awards, after all, so we'll let you have your say. Tell us: what's...