bagels, baby

NY bagels? Yes!  Seattle bagels? No. Montreal bagels? What?  I’m very particular about bagels.  Maybe extremely finicky or even snobbish are better adjectives for me when it comes to the round bread with a hole in the middle. I don’t eat them very often because one, I’m not a huge bread person and two, because I can’t find any I really like. On the rare occasion I do have a craving for one, it must be really, really toasted.  Honestly, considering they’re rarely eaten and considering all the calories, I’d rather have the other thing with a hole in the middle – a plain donut.
But all that’s changed.  Last week I had lunch with one of my favorite Canadians, Tracey. She was raving about this new place in Capitol Hill that made Montreal-style bagels: Eltana. Now Tracey is also particular about her bagels.  I can remember her talking about Canadian bagels a few years ago when we worked together.  She loved these bagels from Eltana. I laughed when she told me this bagel place’s owner went to Montreal for his bagel apprenticeship.  {Come on – that has to make you giggle!}  But if she loved them, I knew I had to at least give them a shot.  I went.  I ate.  I got to-go.  I ate more.  I love!
Let me tell you about these little gems.  They are hand-crafted then boiled in honey water {giving them just a slight hint of sweetness – very slight} and then wood-fired. Now most people might get excited about the wood-fired oven, the huge pile of cut wood.  Okay, but I didn’t linger to look; I went straight for the food.  After tasting the bagels, I more fully appreciate those two things.  The wood-firing gives them a nice outer crunch and just a little smokiness.  Two more things you need to know.  These bagels are smaller and thinner than what you’ll find elsewhere, making them perfect to me.  They aren’t a chewy chunk of breadiness. The other thing, they are seeded on both sides!!  If you don’t believe me, look closely at the pictures.  Both halves are a top!!
So my favorites are the everything and sesame wheat bagels.  Smears? Spicy garlic cream {spicy? you bet – nice kick}, red pepper and walnut, and caramelized onion hummus.  Farb liked the fava bean and mint.  I was too chicken to try.  But I smelled it. Does that count? It was very minty.  Tried the Egyptian bean soup.  It was good but the in-dining bowl is so shallow it lost its heat too fast.  They also have sweet toppings.  I’m savory so skipped those.  But if you try them and discover a fav, let me know.  One last thing. These bagels are best eaten right away but if you bring them home to eat the next morning, leave them in their paper bag and stick everything in a ziploc bag to keep them ‘fresh.’
So conclusion…Montreal bagels? Yes, please!
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2 Responses to bagels, baby

  1. Tracey says:

    Love that you’re loving the Montreal bagels. 🙂 Here’s another tip. I buy them by the baker’s dozen to-go. Ask for a freezer bag when you’re paying – they will give you a couple. Freeze them tight as soon as you get home. With a little defrost action and a pop into the toaster they stay scrumptious.

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