A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 12: The First New York Nosh

July 8th · 2 Comments

Seeing as I don’t yet have any Jewish friends in New York, I airlifted my Jewish friends Ariel and Seth from Portland, Oregon, to give me some quick tips. Lounging on the couch they taught me some Yiddish, like “schvitz” (which means “sweat”) and “schmate” (which means rag ), and then this morning they introduced me to the New York bagel.

Seth and Ariel wandered out about 9 a.m. and returned from Pick-A-Bagel on 2nd Avenue with a brown paper bag filled with plain, sesame, garlic, cinnamon-raisin and “everything” varieties. I expected nothing special. I’ve eaten bagels since I was a kid, first the frozen Lender’s that mom brought home from Lucky’s and then, when Noah’s Bagels spread across California like a lox schmear, I upgraded to those. The bagel I know is just a bit chewy and so sweet that I’ll finish it before I even notice I’ve started.

Pick-A-Bagel bagels look like their Noah’s cousins, but bigger, like they were inflated with just one additional stroke from a bike pump. You bite into it – hmmm, a little saltier – and there is more substance there to chew. In the time that it would take to chomp through a Noah’s bagel I am still worrying (or rather noshing) through the first half.

I asked Seth, who grew up in Connecticut and knows from bagels, what made a New York bagel a New York bagel. Is it how it’s boiled, or baked, or what? “A New York bagel,” he declared, “tastes the way a bagel is supposed to taste.” No arguing with that.

Tags: Dining · East Coast v. West Coast · Why I Love This Town

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anne // Jul 10, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Take the M79 crosstown to
    H & H bagels at bway and 80th.
    Best bagels in the city.

  • 2 Kimberly Winston // Jul 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Ditto. H&H is the only really good bagel. A real bagel is boiled. Noah’s only bakes. I could kill you – living within walking distance of H&H and not eating one every day. You shmuck (that means dingdong).

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