New Yorkers are the most tolerant people in the world until you get into a food fight, sports fight or a beer fight. Every New Yorker has their favorite hamburger/bagel/pizza/hotdog or brunch spot and they’ll defend their choice to the death. And ditto their choice of sports teams, craft beer…hairdresser/barber……, the list is long. New Yorkers know what’s the best in NYC in relation to whatever is a chosen part of their lifestyle.
The food fight on bagels hinges not just on who sells the best ones but also how they should be eaten. The issue specifically is how to eat a fresh bagel. If a bagel has been properly rolled, proofed, boiled and baked, see video 2, it will finish up crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. And that’s how eat them, in their freshy baked condition which allows you to appreciate the depth of the bagel makers art. One thing you do not do is toast them when they’re fresh because if you do you are not paying sufficient honor to the crispness of the bagel on the outside and the softness of the bagel on the inside. It’s an insult ot the art of the bagel maker. Toasting is only for stale bagels.
But there are New Yorkers who for some unknown reason just like their bagels toasted whether they are fresh or not and until recently at least 2 excellent bagel shops, who both bake wonderfully fresh bagels in NYC held out against this rush to make the customer right even if it defied bagel logic. They were H & H Bagels and Murray’s Bagels. Then one of the H & H shops closed and Murray Bagels have now folded on their no toasting rule. Life as they know it has ended for some New York bagel lovers but at least they still have to choice to diss those crazy toasted bagel addicts and keep eating their bagels freshly baked and untoasted.
Of course this dispute is made all the more sharp because there is nowhere else in the world where you can get a fresh bagel with cream cheese and lox as good as the one you will get in a great New York bagel joint. Murray’s Bagels is a case in point. They offer 20 different varieties of cream cheese and over 10 different kinds of smoked salmon and a wonderful mix of chopped onions/capers, tomatoes and what ever else you want to add to the mix. The Aussie surfer dude, Hayden Quinn, who also just happens to be a huge foodie does a great job of telling us all why a fresh bagel with all the trimmings is one of THE great meals in the world
So is the argument over toasting fresh bagels over? of course not. First up it’s a great argument to have so why resolve it? And in any case it feeds into childhood memories of eating bagels with family and friends in all sort of fabulous circumstances. New Yorkers choice of how to eat their bagels really does run very, very deep.