Living in Brooklyn, the land of the best bread, water, and pastries in the States has many advantages. But the downside is that it is that much harder to impress me in these food categories. Especially the bread. When I visit relatives in nearby Long Island we HAVE to bring rolls or they won’t let us in. Okay that was a joke but a good joke has some truth in it, no?
I don’t get the big deal but I guess if I didn’t have immediate access to these goods I would have some demands of my own. As of now my only demands are that I go to France at least once a year to binge eat. Once I achieve that I can expand to my other favorite foods that exist all over the world.
But since we are talking about my hometown we should return to the point being that today I had a transformative bagel experience. Naturally it took place at The Bagel Store. A nice, simple title, right? Oh how clueless I was when I walked in.
Picture it: a few months ago while driving around pursuing other blog list (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/04/for-year-6-20162017-to-do-list_19.html) ventures when I stopped on a street where there were people lined up like they are waiting for the President to come outside. The line was nearly wrapped around an entire block. When I looked up to see where they were headed I saw three simple words: The Bagel Store. This meant nothing to me. I Googled it and a rainbow colored bagel appeared. It didn’t look appetizing to me and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why so many people would wait to get into a bagel store. Aside from the rainbow bagel they appeared to have everything a normal bagel store would have. Seeing that there is a bagel store on every other corner I thought they were mad and that the rainbow bagel was probably just another irrational craze like the cronut. I never had one of those either. If it is trendy and requires hours on line then it is not a food for me.
Fast forward to today.
While out of the house for the first time this week I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. It seemed too hot for outdoor activities but too nice of a day to waste inside. Plus I knew I wanted to cross something off my to do list. I was starving so I knew it would be food related. That’s when I thought of lunch at Walter Food’s, a brand new list item for me. Their menu seemed appealing and their location was in close proximity to me, excellent.
Out of the corner of my eye, really my Google map, I recognized another much anticipated stop-The Bagel Store. Great I could run in if there was no line, get some bagels to try at home, and then move onto Walt’s. My plan worked a little too well. Twenty-five dollars and fifteen minutes later I walked out with my first purchases.
My experiences at Walter Food’s will be coming up shortly but I just had to get these thoughts down first.
For starters when I was inside I was surprised by the relatively small space that had some bar style seating as well as a few tables and chairs. There were a decent amount people but they weren’t in a line. They were sort of checking their phones and sort of looking up at the enormous menus. I was immediately disoriented. A man came up to see if I was ready to order but I couldn’t have been farther away from that goal. I was lost in a sea of bagel and cragel (croissant/bagel combination) flavors. There were at least as many or more homemade cream cheese flavors and don’t get me started on the selection of sandwich modifications.
While trying to figure out what to get I was overhearing other orders and that just made me more confused. For instance, someone got an egg, bacon, cheese, on an egg bacon cheese bagel. There was an order for a rainbow bagel with funfetti cream cheese. For those who are unfamiliar, funfetti is a frosting by Betty Crocker (a.k.a. the baker in my house) that comes with sprinkles of all colors. It was the signature of a homemade birthday cake in my family although I never liked it and am still not a big fan of frosting or really sweet treats.
My point is merely that no matter your craving or mealtime it is you are going to find at least one but probably like ten things that are a perfect fit.
So now the all-important question, how did they taste?
I picked a spinach artichoke cragel, macaroni and cheese bagel, and a French toast cragel. I bought the spinach artichoke cream cheese as well. It doesn’t sound like a lot but boy was that bag heavy. I thought I had gotten one rainbow bagel just for kicks but it wasn’t in my bag. No biggie, of the regrets I have that isn’t one of them.
The cragels are my new favorite form of bagels. In fact recently I have been a fan of flagels too, they are just flatter bagels. Both the cragels and the flagels have less dough than the traditional bagel and are a bit crunchier. I like that consistency much more.
As for the flavors I am blown away. The sweetness of the French toast was simple yet delightful. It was dusted with powered sugar and tasted like there was a hint of cinnamon and maple syrup. They were so soft I could peel it apart with my hands but still taste the crisp of the bagel. I ate it many hours after I came home, refrigerated, and reheated it. It was like it was just out of the oven. I would like one for dessert every night. It satisfies so many cravings at one time.
The macaroni and cheese was surprising to me. In a bagel form it was more like a lump of cheddar was placed on top of a very dense, dry bagel. It didn’t do anything for me. I returned to it a few minutes later and was beginning to have a taste for it. I think the other half would taste better for breakfast with a side of bacon. I just think mac and cheese is always better with bacon, just like a slice of pizza I once had a Vinny’s (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/02/for-variety-that-is-vinnies-pizza.html).
Last but certainly not least we arrive at the spinach artichoke cragel. Once again I am adoring a cragel! This one was topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, which didn’t melt into the cragel but rather stayed on top even after reheating. When I took a schmear of the spinach artichoke cream cheese and put it on this cragel the world came alive with the sound of music! The blending of the flavors and the mixed consistencies were music to my mouth. Now that I know this I would cut it open and apply the cream cheese normally. The cream cheese was light and contained chunks of spinach and artichokes and was better than any dip version you have tasted.
The owner and creator of The Bagel Store is a Brooklyn native, Scot Rossillo. He mixes old world bagel making practices with artistry. His rainbow bagel was his first main stream design. But his competition is seeking to dethrone him. Union Fare in Manhattan has created a birthday cake croissant that is apparently all the rage.
However I am not interested. I only have eyes for the nacho cheese cream cheese next time and deciding what bagel flavor will go along with it. That pepperoni cream cheese didn’t seem too bad either. I will be torturing myself like this for days to come.
As Doug Heffernan on The King of Queens said: “wait until you taste yourself on a squagel with a schmear”. I bet that will be the next bagel trend and I am looking forward to it.
In case you are thinking you will place an order online for delivery to avoid the lines, no such luck. This is the message on their website:
Do you believe this?!!! THERE IS A WAITING LIST FOR ORDERS WISHING TO BE SHIPPED!! I have never seen anything like this in my life and I have seen some crazy shit.
My favorite example is Ample Creamery (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/07/for-cream-of-crop-ample-hills-creamery.html). In the beginning of their run they had to close down for four days because they ran out of ice cream!! That meant they had served up one hundred and thirty gallons of ice cream that week!! Unbelievable.
The Bagel Store had a similar experience in February of this year. The doors were closed for several days so that the team could regroup. They had been selling about eight hundred rainbow bagels a week since Christmas. The store and employees were both rundown. Gladly this didn’t too last long.
A final happy moment today was when I looked up and saw Kourtney Kardashian among the wall of photos. There was even the cotton candy their family friend Jonathan Cheban is selling.
For future reference any place that is a friend to the Kardashians and their friends, will now be a friend of mine.
Nicely done, Bagel Store.
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