Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hello Bagel

I keep missing my bed time, tucking in when I can count the hours until my alarm shouts on half a hand. If you let it New York will keep you up late.

It was especially tough lifting out of bed Wednesday morning. It was dank and chilly for May (yes, Floridian blog readers, we're still wearing our heavy coats over here). But I had to face the rain because, well, it was Wednesday.

To motivate my early start I promised myself a bagel. As the kind of gal who takes immense pleasure in planning meals, this was just enough incentive to shower me, dress me and put me on a subway to midtown.

All this for an Ess-A-Bagel...and worth every carb-loaded bite. This bagel shop, dangerously close to my office on 50th and 3rd Avenue, has been in business for about 40 years. It's the kinda bagel shop I presume you can only find in New York: a full Kosher deli with career bagel shmearers behind the counter. The hand-rolled bagels are always warm out of the oven with a hint doughnies where you want it. They're good enough naked but the spreads there are what keep me coming back.

My coworker, a native New Yorker, introduced me to Essa-A. She insisted on ordering for me the first time we walked over.

"Whole-wheat, toasted, scooped-out, scallion-tofu cream cheese, lettuce and tomato," she ordered then turned to me, "Just trust me."

I had serious doubts.

Scooped-out means please rip out all the excess dough until there's just a thin sad bagel shell left.

It's downright un-American, but I've been known to let it happen. I wont dab the grease off a slice of pizza or push the bun off my burger, but I scoop.

Scooping, OK. Scallion tofu, not OK.

I'm Argentinian. I'm not a vegetarian. Still, I'm up for anything and with food I have a strict try everything once policy.

As the begining of this post hinted, I was very pleasently surprised by my scooped-out tofu order. The tofu spread tastes just like the regular stuff, if not creamier, and the bagel minus all the dense middle is crispier on the edges (just how I like it).

I ordered the same on Wednesday, and although it sent the rest of my rainy morning into an unproductive food coma, it was worth every carb.


  1. This...looks...INCREDIBLE right now. Yummmm. I was kind of skeptical too, mostly when you said scooped out (I love the doughy inside) but man, that bagel sounds good.

  2. sooooo jealous - and tired of living in a lame-bagel zone!