Thursday, October 23, 2014

New York vs. Montreal

When I had the idea to find the best bagels in Philadelphia I figured that I would be looking for the best New York style bagels.  I really didn't think there were other styles of bagels other than the N.Y. kind; except when I was researching bagel bakeries in Philadelphia and I found Spread Bagelry.
Intrigued, I wanted to take some time to distinguish the differences between probably the only two style of bagels out there.  I found this short article, at that will explain it in a little more detail.  But, basically New York Style bagels are boiled prior to baking and have a shiny crisp exterior with a chewy interior.  Montreal Style bagels are also boiled; however, in water sweetened with honey, then baked in a brick oven to make them extra crispy.  After visiting Spread, who offer the Montreal Style, I was able to first-hand compare them to the N.Y. style I am more familiar with.

Today, despite it being a chilly, rainy and down right miserable day, I decided I would drive my son and myself to try-out these new kind of freshly baked bagels.  Before I even left for my outing I said to myself, "I'm going to actually get a sandwich made there this time."
After finally finding a parking spot, I walk through the rain with umbrella in one hand and toddler in the other and make my way into Spread.  It felt so nice to walk into the warm and cozy bakery.  I was first impressed with the beautiful marble counter top, and as I scan the place I notice the fire burning in the brick oven.  Just below the oven are a pair of baskets full of bagels.
I try to pick out a sandwich from the handwritten chalk menu above; however, after seeing the prices, I decide to just stick with some un-garnished bagels.  Just to give you an idea, the bagels are $2.00 each and the sandwiches start at $6.50 up to $13.00 each.  

Here are some pictures of the bagels I took home:

Wheat Bagel
Poppy Seed
I was a little surprised with the amount of extra flour that was on the bottom of the bagel.  Also, they didn't seem to have a nice sheen that I'm used to with the N.Y. style.
Underside of wheat bagel.
I seem to not be able to pass up a whole-wheat everything bagel.  So, that was my choice for my sandwich today.

I decided to make myself a sandwich with some ingredients I had at home.  I had made some fresh hummus the other day; I love bagels with hummus.  A couple of our tomato plants are still producing, so I had an heirloom tomato on hand.  I also added cucumber and parsley.
A little salt and pepper on any sandwich can make all the difference.

Homemade hummus, heirloom tomato, cucumber, and parsley sandwich on whole-wheat everything bagel.
 Here is how I would rate these bagels:

The Look - {3.5} I didn't rate the look any higher than a three because they didn't have the sheen that I normally look for in a good bagel.  I think the extra flour around the bagel may have affected the shine.

The Crust - {3} I was pretty surprised that the crust didn't have a real crisp to it, especially coming out of a brick oven.  It appeared like it would crack when you broke into it; however, that was not the case with the plain whole-wheat.  The poppy seed did have more of a crunch to the outer layer though.

Inside Texture and Taste - {4} The texture of the center was soft and doughy.  A little more bread-like than a typical N.Y. bagel.  The best part of these bagels was the taste; they were flavorful and sweet.  Definitely much more sweet than other bagels I've had.

Overall, I would rate these bagels a {3.5} out of 5 poppy seeds.  I did enjoy my sandwich.  If only the crust was crispier.  The drive, hassle of parking in center city, and the cost of the bagels kind of put a damper on the already damp day. 

Until next time,


Sunday, October 19, 2014

My hiatus is ending...

Why has it been a couple of weeks since my last post?  Well, I unintentionally had somewhat abandoned my bagel mission because I was trying to eat clean over the last couple of weeks; including cutting out bread.  How did I do...?  Well, let's just say there were good days and bad.  I can say with certainty that my discipline is not what it was when I was in my twenties.  Of course, my priorities were not the same as they are now.  And even though I'm now "a stay at home mom" I had a good routine to my life, it seems like, more than I do now.  What am I getting at?  Well, when I first started this blog it was to focus on bagels and where to get a good one and maybe write about some of my highlights, challenges, and fun in baking and cooking.  I had received some [unsolicited] advise from some friends and family to write a blog about being a new mom and talking about some of my everyday life challenges as well as my crafting and cooking.  However, I decided to stream line the focus of this blog and stick to one main topic.  I might add a couple of pages on some other topics down the road, but for now I need to finish my mission.
As a reminder, my mission is to seek out all the bagels Philadelphia (and perhaps a few surrounding towns) has to offer and write reviews on them.  I still have a bunch more places to make it to and a few more places yet to find.  
I'll also put it out there, that I intend on going on a "bagel crawl" with a trip to New York City, hopefully before the year ends.  I'll be putting together a list of can't miss go-to places.  If anyone has any bagel shops in mind that I should try please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.
Also, I was thinking it might be fun to get a group to come with me.  So, if anyone is interested in spending a day in NYC to do some bagel eating, let me know!  We could all meet in Chinatown and take the super cheap bus into the City.

To quote the late-great Eric the Actor, "Bye for now".