If I had a nickle for every time someone getting ready to visit or move to New York asked me where to get the best bagel, I'd have...at least a dollar. I spent most of my life confused by the idea of the "best" bagel because I grew up in Brooklyn, where (as far as I knew) all bagels were pretty much the same. And by "pretty much the same", I mean "the best thing in the world". In fact, I didn't even know bad bagels existed until I was in my 20s and working in midtown Manhattan. So instead of tips for finding the best bagel, here are a few ways to avoid shitty bagels:
- Don't buy them from street trucks.
- Don't buy them from (inter)national chains. This includes Starbucks, Tim Horton's and Dunkin Donuts. They may taste fine, but they're still not the same as a "real" New York bagel.
- Actually, to simplify, don't buy them any place that doesn't have the word "bagel" in the name. Or at least in big letters on a sign in the window. Or, failing that, carry at least eight different kinds and clearly does the bulk of its business in bagels.
- Don't buy them if you're really far from NYC. Make your own, instead. It's not nearly as difficult as you'd think.
Milk 'N Honey carries three types of tofu cream cheese: plain, scallion and vegetable. They also have water challahs (which are eggless) on Fridays, an assortment of knishes, veggie sushi, a salad bar, and if you call ahead and order a whole pie, I think they'll make you a cheeseless pizza. This is one of the few places I've been to in midtown that remembers your preference once you've been there a few times, so you don't have to keep saying "No bag, thanks" every time you pay.
My standard order is a sesame bagel with plain tofu cream cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Yes, pickles. I know. It sounds barfy. When a friend suggested it to me in high school, I thought he was crazy, but no matter how much I hate to admit it, the dude was right. Pickles just straight up make everything better. I could eat this every morning, but I don't because my body wouldn't be happy about it. I limit myself to one every (other) week or so.
This is Peanut. It's hard to tell in this photo, but she looks like a peanut!
I have no idea what caused that shadow that looks like an alien's hand, and frankly, it's freaking me out. I guess it comes in peace, though.
She's been living with my friends for years. She has some sort of brain damage from her previous life, that causes her to bop her head once in a while. Especially when she's excited. She's a totally metal guinea pig. She will also steal your carrots if you let her, so beware!