Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pick A Bagel

      What New Yorker does not love bagels? I know I certainly do. But as a New Yorker, I have my standards. When I lived in Atlanta for four years during college, I barely touched a bagel once I realized how spoiled I had been growing up in New York (aka I bought a bagel from the only act in town, Einstein Brothers, and nearly spit it out). Not to make fun of anyone in particular (Matt), but  I find it very funny when people from outside of New York insist that they have bagels in their area that are AS good as the ones here.
      I am not sure exactly WHY the bagels in New York are so much better- the urban legend is that it is because of our superior water. Personally, I think that New Yorkers have skills that bagel makers in other areas might be lacking. HOWEVER, in a place with an unlimited amount of amazing bagels, how does one find the best of the best? When I first moved to NYC, I embarked on a summer long search for the BEST NYC bagel. The search culminated with my discovery of Pick A Bagel.
      To tell you the truth, I had first heard of Pick A Bagel in a book by author Jane Green called "Babyville." The character in the book frequented the shop every morning. So, when I walked by a Pick A Bagel one summer afternoon, I felt compelled to go in. It was fate. I knew after the very first bite, that I had found my FAVORITE bagel place in the city. When you know, you know. There are many locations dispersed throughout the city, both uptown, downtown, east and west. My favorite type of bagel is a whole wheat everything, and they make it perfectly. It is crispy, yet soft on the inside. They have EVERY type of bagel you can image, including flagels (flat bagels for those who don't know), and a vast array of cream cheese. I'm talking everything from your standard vegetable (and LOWFAT and FATFREE vegetable), to walnut raisin, and sundried tomato cream cheese. As one of my friends once said (in an inebriated state), "If variety is the spice of life, this place is living the vida loca."
      Everyone I have taken to Pick A Bagel (a trip or delivery order is a MUST when my friends spend the night at my apartment-and yes, they deliver) loves it. Matt and I tried to carefully analyze WHY their whole wheat everything bagels are so much better than others we have tried in the city, and we came to the conclusion that besides the inherent deliciousness of the bagel (aka how it is baked) it is rare to find a whole wheat everything bagel that includes salt in the "everything." I have a feeling that once the world became so concerned with blood pressure (and with good reason), bagel shops STOPPED putting salt on their everything bagels. While I understand their concern with health (after all, I am about to become part of the medical community), I disagree with their use of the word "everything." They should stress that on their menu, aka "our everything bagel includes everything BUT salt." Salt makes an everything bagel so much better. I am not saying to put yourself at risk if your doctor has advised you to undertake a low sodium diet for blood pressure purposes, but as someone whose blood pressure is naturally 90/60, I am simply commenting on my preferences.
      It is a well-known fact that every New Yorker has their own FAVORITE bagel place. I am not typically a "mine is better than yours girl," HOWEVER, I do want to point out that a few years ago, Matt and I did a blind taste test with a couple that INSISTED their place was better than Pick A Bagel. While I am not knocking their pick, the famous H and H Bagels (they did make a great bagel), which has since closed due to rising rent, the taste test favored Pick A Bagel unanimously. The way the test worked, was that each couple purchased a whole wheat everything bagel with plain cream cheese from their respective bagel store (the type of bagel and spread had to be the same for adequate judgement). The taste tester would then close their eyes as they were randomly fed one of the bagels. They had a minute to make their decision before opening their eyes. In this random taste test- 4/4 people preferred Pick A Bagel. Now, I am sure your own bagel place is great, but if you do get the opportunity to try Pick A Bagel, I would go for it.

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