Usually when I’m craving bagels near my house, it’s always a dilemma. Ess-A-Bagel or David’s Bagels? Well yesterday, the decision was made for me since David’s was closed. (Not permanently, they’re moving to a new location between 15th and 16th Street. As of yesterday, construction was still in the works.) At Ess-a-Bagel, I got my usual pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese and lox ($10.75). The huge bagels at Ess-a-Bagel are sometimes a tad bready, but yesterday my pumpernickel was perfect: crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. The BF’s everything bagel ($1), on the other hand, was shaped like a ball. Still, when a bagel is still warm, it’s hard to complain. I gobbled up my bagel with some tomatoes, onions, and capers on the side. David did likewise. It was a good morning. MORE »
Every once in while, I’ll go for long stretches where all I want to eat are bagels. It’s simple, straightforward, and comforting. Growing up, as I mentioned before, I got my bagels at a bagel shop in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center in Bayside. The bagels there were a little bready, but their egg salad was killer on a onion bagel. Later on in college, Columbia Bagels became my go-to bagel spot. Chewy on the outside and soft in the inside, the bagels were perfect. I used to grab an everything bagel with tuna salad right before running to the library to study/sleep. In grad school, I ate pumpernickel bagels with olive cream cheese from Murray’s. Their bagels were chewy, but often times too tough, but I managed. Now, on the weekends, I go to Russ & Daughters for an everything bagel with cream cheese and fatty belly lox. Their bagels, a tad bready, aren’t great alone, but filled with lox and cream cheese, one bite and I’m in heaven.
However, during the work week in Times Square, for a long time I was bagel-less. Times Square isn’t really known for bagels. Ess-A-Bagel is somewhat walkable when the weather is good, but I never found their bready bagels as good as people say. When I got desperate, especially when sick, I would go around the corner to the deli by the Carter Hotel, notorious for being the dirtiest hotel in the United States and infamous because of the dead body found underneath the bed after a guest checked out (read more about it here). Creepy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Their generic bagels were only good toasted and eaten immediately right after, not a sign of a good bagel. MORE »
A longer post is currently in the works, but for now, here is something short and sweet about one of my favorite places in the Lower East Side. I wrote about the gravlax at Russ & Daughters a few months ago, which is still my favorite, but another lox worth mentioning is the classic, salt-cured belly lox. It’s extremely salty, so for those on a low-sodium diet, it’s probably not a good idea to make it a regular part of one’s diet, but for us lucky bastards who aren’t, I say eat it while you can. The saltiness is nice, but I particularly like the lovely oiliness of the belly lox. The fattiness makes the lox almost creamy tasting. And served on an everything bagel with cream cheese, capers, onions, and tomatoes ($9.95), it’s the perfect breakfast, especially when it’s part of an impromptu Sunday picnic at the park.
Russ & Daughters
179 East Houston Street (betw Allen and Orchard St.)
New York, NY 10002
There are a few perfect foods in the world. Foods that are compact, quick, delicious, and include everything in the food pyramid. Along with pizza and dumplings, I think lox and cream cheese bagels are one of those perfect foods. Growing up in Bayside, Queens when it was still largely a Jewish neighborhood, my brother and I would go to the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on the weekends for bagels. Now Bay Terrace is overrun with chain restaurants like Outback and Applebee’s. Luckily, I moved soon after this happened and now live happily a few blocks from Russ & Daughters, where delicious lox and cream cheese sandwiches can be found every morning since nearly a century. MORE »