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Oct 8, 2001 08:32 PM

bialys-food of the gods

  • j

Several months ago when I was out of town I was told of an article in the Weekend section of the WP featuring a piece on the opening of a place in DC that specializes in bialys "just like those made in Kossars".
Is there anyone out there who can confirm this,
or better yet, tell me where this idyll is located?

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  1. I think I remember reading that a bagel place that will also do bialys is opening on Mass Ave in Spring Valley in the old Sutton Place Gourmet building. I saw their sign in the window, but I haven't been down there lately and don't know how close they are to opening. I hope it's soon; I long for bialys!

    11 Replies
    1. re: Claudia

      That article recommended some bialys supposedly shipped from H&H Bagels in New York and available at Arrowine on Lee Highway in Arlington. And I agree Arrowine has excellent bagels. But I bought three bialys, ate one, and threw two out. They were a big disappointment. But maybe I'm just used to the ones I got growing up in Los Angeles from I & Joy Bagels on Westwood Blvd.

      1. re: Bob

        I & Joy in West L.A. rocks! Where did you go to high school and when did you graduate? Me: Fairfax High Class of '65.

        1. re: zora

          University High School, Class of 1980. They were great bagels overall, and great bialys in particular. But they were the only bialys I ever had until trying an H&H bagel in 2001 in Virginia. Were the I & Joy bagels something special? Or are the H&H bagels just bad? My dad warned me when I told him I was moving to this area that I would never be able to get a great bialy in Virginia.

          1. re: Bob B.

            Bialys, bagel and onion pletzl reached the heights of perfection in the Jewish neighborhoods of Manhattan and Brooklyn at the beginning of the twentieth century. The closer to contact with New York traditions, the better the product. My guess is that I&Joy learned their craft in New York and H&H got a recipe from a cookbook. It takes the right kind of oven, flour, yeast, preparation of onions as well. Think about it--why is artisanal sourdough better than Wonder Bread--they're both bread.

            1. re: zora

              What's "onion pletzel"?

              1. re: Bob B.

                An onion pletzel is a large round flatbread (covered with onions) with bialy-like consistency: it's the Jewish answer to foccacia (and I've never seen a good one in the DC area, BTW)

                1. re: Bob B.

                  An onion pletzel is a large round flatbread (covered with onions) with bialy-like consistency: it's the Jewish answer to foccacia (and I've never seen a good one in the DC area, BTW)

                  1. re: Debbie

                    LOL I've been trying to think what those are called. We used to get great ones in Providence. Slathered with butter they are tough to beat

                    I've never even seen a bad one in the DC area.

                    1. re: Bob W.

                      Where can you get a good pletzel in Providence? (I get there 2-3 times a year; in-laws live in Warwick)

                      1. re: Debbie

                        Debbie: I would love to help you, but our source was the Hope St. Bakery, which has not existed for many years, and I haven't live in RI for many years anyway.

                        Now I guess I would try Kaplan's on Hope St., assuming it's still there.

                        Even if it isn't, Hope St. is still a thriving commercial strip in what is still a heavily Jewish neighborhood, so there should be at least one good bakery over there.

                    2. re: Debbie

                      My mother also referred to them as "onion rolls". She used to get them at Diamond Bakery on Fairfax Avenue. I'm not sure if they were made there or in a bagel factory elsewhere in LA. We used to split them and use them to make sandwiches. They are shiny on top (? eggwash) vs. floury, like bialy. But they have that little juicy nest of onions and poppy seeds on top, in the middle.

        2. Fresh bialies are (occasionally?) available at Bagel City in Rockville on the weekends; you may want to call ahead. No comparison to Kossar's though ;-(.

          While these might not be good enough for the bialy purist, KosherMart on Rollins Ave. in Rockville has surprisingly good bialies in their frozen section. The Brooklyn-based brand they carry is called something like Bell's (?).

          1. Had a decent Bialy at Georgetown Bakery in Bethesda (River Rd.) This was yesterday.

            Also, Bethesda Bagels have decent bialys, but don't make them consistently. If you don't get them at the right time (we usually try Saturdays), it's really hit or miss.

            But none of these compare to NY bialys, IMHO!