- Bob Libkind
Okay, who's got the best bagels in town -- I mean real, boiled water bagels. And no ungapatchka flavors, like cinnamon raisin, blueberry or who knows what. Getting beyond salt, poppy and maybe onion is too non-traditional for me -- even sesame pushes the limits.
Let's do it by geography:
Since I only know from Center City, I'll cast the first vote: Philadelphia Bagel at the Riverside Shopping plaza at Delware (Columbus) & Washington. Closest I've had to the bagel of my youth (Watson, Newark NJ). They've got excellent bialys, too.
My husband, the bagel maven, drives out (from center city) to Haverford Ave and City Line for his bagels.
I can't remember the name of the place. They are not open Friday afternoons or Saturdays.
As a fill in, he thinks Manhattan are not bad, also.
I like Delancey St., which are too sweet for him. I am seduced by all the seeds, which I love.
We also clip the $5.00 off coupon in every Wednesday's NY Times for H & H Bagels (the factory) in New York. If we go in for a show or opera, we stop and get a couple of dozen.
It will be interesting to hear about everyone's favorite sources!
Philadelphia Bagel aren't bad. Too soft and chewy, and a tad sweet for my palate. Manhattan... sorry, Sylvia, but... no; really not.
The only bagels I've really liked in this forsaken burg were the Rollings bagels the market at 18th and Spruce used to get in. Very crusty, no sweetness to speak of, just right, down to the frequent misshapen oddities you'd fish out of the bin. Reminded me of the Brooklin boyhood I used to fantasize about growing up in Lisbon, Portugal. Then one Spring they stopped getting them - "But soon!" - then they stopped pretending, but I never could find out why they disappeared, or where to find a supplier.
Our favorite, hands down -- Rollins.
Bagels can be had by going directly to the source (Elkins Park, north of Phila, on 611, right outside the Elkins Park rail stop, not open on Saturdays) or to the Weaver's Way co-op in West Mt Airy (corner of Carpenter and Sedwick, restricted to members, but maybe you can ask about exceptions, I don't know).
We've tried a variety of others, and just can't find any that compare...not Manhattan, not Metropolitan, not Le Bus (though their walnut maple scones are a nice consolation).
Actually, we haven't had Manhattan bagels for a long time.
My husband thinks the name of his bagel place (at Haverford Ave and City Ave) is New York Bagels.
They are religious there, and close for the sabbath.
He goes out there every few weeks, and we freeze them.
But we're always open to trying other bagels. Next stop: Elkins Park!
re: Bob Libkind
Being a Bella Vister confined to walking/bicycle, I don't have a great selection of neighborhood bagelries. Nonetheless, I think Hot Bagels does a really good job. I recently complained on the NYC board about the declining quality of Ess-A-Bagel, which I used to love. Hot Bagels reminds me of the EABs. A good bagel, and the spreads are tasty, too. Also bialys. Worth a visit by all means.