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Jan 7, 2007 04:16 PM

Do real bagels, boiled bagels, exist in West Los Angeles?

Yesterday I picked up some superb smoked sturgeon at Surfas for this morning. This morning I went to be favorite Jewish bakery, long famous for its rye and bagels, and found, that at 8:30, they were out of sesame seed, rye and pumpernickel were by special order only, but they did have poppy and egg.

I should add that the bakery was recently sold to people who admit tney know nothing of bagels, and fired the previous baker.

I got one egg and one poppy. The egg, which in accordance with the dictates of the old New York Bagel Makers Union, CIO, was not boiled. However, it was nothing more than a dry, overbaked egg roll without a hole. The poppy was also without a hole, and had the texture, not of a true bagel, but of a roll, a flavorless roll.

How the question is who in West Los Angeles actually makes a proper, boiled bagel?

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  1. You may have to go East--to Goldstein's (although their bagels are really big and doughy) or Brooklyn Bagel Company.

    1. Ditto on the Brooklyn Bagel Company. They are on Beverly near Alvarado, about 1/4 mile east of Tommy's Hamburgers.

      Great variety, its been there forever and smells good. They are primarily a wholesale bakery and commercial supplier. In other words it's not a sit down place. That being said, you can still order a couple of bagels with individual cream cheese and coffee.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Al Bondigas

        I hate to say it but Ive never found a good bagel on the west coast. My fav in NY are Tal Bagels on 1st Ave @ 53rd St

        1. re: JSny

          Oh my gosh, I agree about Tal Bagels. Last time I was in NY and in search of a bagel, a passerby directed me to Tal, more on the upper East Side, in the 80s, I think. I got an everything bagel with chicken salad - sat there with the NY Times and a coffee - a transcendant experience, I tell you.

          I think Western Bagels are okay, a little skimpy size-wise.

          I've never found a bagel out here that is anything but round bread. Some better, some worse (Noah's - yecch). And one post mentioned a bagel without holes - bizarre.

        2. re: Al Bondigas

          I really wanted to like Brooklyn Bagel - but it is just not that great. Definitely not worth the drive from the westside. They are chewy and quite tasteless.

        3. I can tell you that despite my desperately wanting to like Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, every time I've gone there I've been given a tough, chewy, flavorless ring. It may be acceptable for people in LA who did not grow up on excellent bagels back east, but for those of us from the tri-state area, BBB comes up way in the back. I've long held that an excellent bagel needs no embellishment-- not even chream cheese. If you grew up back east you know what I'm talking about. A soft in the inside, steaming bagel with a chewy yet crispy exterior and a slightly salty flavor... like a fabulous Jewish soft pretzel, almost. An excellent bagel should not be dry and hard to swallow, which BBB's consistently are.

          Though I have never had them here, I believe that the fancy deli on top of Barney's in Beverly Hills sells H&H bagels, which are boiled in NY, shipped to LA and then baked here.

          The best bagels I've found locally are from Western Bagel. Several branches around the area.

          Mr Taster

          6 Replies
          1. re: Mr Taster

            Western Bagel is the same place that has a factory on Van Nuys Blvd in the valley, correct? That was the stuff I grew up on (native Valley girl, that I am) and have never had an East coast bagel so it's good to know if Western Bagel rates.

            1. re: SoCalVal


              Western Bagel doesn't rate. My favorite bagel (kosher) is The Bagel Factory on Robertson.

            2. re: Mr Taster

              The H&H bagels at Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills are really lackluster - not much different that Noah's. Maybe H&H has gone downhill.

              1. re: bfez

                When I mail-ordered from them, I wasn't that impressed. I'm wondering if shipping them in plastic bags is what makes them get all soft and mushy.

                1. re: will47

                  Yup, plastic bags make all bread products soft and mushy. Maybe the chemists among us can explain this scientifically.

                  1. re: omotosando

                    Its moisture coming out of the bagel and not being able to escape the plastic bag. Which is why you should always store bagels in paper bags that are not completely sealed at the top.

            3. The original comment has been removed
              1. I'm pretty sure the Bagel store on National & Sepulveda boils their bagels. I'm not sure of the name - look for the yellow "bagel" sign in the CVS/Vons mini-mall.

                Also Nathan's Famous Bagels (1636 Westwood Blvd.) - which used to be Manhattan Bagels (i think) and which used to be i & joy bagels - boils their bagels. I haven't been here for a while - but it used to be v. good.

                I'm not sure - but I think that Western Bagels (11628 Santa Monica Boulevard - near Barrington) also boils their bagels. This is a chain and there are a number of them around LA.