I love a good bagel. For me, bagels must be chewy on the outside with a dense, yeasty and well balanced interior. I have yet to find a bagel shop in Austin other than Einstein's and was hoping to branch out from their corporate carbohydrates. Any suggestions for bagel shops somewhere in the vicinity of central austin?
And I thought I was a dreamer! If the old Bruegger's were still in town, you could at least change corporate "flavors." But I think it's long gone. I'll be interested to see what other chowhounds recommend.
I've always wondered if the Texas Hillel Cafe would be a good bagel source:
If you get really desperate, Benny's Bagels on Huebner Road in San Antonio isn't bad—for Texas. [Note: It's been a while since I tried it.]
I know they aren't grab and go, but I hit grapevine market once a week for the four packs of frozen H&H bagels. Not a ton of choices, but the best option I've found down here for sure!
Hasn't been an acceptable bagel in Austin since the bagel manufactory closed IMO. I currently make do with the ones at central market (hot jumbo bagel) or fiesta (not sure if these are made there).
I'm a bit of a bagel fan. Actually, I'm an enormous bagel fan. I'm such a bagel fan that I named my cat "Bagel." I grew up eating bagels on Long Island and cut my teeth eating them in NYC (I lived a block away from the greatest bagels in the universe, produced by Kossar's Bialys) and Montreal (don't let the Quebecois tell you otherwise, their bagels are decidedly inferior to the NYC variety, but somewhat good in their own right. Or rather, I miss them now that I live in this bagel-free part of the world).
Anyway, needless to say, it's a bagel wasteland here. It's like the goddamn bagel apocalypse, it's so bad.
What are the options? Well the four major supermarkets carry "bagels" (HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods, Fiesta) but I think they are all abysmal. A shame given the overall high quality of the Whole Foods bakery, but they clearly don't know what they're doing with regard to bagelry. I think CM sells "Hot Jumbo Bagel", consistency seems more akin to cardboard.
There used to be a barely passable bagelry on Mesa that turned into a cookie shop, so that's no help.
Not sure what Katz's serves but I'm pretty sure I had 'em ages ago and it did little for me.
I only heard of this Texas Hillel Cafe recently so no idea what they've got.
Here are your best options: the absurdly named Manny Hattans flies in frozen H&H Bagels from the big city itself. H&H are decidedly middle of the road bagels in NYC (I'd give them a C+) but when you're bagel-deprived like me, a dozen of these will make do in your freezer for a while. Unfortunately for me, Manny Hattan's isn't really conveniently located for my home or work. (OK, it's not that unfortunate because 183 North is a terrible place to be located).
So as a result, I find myself most frequently (like once a month) going to Texas French Bread on South Congress for my bagels. They only have poppy, sesame, and plain, and they are pretty mediocre (also a C+ by my steadily eroding NYC bagel snob standards) in the scheme of things. Oh, and sometimes they just don't have 'em (this only happened to me once, but that once was yesterday morning). But I can walk or bike there in minutes. I can stop next door at Farm to Market and pick up some lox and head home, close my eyes, and vigorously pretend that I am in New York again. It takes an awful lot of pretending.
I feel your pain about bagels. My husband is from NY and is very disappointed with the selection here. I think I've posted this before, but the only bagels he finds somewhat acceptable are the ones from the bakery at Randall's. I know, odd place, but they aren't half bad. Central Market's are awful in my opinion and he won't eat the ones at Einstein's. They aren't phenomenal bagels, but the best we've located are at Randalls.
I grew up on LI too and lived in the Village for 7 years before moving to Austin. I picked up some frozen H&H bagels from Central Market this past weekend and they are seriously lacking. H&H wasn't my favorite bagel shop (Murray's!) but they could give any bagel in the city a run for their money when fresh and hot from the oven. Frozen? Not so much. It didn't even seem like an H&H bagel to me, not even close.
It's cool though, I'm over it. I love the food in Austin so we're even. I actually enjoy the Randalls bagels too! There must be something there.
Sweetish Hill, a locally owned and operated bakery makes bialys that are yummy - especially with egg and cheese on them. I've had their plain and serrano; both are crispy on the outside with a moist, chewy inside. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. There are 2 locations; west 6th Street just past Z Tejas and downtown in the 98 San Jacinto Center building in the southwest corner off the lobby.