Bagel discovery in Astoria - Rose and Joe's
I have long lamented the fact that good bagels are hard to come by in Astoria. Brooklyn Bagels (Ditmars and 35th st.) is decent, but I find the consistency to be a bit too doughy - the monstrous size of the bagel makes the chewy-center-to-outer-crust ratio all out whack, so that bite for bite, it's just not as bagel-y as the bagels from this city's better bagel bakeries (e.g., H and H Midtown East on the Upper East Side [not to be confused with H and H]), but it more bread-y. (Query: would their "mini-bagels" be better in this respect?)
But anyway, we recently discovered that Rose and Joe's (an Italian bakery under the elevated tracks, on 31st st. between Ditmars and 23rd Ave), which I have long recognized as making oustanding bakery style pizza and all kinds of delicious Italian cookies, breads, and pastries - the very same Rose and Joes also bakes bagels, and they're pretty darn good. They have the chewy-center-to-crust ratio down right, and the bagel has that dinstinctive barely detectable sweetness that characterizes a good New York bagel (it's the water!). The bagels are displayed in a basket behind the register, and it seems that they only bake a small quantity each day (I don't see them every time I'm in the bakery).
Anyway, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that an Italian bakery makes a good bagel, especially since I had good hamentashen from both Bruno's and Rocco's in the Village.