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Any good bagels??

  • d

East Coaster. Have yet to find comparable bagels to what I grew up on. I like a bagel that is chewier, not white bread in a circle. Einsteins, Brueggers, Manhattan, West Coast - all mediocre chains. Does anyone have any independent good quality, NY / East Coast style bagel places with chewier bagels? If it's in the South Bay, it's even a bigger plus for me...

Thanks in advance.

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  1. t
    the BIG Orange

    Although I am NOT a bagel expert, I hear from many people that there just aren't any REAL bagel places here. I think the bagel shops out here steam them instead of boil them [or vice-versa]. Thereby the difference in quality

    9 Replies
    1. re: the BIG Orange

      It's not true whatsoever that there are no great bagel places in LA. As a frequent visitor to NYC I would say we don't have near the number of good ones but Brooklyn Bagel Bakery is at 2217 W. Beverly Blvd and is as good a bagel as you will find in Manhattan. You can watch them boil and bake right in front of your eyes. While they don't emphasize water or egg bagels they do wonderful Blueberry, jalapeno, Poppy and everythings. East coasters seem obsessed with water bagels which don't seem to catch the fancy of Californians. What is deemed the essential bagel in the Big Apple is judged ho hum here.
      Also at the Santa Monica Farmers market there is a stand called Bread Man that has superb fresh bagels. It's a shame that I and Joy went down because their bagels were excellent too. Of course the city is full of Easterners who seem to never tire of complaining about our bagels and pizza.

      1. re: Cleats

        I've had the The Bread Man's bagels at the Santa Monica Farmer's market - you may as well eat a slice of Wonder Bread with a hold in the middle.

        1. re: Cleats

          Cut my teeth on water bagels, which are second only to poppy.

          1. re: Cleats

            As a NY transplant from a line of NY bagel eaters leading back to the boat from Russia three generations ago, I would testify that, far from setting store by "water bagels," they are an alien concept, insofar as a bagel, by definition, is a circle of dough boiled in water and then baked. Anything else may taste fine, but it's not a bagel. I grew up with poppy seed, sesame seed, garlic, everything, and the occasional egg or cinnamon raisin. Jalapeno and blueberry are the kind of flavors I would use as a joke to signify, "not real bagel territory."

            That said, that Brooklyn Bagel place on Beverly is worth checking out. The bagels are decidedly NOT equal to the best in NY, but they are as good as an okay bagel place like H&H-- yeah, not great, okay. The only reason I know of to get H&H bagels in NY is that they're located right near Zabaar's, which is where you've gone to get your appetizing. The idea of paying to have them shipped across country seems peculiar to me. One hypothetical explanation for a market for H&H bagels in LA (beyond the "exotic" cache), is that, like Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, H&H comports with what is apparently the LA taste in bagels: bigger, less dense and chewy, more like a bagel/kaiser roll cross-breed. Not that I'm complaining, really. When in Rome...

            I'd vote Brooklyn Bagel Bakery over imported H&H.

            1. re: Anna

              Man's got a point. H&H are over rated. Best bagels in NYC right now are probably in Brooklyn (Windsor Terrace Bagels and 5th Ave. Bagels in Park Slope)

              1. re: pablo

                I concur. H&H are overrated.

            2. re: Cleats

              Anyone know the nearest cross street to this Brooklyn Bagel spot? thanks

              1. re: Cat'sChow

                Looks like it's a block-and-a-half west of Alvarado:

                Link: http://www.smartpages.com/home/brookl...

              2. re: Cleats

                Brooklyn Bagels as good as any in NYC? I'm a native new yorker who returns often to the city. NY bagels are not what they used to be, but IMHO, they're still a hell of a lot better than Brooklyn bagels

            3. I'm from New Jersey. From what I understand, Barneys Greengrass in Beverly Hills (the deli on the roof of Barneys department store) flies in H&H bagels from New York. So basically day-old New York bagels is as close as you're gonna get.

              Mr. Taster

              P.S. Don't believe anyone who raves about Brooklyn Bagel Bakery... adequate by LA standards, but not for us.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Mr. Taster

                The bagels at Barney Greengrass are H & H flown in the night before, not all the way completely baked. And, they are finished here.

                The Peninsula Hotel in BH also offers H & H (only in the plain). But, it's $3.50 a bagel, or something crazy like that.

                1. re: Frank

                  "The Peninsula Hotel in BH also offers H & H (only in the plain). But, it's $3.50 a bagel, or something crazy like that."

                  You'd be much better off ordering direct from H&H via their website. Two dozen for $50.00.

                  Link: http://www.hhbagels.com

                  1. re: Chino Wayne

                    Actually, unless you are buying a huge amount it is cheaper to buy them at BG then ship when you take into account shipping costs.

                    1. re: JudiAU

                      I recently was in BH so I sprang for 3 H&H poppyseed bagels. Yes, they're bigger than the classic NYC, but it was the densest, chewiest, most flavorful bagel I've had since I lived in this bagelforsaken town. I had literally forgotten what bagels taste like til I took a cream-cheese-loaded bite. The rapture...

              2. Nathan's, in West LA.

                1. No good bagels here. So we started making our own. Somewhat easy if you use Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice recipe following the authentic NYC retard, boil and bake method. You will no longer pine for H&H and Ess-a-bagel!

                  1. We used to make bagel runs to various outlets of the bagel chain I & Joy, closest we could find to NY style. But that was many years ago, don't know if they are still good.
                    As poster below noted, Barney Greengrass has NY bagels, but don't know if they sell them by the dozen at affordable prices. In NYC, Barney's are OK but in truth most on upper Westside prefer H&H or Zabar's.
                    One thing we have never found is a true NY style bialy (or 'biali'), crunchy upper crust with just the right amount of toasted onions. Yum. Around here nothing but lame imitations that don't come even close.
                    Waiting for my friend Margaret to tell me to hightail it back to NYC where I belong. But as the song says, while NY may be home (the motherland) it sure ain't fine.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bernardo

                      I think I & Joy was bought by Manhattan. In any event, they aren't around anymore.

                      1. re: bernardo

                        Barney Greengrass bagels (in both the NYC and LA stores) are provided by H&H.

                        1. re: bernardo
                          quiz wrangler

                          We used to make I&Joy runs as well. Scooty's right, it was bought years ago by Manhattan. The bagels taste good, but they have lost a lot of the texture of the old I&Joy days.

                        2. One thing I feel doesn't improve a bagel is to store it in plastic. I think that makes them soggy and makes the crust too soft. They should be stored in a paper bag and only for a day or so; they need to be eaten fairly fresh unless you want to buy bagels full of preservatives

                          That being said, my favorites are at Western Bagel. When I have the yen, I buy them at their store in Tustin on Newport Avenue. If they package them in plastic for stores (and I think they might) I'm not referring to the ones packaged that way. At their store in Tustin, the bagels are in wire baskets in a case and they pick out the ones you want when you order them.

                          Don't flame me if you don't like them; we can agree to disagree. If you've not tried them, buy one and see if you like them. They have locations all over the southland. I believe they bake them on (at least some of their) premises.

                          Link: http://www.westernbagel.com/contact_u...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Dorothy

                            Western bagels, available in plastic bags in supermarkets are terrible and do not represent a *real* bagel. I can't speak for those that come directly from Western in a paper bag, but definately avoid the supermarket version.

                          2. If anyone reading this has tried the bagels at Bagels 'n Brew in Lake Forest & Mission Viejo, please chime in with comparisons to those already expressed here. This is South OC, but the bagels are disctinctively what I remember from NYC. Friends (who love Manhattan Bagel) find them dense and chewy...... just the way they're supposed to be ;o) .

                            I worked, for many years, with a fellow whose family owns Brooklyn Bagel (I think he runs it now) and I used to stop by there on Friday evenings on my way home from work to buy a dozen or two. They were pretty darn close to what I remember also..... but I was a lot younger then.

                            1. Have you tried the Bagel Factory? I'm not much of a bagel expert (never been to NYC), but the one on Cadillac/Robertson is good IMO.

                              21157 Hawthorne Blvd.
                              Torrance, CA

                              1. GoldsteinÂ’s Bagel Bakery
                                86 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.
                                (626) 792-2435

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ipse dixit

                                  Only if you like huge, fat, doughy round things.

                                  1. re: Chino Wayne

                                    Agreed. Definitely not East Coast style.

                                  2. re: ipse dixit

                                    I don't know the method that Goldsteins makes their bagels, but THEY ARE THE BEST I'VE HAD IN LA

                                  3. I have to laugh at the "purists" that would never try a cheese or jalapeno bagel. Get yourself over to Brooklyn bagels and try em!...You can take your horse and buggy to get there. The cheese, onion-cheese, and jalapeno-cheese bagels are the best anywhere. No cream cheese, butter, or anything else to add. Eat them right out of the paper bage they serve them in.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: dan

                                      You should understand that people from the east coast tend to be purists about their snack foods (primarily pizza, hot dogs and bagels).

                                      For example, the quintessential New York pizza is a simple slice of cheese... hot dog is with mustard (brown) only... and bagel is plain, poppyseed or sesame even (*nobody* from the east coast refers to plain bagels as "water" bagels... I'd never heard that expression before I came out here), whereas people from the midwest/Chicago have that casserole mentality (i.e. to pile a lot of things on top).

                                      To someone from NY (where, mind you, the American romance with pizza and bagels originated), a cheese jalapeno bagel is not a bagel, it's more of a sandwich. (Please note that I am arguing the virtues of their flavor-- I'm sure they taste good)

                                      A really good poppyseed bagel, for example, is savory and delicious without any "camouflage" like cheese or artifical heating methods like toasting. A truly good bagel in its purest form is savory but also slightly sweet, and is soft but slightly chewy (You should never have to "work" at chewing a truly excellent bagel like they way you do with the ones at Brooklyn Bagel Bakery; excellent bagels will remain soft, chewy and delicious even up to a day later as they do not become immediately rock hard.) Also, an excellent bagel has a lovely thin crunch on the outside of the crust as you bite into it, which is contrasted nicely with the distinct flavor and granular texture of poppyseeds.

                                      Lo-carb be damned!!! I need a good bagel :-D

                                      Mr. Taster

                                      1. re: Mr. Taster

                                        Mr. Taster, that is about as good an explanation of the 'real thing' issue as I've ever seen in print. I used to add that, in the case of NY Pizza, it really wasn't the same unless the guy behind the counter used a couple of 'four-letter words' during the sale. Years ago there was a pretty good NY-style pizza place on Robertson, a bit South of Pico - the kind with NYC maps on the wall, true cheese pizza with just enough oozing oil to be real, and some good NYC attitude to boot. But... alas.

                                        I really do think that South OC's Bagels 'n Brew is pretty close on the bagel front.... but no one here responded. Either no one's been to this two-location gem or OC is ruled out of the bagel race by definition.

                                        1. re: Mr. Taster

                                          I once read a description of the quintessential NY bagel as being something you could give to a teething baby to keep him/her busy for an hour, at least. Manhattan Bagels on Wishire in SM is the closest thing to the bagels of my childhood (purchased at a shop in Queens with a neon bagel/horse in the window[?])
                                          Although, in all fairness, even lots of NY bagels ain't what they used to be. Something about changing to a less glutinous flour once they started using machines to mix the dough because the old stuff made dough so dense it broke the machines!

                                      2. l
                                        Lee by the Sea

                                        Go to "East Coast Bagels", natch!
                                        This is a small chain. The one I go to is in the Villa Marina Marketplace (opposite Vons and near the UA Marina movie theater) in Marina Del Rey. Go before 3 p.m.--after that it's half-price and sells out fast.
                                        The good news for you is that it is an Orange County based chain! I am sure you can find them.
                                        The bagels are chewy and delicious, even the water bagels. They do have rye, pumpernickel, egg, onion, and blueberry all the time, plus a monthly special.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Lee by the Sea
                                          Professor Salt

                                          Beware of any pizza or bagel shop that invokes some east coast reference in its name. For me, East Coast Bagels lives up to that rule in the same way Noah's NY Bagels did. Squishy rings of puffy dough with no crust to speak of, IMO. Your mileage may vary, so if you likes em, you likes em.

                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                            You are entirely correct, and the East Coast Bagels in Chino morphed in to a West Coast Bagels and it is all the same, really big, fat, doughy stuff.

                                            1. re: Professor Salt
                                              Lee by the Sea

                                              Maybe they are doing better up here in MDR. I agree that Noah's are doughy and not crusty. Sign still says East Coast, not West Coast like another noted in Orange County.

                                            2. re: Lee by the Sea

                                              Surely you jest.
                                              As someone who was wont to drive down to Ratner's on the lower E Side from upper Manhattan to get fresh onion rolls & bagels as they came out of the ovens at 3a, I have to LOL at the inference of 'chewy and delicious' NY style bagels at East Coast bagels.
                                              But to be a sport I'm (reluctantly) willing to stipulate their bagels are perhaps almost adequate & mildly amusing.

                                            3. I had an excellent "everything" bagel at Manhattan Bagel on Ventura Blvd (Encino) yesterday. Most Excellent, but then again, I have no right commenting on true bagel vs non as I didn't grow up with proper East Coast Bagels!

                                              1. If you're a bagel snob, forget it, best thing to do is buy a plane ticket, because there's nothing like a NY bagel out here. Something to do with the water. Ditto for pizza.

                                                That said, if you are open minded, try Bagel Nosh in Santa Monica, at 17th and Wilshire. The bagels are super fresh, tasty, and delicious. They are more on the soft side than you may be used to, but as they say, deliciousness is where you find it.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Redshirt

                                                  If you want a real fix of NY bagels, mail order from Zabar's (http://www.zabars.com). They get their bagels from Columbia Hot Bagels.

                                                  Otherwise, Manhattan Bagel on Wilshire in Santa Monica's decent when toasted and East Coast Bagel in Marina del Rey is also good when toasted.

                                                  Mmmm... now I'm thinking bagels.....

                                                  1. re: WTW

                                                    Wow. Really? Columbia Hot Bagels...mmm...there's a name that rings a chord of nostalgia. Not as good as Absolute Bagel, in that neighborhood, but not half bad. Much better than H&H. Thanks for the tip! (Not that I have the dough to fly in my bagels. I'd rather save my money for my next trip back to the fam in NY).

                                                  2. re: Redshirt

                                                    I also enjoy Bagel Nosh since their bagels have a slightly yeasty taste and a good crunchy crust.

                                                  3. You asked for an independent bagel store that makes
                                                    great bagels in the South Bay. Look no further than
                                                    Lox of Bagels in Torrance. They cook their bagels in water, then in the oven. A secret gem..if you do go, please post your results! I'm always curious to see what others consider to be the ultimate.

                                                    Lox Of Bagels
                                                    24427 Crenshaw Blvd at Lomita - Torrance, CA 90505
                                                    Phone: (310) 539-3582
                                                    Open 7 days a week Mon-Sat 5am-5pm Sun 6am-5pm

                                                    1. I loved Manhattan Bagel everything bagels. When W. Hollywood closed, my dear SO schlepped me to Santa Monica, and also tried Chowhounder recs. My SO passed away in Dec., so I don't get around as much any more. I've been to Canter's for my favorite chocolate chip coffee cake and tried their everything bagels and they're as good or better than others I've tried and closer to home.