Antigua, GT: Bagel Barn – Cilantro bagels and bacon schmears
Bagel Barn has two locations in Antigua. One a few steps from Central Park and the other on the same street two blocks away. I was surprised how much I liked Bagel Barn … after all … bagels … in Guatemala?
The menu states they are doing their best to be totally local and organic. They have spicy Mayan chocolate using 100% Guatemalan chocolate.
There is a bag on the wall that has “clean coffee” stamped on it which may refer to organic and fair trade farming practices. http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0295/et0295s3.html
In addition to bagels, they sell a nice selection of top notch products such as Valle de Panchoy’s coffee jelly
A chalk blackboard listed the bagels of the day: Jalapeno-cheddar, sweet pepper, cilantro, spicy cheddar, poppy seed, garlic, raisin, onion, 9 grain, sesame, onion, cilantro, plain
Schmears: plain, chive, cucumber, salmon, veggie, bacon, garlic, chocolate chip
At this location, there is an afternoon special from 3 – 7pm each day: bagel, cream cheese and coffee 19 quetzales, (just over $2 USD). This combo is offered at this price all day at the second location which is two blocks away.
This cafe, a few steps from Central Park, offers an early bird breakfast from 6 am – 8 am that includes any breakfast bagel sandwich, coffee, OJ, and fruit salad for 39 quetzales (about $5).
Like the bagels and schmears, the breakfast sandwiches include the usual and those unique to the shop such as
- Mc Barn – fried egg, garlic cream cheese, ham and cheese
- Guate Gaute – fried egg, guacamole, black beans and cheese
- Uncle Sammy – fried egg, bacon, cheese and country potatoes
- God Save the Queen – fried egg, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cheese and black beans
The Bohemian breakfast includes a cigarette (or a vitamin should you be a health nut)
There was a handwritten sign that they have some new desserts such as banoffee pie and key lime pie.
There are the standard espresso drinks and they offer one brand of beer which I’m forgetting. That is the only alcohol offered. Then again, how many bagel shops serve beer … and cigarettes.
Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -
B - … Oregano bagel
B - … “Bacon” cream cheese
A - … Coffee with steamed milk
Service: B - ... Very good
Ambiance: B ... Above average
Flickr photoset with more pictures
Restaurant records with address, phone, website, menu and other info
Bagel Barn II
Details in first reply
Re: "clean coffee." I saw that on a coffee bag recently and asked a local roaster, rather snarkily, if that meant coffee in bags without that indication meant it was dirty. He told me that "clean coffee" on a bag means that the pulp has already been removed and what is in the bag is just the seed, or bean. Evidently there are coffee growers who sell the whole berry for further processing and there are those who clean it and sell just the bean ready for roasting.
I tried the spicy Mayan hot chocolate and liked it very much. The spice added depth of flavor and not heat. The chocolate was creamy with little bits of unmelted chocolate. Not even close to anything I've been served by a Mayan ... who make a thinner, grainier chocolate with no spice. However, this was very nice.
It was pre-sweetened so I'm not sure why it was served with a sugar shaker. The sweetness was perfect and didn't need any more.
The cilantro bagel still eludes me.
BAGEL BARN DETAILS
OREGANO BAGEL: B - … Very good
The bagel itself is similar to Noah’s in the USA. It is marginally breadier. They advertise the bagels are baked fresh every morning. I have no clue if they also boil them.
They get extra credit because the oregano was fresh. Oregano is a popular herb in Guatemala and few would consider using the dried, bottled version. Also, oregano can be overwhelming The oregano was mixed into the bagel dough (see photo in OP) and was nicely balanced. There was just enough to give the bagel a kiss of warmth and flavor. This would be great as the bagel choice for one of the pizza bagels.
I wanted the cilantro bagel, but they were sold out.
“BACON” CREAM CHEESE: B - … Very good
Unfortunately the order got mixed up and I got jalapeño cream cheese which was very piquante. The cream cheese did tone down the heat. They still get a good rating because it was fresh, creamy and tasty cream cheese. Guatemalans are also big on cream cheese, even including it in sushi.
Coffee with steamed milk: A - … Way above average
This was one of the best cups of drip coffee that I have had in Guatemala. So far no one has beat Café Saul in Guatemala City, but this was among the best in Antigua. The coffee was deeply flavored and assertive without being overwhelming. It was perfectly roasted. The foamy steamed milk gave it balance without taking over the taste.
Service: B - ... Very good
The service was prompt, pleasant and they were able to answer questions in English. It was much better than the snotty, indifferent service at Café Condessa Express around the corner. The coffee was way better as well.
Ambiance: B … Above average
This is everything a modern café should be.
It is a tiny space that is amazing well organized. There were lots of people but it didn’t feel crowded. My Flickr photos don’t do the place justice because I didn’t want to shoot the areas where people were sitting. I know I’m not fond of having someone snap my photo when I’m just hanging out someplace.
They have some good photos of the place on the website. There is a comfortable banquette against one wall, a lounge area, various tables, counter and window seats (but not much of a view).
Magazines and newspapers are available to read in the café. They had American magazines such as Newsweek and Time. They also have Lonely Planet maps that you can use in the restaurant and they sell Lonely Planet books.
The place has style but is comfortable and not pretentious. The clay espresso cups were really attractive.
They offer wifi, but more importantly, they have OUTLETS !!!. Lots of places have wifi in Antigua, but good luck trying to snag the one outlet to plug in your pc.
They offer free movies sometimes at 4:15 and daily at 7pm. It is a mix of US and International offerings. None are first-run. This week Slum Dog Millionaire and Como Agua Para Chocolate were being shown
Surprisingly Antigua has no movie theater. Many of the cafes offer movies at night. I was wondering exactly where this tiny café showed movies and then I noticed the pull-down screen just above the cow logo on one wall (first photo in my Flickr stream). There’s a tv next to that.
I was pleased with my visit to Bagel Barn. I went in expecting a joke, but found a place that pays attention to the quality of its food and coffee.
No, it’s not a true NY bagel, but it’s as good as most of what passes for bagels in the US. It is one of the better places to grab a cup of coffee in the immediate Central Park area.
I’ll be back. I want to try the cilantro bagel, the Mayan hot chocolate and maybe a Bohemian breakfast even though I don’t smoke just because of the the audacity of offering a breakfast cigarette. (BTW, you can’t smoke inside. You have to puff your ciggie on the street après dejeuner ... or more appropriately ... después del desayuno).