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SPoT BAGEL

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i cant wait for a real bagel coming to the bay area next week
http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/6...

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  1. Thanks for the link, I am awaiting those bagels with baited breath. . .

    1. "Spot Bagel won’t have any local shops. Rather, starting the second or third week of July, its baked-daily bagels will be in self-service bins at some local markets: Bi-Rite, Real Foods, Canyon Market and Good Life Grocery in San Francisco; both Berkeley Bowls; and Earthbeam Natural Foods in Burlingame. They also will be served at a few local eateries, and sold at two farmers markets (the Ferry Building in S.F. and Temescal in Oakland)."

      -----
      Berkeley Bowl
      2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

      Good Life Grocery
      1524 20th St, San Francisco, CA

      Canyon Market
      2815 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        ..and one of them will be the "Duboce Park Cafe" on Duboce and Sanchez..my local b'fast haunt! I spoke with Rachel the owner and they are coming...I assume her "Dolores Park Cafe"
        ' and new branch on Portrero (don't know if it's open yet or what it's called) will have them as well..

      2. Since the author of that article seems to think H&H Bagels are laudatory, I'd take his opinion of Spot bagels with a grain of salt. Baking onions INTO the dough? The Horror! And I'll bet the plain "yosemite" bagel name was inspired by the Contemporary Jewish Museum's Yo! Semite tee shirts.

        2 Replies
        1. re: soupçon

          Or maybe Yosemite Sam.
          http://www.electricferret.com/static/...

          1. re: soupçon

            The pumpernickel bagels of legend (NY in the late 60s) did have bits of onions in the dough. Not that that sounds like what Spot is aiming for.

            Even Ess-A sells blueberry bagels.

          2. The plain "Yosemite" is named after the water they boil them in. The focus on flavors is troubling, but it seems like it's worth a try. Pieced together from their unorganized Facebook page:

            We make your bagels using a time honored, eight-step artisan production process. You get delicious flavor and texture in each bite.

            1. Fresh local ingredients ... only organic flour and fresh local herbs and produce

            2. Mixing: We use the patent-pending Sancassiano Hydra Mixer to mix and knead our dough. Designed for better gluten devlopment and low hydration, these mixers make the best bagels while using less energy. This ensures you get the tastiest bagel possible and that we minimize our carbon footprint.

            3. Dividing & Forming

            4. Proofing

            5. Aging: Like a fine wine that matures with age, so do true artisan bagels. After our bagels are proofed (risen) we place them in our ager at 38 degrees for 8 to 16 hours. This is a similar process to a Sourdough or Levain and develops better flavor in the dough.

            6. Boiling: We boil our bagels in a specialized 50 gallon stainless steel kettle filled with water from Yosemite & The Sierra (brought to us through Hetch Hetchy). The unique boiling Bay Area water produces a crispy crust and chewy center in every bite.

            7. Boarding & Topping: Each bagel is gently placed on a “bagel-board” and is then covered on both sides with fresh local toppings. You get organic, real flavors in every bite (not dehydrated or sulfur-laden toppings like some other bagel companies).

            8. Baking

            2 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              "water from Yosemite & The Sierra (brought to us through Hetch Hetchy)"

              That's what comes out of my kitchen faucet.

              1. re: soupçon

                you should start a bagelry ;-)

            2. Has anyone tried the H&H bagels at Crossroads cafe? Can't imagine that air freighted bagels are a good idea, I prefer to snatch them fresh out of the oven, but I'm curious.

              19 Replies
              1. re: BernalKC

                They're fine. Bagels freeze well, like any bread.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  If you toast them, air-freighted or frozen are fine, if you don't, only fresh will do.

                  Bagel Hole beat H&H in a blind tasting.

                  http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-...

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    As an aside, I read that same article when it came out, called Bagel Hole and the guys there were more than happy to ship out a couple of dozen bagels every so often. They were exactly the bagels I had been hoping for -- dense, the right size (i.e., not super sized), made the right way (boiled then baked). The flavor shined because there was a little sweetness and a little salt flavor but not too much of either, just not flat like the bagels I've had in Vancouver.

                    1. re: stacyc

                      Here's the tasting that article is based on. And basically, it demonstrates that a bagel that's a few hours old loses all its oomph.

                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/1...

                  2. re: BernalKC

                    Real bagels ship well. The ones my mother sent via Fleet Post Office started in Detroit and arrived within the week where I got them in Da Nang and toasted them, still good. Not sure how the not completely baked things that pass for bagels around here would do in similar circumstances.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      They may have passes through my hands. I worked at the APO/FPO San Francisco facility at 390 Main St. from 1965-67. Bagels were probably the one thing we couldn't break.

                    2. re: BernalKC

                      For what it's worth, here's Josh Ozersky's take on H&H bagels and the state of bagels in New York generally. I think he pretty much nails it. I'm old enough (70) to remember what New York bagels used to be.

                      http://www.time.com/time/nation/artic...

                      1. re: soupçon

                        That sounds like House of Bagels...15 years ago. Eat them that day fresh or use it as a paper weight or throw it through a window. Any way...as a 4th gen Californian from the other shore that's as close as I get.

                      2. re: BernalKC

                        H & H was shut down.
                        http://myupperwest.com/upper-west-sid...

                        House of Bagels has a lot of similarities to H & H style (the slightly undercooked middle comes to mind), and while not the best bagel you've ever had, they're not bad, and sometimes they're good enough to spark a nice memory of how bagels used to taste. Mind you, New York's bagel scene has been given an infusion with the introduction of Canadian bagels.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          Just the Upper West Side retail store shut down, H & H bagels are still available thru other channels.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            When people speak of H & H they're almost always talking about the location that closed.

                            Maybe they'll still be able to produce and ship at least.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              H & H has a big wholesale operation that supplies places like SF's Crossroads, which was the subject of BernalKC's question. I posted about the H&H bagels at Crossroads a few years ago.
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2502...
                              http://www.hhbagels.com/

                              -----
                              Crossroads Cafe
                              699 Delancey St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                They do, but the reason for closing their retail store wasn't poor sales or a rent increase, it's half a million dollars in unpaid taxes by the owner. Presumably he's trying to sell the wholesale operation, if anyone would trust his books (unlikely, given the circumstances).

                                From the NYTimes:
                                In November 2009, Mr. Toro faced state tax charges. He was accused of pocketing almost $370,000 in payroll withholding taxes owed to state and federal authorities from 2003 to 2009. In May 2010, he pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the case. He was sentence to spend 50 weekends in jail and pay more than $500,000 in restitution.

                                1. re: Windy

                                  Wow, was the biggest bagel baker in NY not Jewish. I just always assumed, but this article implies that Mr. Toro was not. Very NY/American.

                                  http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/10/nyr...

                                  And, H&H stands for Helmer Toro and Hector Hernandez. Learn something new every day.

                                  1. re: jman1

                                    According to this New York Times golden oldie, some of the best bagels in New York are made by Thais. http://is.gd/hB40Gz

                                2. re: Melanie Wong

                                  The city seized the business, and NY Times was reporting the Hells Kitchen factory stopped answering phones, so who knows how long they'll ship....Even so, the wholesale product was never considered as reputable.

                                  Maybe Crossroads could still stock H & H bagels from the East Side business (same name, unrelated business, thicker bagels).

                          2. re: BernalKC

                            anyone have montreal bagels shipped to them?

                            1. re: BernalKC

                              Years ago, I was told that they brought in the bagels un-baked and baked them in house. Is that not correct?

                              They are pretty good (as compared to what is locally available in SF).

                              Their website says:

                              H&H Bagels, "the world's best bagel" are flown in from New York and bakedoff daily by us.

                              Not exactly sure what bakedoff means.

                              http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.o...

                              1. re: jman1

                                My guess is bakedoff means the bagels are mixed, rolled, proofed, boiled but not baked until baked/finished locally. It addresses the 20 minute window of edibility described above by at least giving you 20 minutes.

                            2. Based on the flavors on the website, it would be unwise to go in expecting traditional NY bagels.
                              http://spotbagel.com/

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Windy

                                What ever could it be about a sweet corn & blueberry, or Frida Kahlo themed bagel, that would give you that idea?

                                1. re: Windy

                                  I find the overarching theme of the website - i.e. that a traditional bagel is "boring" - pretty off-putting. I have much higher hopes for Beauty's Bagels.

                                  -----
                                  Beauty's Bagel Shop
                                  3838 Telegraph, Oakland, CA

                                  1. re: abstractpoet

                                    It sounds like they're doing everything right as regards the plain bagels. If they tart them up to please a wider market, that's irrelevant to me.

                                    I don't see that the Web site has a theme. The content is just piped in from their Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot accounts, so is basically random.

                                    Beauty's will be making Montreal-style bagels, which are a completely different thing.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Canadian bagels are typically smaller and sweeter, but they're pretty close to traditional, properly made bagels, and something you should be getting from a House of Bagels, or H & H with subtle differences.

                                      I fully agree that if Spot makes a really good plain bagel, it shouldn't matter if they go all Dynamo Slocombe Bagels too. Unless you want a Poppy bagel, and all they have is Poppy Orange.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        The thing I don't understand with all these sweet corn and blueberry and Frida bagels is what people put on top of them. Bagels are mostly savory, at least traditionally; with apologies to raisin cinnamon fans.

                                        Happily this area is awash in great salmon, white fish spread, smoked trout, etc. Just can't see wasting a well cured fish on top of a Poppy Orange versus atop dark rye (Cinderella's) or multigrain (Thorough). Maybe that's my own limitation.

                                        And what's wrong with "plain"? How has it become a detractor, even though vanilla appears to have been reclaimed? Still, the proof will be in the product.

                                        1. re: Windy

                                          I'm partial to plain, but obviously someone is buying those purple blueberry bagels they sell in NY.

                                          I have to admit I've picked up Black pepper, and Cayenne bagels because they sounded interesting. I like the Potato bagels at Holy Bagel, above and beyond their plain. Poppy Orange sounds tasty to me actually - it's just that, you're right, some orange zest in a bagel isn't going to work with lox, or whitefish. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the bread itself.

                                          If someone said they were going to make real artisanal San Francisco Sourdoughs, and then made flavors better suited for a muffin - I'd be pissed.

                                2. Anyone every try a free bagel from Sour Flour? I've met the guy a few times, but never tasted a bagel.

                                  http://www.sourflour.org/bagel-monday/

                                  1. I asked at the Oregon St. Bowl, they said they'll be at the West Bowl starting tomorrow.

                                    -----
                                    Berkeley Bowl West
                                    920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      checked today - didnt have them yet. Berkeley Bowl site says they're coming July 23rd.

                                      -----
                                      Berkeley Bowl
                                      2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                      1. re: majordanby

                                        I have to admit that this sort of bugs me. If you subscribe to their twitter feed, it's been a months long onslaught of "coming soon"s and general puffery to the point where I thought it might be vaporware. And even this week, it's still bereft of specifics. I appreciate that getting a business up and running is tough but attention spans in our busy food scene tend to wander.

                                        1. re: majordanby

                                          Stop bothering the service desk at BBW. I was there getting directions as they took their thousandth call. Only heard their side but it went something like this "not yet, i know but they promise tomorrow." I said the bagels, right? He said yes.;-)

                                          1. re: wolfe

                                            hey, i only called up twice this morning....

                                            and twice more in the afternoon....

                                            and visited the store to see if they were there...

                                            twice

                                          2. re: majordanby

                                            They were at BBW today. $0.99 each. I snagged a plain - very dense, smallish bagel with some bits of cornmeal on the bottom. Very very chewy.

                                            I thought it was good, if not revelatory. I like my bagels still slightly warm from the oven, though.

                                            1. re: abstractpoet

                                              Similar impression here. No crunch (who knows how long it had been out of the oven). Dense, maybe the chewiest bagel I've ever had. Tasty, though not the old-school bagel flavor I'm looking for (cf. Park Slope's Bagel Hole), more of a sourdough / levain flavor.

                                              I'll try toasted later.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                By old school bagel flavor, you mean circa 1985, when Bagel Hole opened.

                                                They're known for being small, dense, but chewy with a harder outer shell.

                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                  Bagel Hole preserves an old tradition that was almost extinct when they opened. There were a couple of older places still going in Brooklyn at that time, but I heard they closed.

                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    Bergen Bagels (Ft. Greene) still has it. I've never been to Bagel Hole to compare.

                                                    No one tried orange poppy or Frida Kahlo bagels?

                                                    Will try them out at Canyon or Good Life later this week.

                                                    1. re: Windy

                                                      i tried the sweet corn and blueberry. interesting taste - you old fashioned bagelites would probably scoff at such a artsy bagel.

                                                      i also got the plain and agree with the above - chewy, but definitely needed to be toasted

                                                      1. re: majordanby

                                                        Not a great sign. I personally like a bagel toasted, but it's considered amongst purists to be sacrilege. You're not supposed to need to toast a good bagel.

                                        2. Tried toasting one this morning. OK texture but sort of bland bagel-shaped bread. Doesn't taste like a bagel to me.

                                          The Bagel Hole guy said they use "a good, old-fashioned recipe with malt instead of sugar." Maybe the malt has something to do with it.

                                          http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-...

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Well, maybe the malt's not the issue, barley malt syrup is one of the ingredients.

                                            http://www.spotbagel.com/SPOT-Bagel-I...

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I agree that there is not the right depth of flavor, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it bland. I've recently been eating a lot of Izzy's bagels, and I'd like to marry Izzy's flavor with Beauty's texture and shape. Hoping they're still working on their recipe, method, and everything else that layers into the final product.

                                              1. re: BernalKC

                                                It didn't seem bland until I toasted it.

                                                1. re: BernalKC

                                                  "Izzy's flavor with Beauty's texture and shape"

                                                  exactly. i got a few beauty bagels from saul's deli yesterday and did a taste test between them and spot. had to go with beauty's - really liked the texture. when i was down in the peninsula, i always went for izzys and they still are my favorite bay area bagel.

                                              2. I'm just curious as to what these SPoT bagels are like, texturally, fresh out of the oven. I understand the advantage of doing it this way - $$$ without the high overhead of an actual shop. But there's just no comparison. At my favorite bagel shop in Manalapan, NJ, they bring bagels fresh out of the oven several times throughout the course of the day. Even with a six-hour-old or eight-hour-old bagel, you notice a significant decline in quality.

                                                When I've lucked into a fresh-out-of-the-oven bagel at Berkeley Bagel, I actually enjoyed it more than I did SPoT's. Of course most of the time those have been sitting there all day too. Maybe you just don't get enough turnover in this area. But if you made bagels that were good enough (hopefully Beauty's), then I think you would.

                                                If you have to toast it, what's the point? It's just a round piece of bread at that point.

                                                -----
                                                Berkeley Bagel
                                                1281 Gilman St, Albany, CA

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                                  The "secret" if there is one... is to NOT slice the bagel ..put it in a toaster oven only long enough to bring back the "crisp" on the crust and perhaps slightly warm the interior....

                                                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                    Yeah, I use that method with day-old (or several-day-old) bagels. But a bagel reheated in this manner is still going to be a pale shadow of one that's fresh.

                                                    The point is that you shouldn't have to resort to such measures if you're buying a bagel the day it's made!

                                                    1. re: abstractpoet

                                                      I have found the best way to bring back day old+ bagels is:
                                                      Place unsliced in a steamer and steam until warmed through, about 10-15mins. The crust will be soggy. Next place in wide mouth toaster or toaster oven. This will bring back the crust.

                                                      1. re: abstractpoet

                                                        Serious Eats guys take on same day bagels (from link early in this thread)

                                                        "Our conclusion? A bagel's half-life, untoasted and unadorned, is no more than half an hour. It was far less than any of us had thought, but after more than thirty minutes, we saw a rapid decline in texture, crust, and even taste."

                                                        I've never had one fresh from the oven so apparently have never had the true bagel experience.

                                                        1. re: drewskiSF

                                                          The fresher the better, but I had some Bagel Hole bagels that were at least 12 hours old, and they were better than any I've had around here in many years. I'm kind of tempted to make them at home to see if I can figure out what makes the difference.

                                                          1. re: drewskiSF

                                                            Ess-a-Bagel is the only place where bagels go stale that quickly, and that's a recent development. I loved their bagels once upon a time, but now they taste like stale, unsalted cardboard even as they start to cool.

                                                            If on is going to toast bagels, the Trader Joe's bagels are pretty decent for a packaged version. They're just a little denser/breadier than they should be.

                                                    2. just picked up a few at bb.very good!nice crispy outside,soft chewy inside,reminded me of bagels from ny.

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: soupnazi

                                                        Really? I thought they couldn't be any more different from a NY bagel. I found it very tough and difficult to chew and gummy in the middle. Maybe they are still getting their act together. Who else has tried them?

                                                        1. re: abbott

                                                          Just finished 2 of them...one at the Duboce Park Cafe, and one here at home before I write this...I am "Bursting with Bagels"!!!

                                                          First at the Cafe...my default bagel is sesame....the ones previously used at the Duboce Park Cafe came from House of Bagels....it absolutely looked like a NY bagel shiney with its' glossy glaze and piled with sesame seeds! I had it with butter ...yet I still was able to discern a deeper sesame flavor (is that because they use sesame oil as well in their recipe? The hint of malt syrup is more like a delicate flavor in the background...then upfront..still it did instill a slight sweetness to the dough....NOW Texture....slightly toasted it was crispy then very very chewy!!! This for me is a GOOD thing, and very representative of New York Bagels....SF bagels don't promote chewing...what can I say...I like to use my mandibles! I actually felt like I ate something that gave my jaw excercise!
                                                          Number 2 Bagel...brought home ...unsliced..slowly heated until crust was recrisped, but with no additional browning, and the interior was warm...it was as close as I could get to a NY Bagel still warm from the oven....the aroma when held up to the nose gave a malty undertone...good beginning...so I didn't slice it but stuffed it in my mouth totally intact. Crisp and then also very chewy this one was cloaked in poppy seeds......so to reiterate...no butter, no cream cheese....naked from its boiling and baking... not gummy at all...the one disconcerting thing for me with both bagels was the color of the dough which was definitely darker than its' progenitors in Brooklyn...a check of the ingredient list revealed the possible answer...."Unbleached Flour"...so I haven't tried the more exotic flavors...and I probably won't till I try double onion, roast garlic and plain (called Yosemite (Yo-Semite) from the pristine waters of the Sierra....these are "Manly" bagels... the new fussy flavors, seem effeminate..but I will withhold judgement..till I experience them with my own taste buds.....

                                                          These are also available at Duboce Park Cafes' sister restaurant..Dolores Park Cafe in the Mission.

                                                          -----
                                                          Duboce Park Cafe
                                                          2 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                                          1. re: abbott

                                                            I tried an everything and an onion, as well as a Frida. No toasting. They were 99 cents each.

                                                            They are smallish and shiny. (No bagels that I had last month in NYC fit this description). The everything and sesamimi (which I didn't try) were most appealing. They're kind of unevenly shaped and baked, which I imagine will even out over time.

                                                            The big hole is a pain--my salmon (from the counter at Canyon Market, where I got my bagels) fell through.

                                                            I liked the everything best. The onion was kind of soggy on the outside and I suspect underbaked. The texture is kind of odd. Not quite a hard crust--I'd have preferred baked longer.

                                                            I would try them again, and hope perhaps instead of orange poppy they'd consider pumpernickel or even a whole grain without weird spices.

                                                            A note that the red containers have no ingredients listed, so I couldn't find out what was in a Frida bagel. Whatever the spice is (jalapeños? cumin?) it didn't belong in a bagel.

                                                            -----
                                                            Canyon Market
                                                            2815 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA

                                                            1. re: Windy

                                                              Oh no, the Frida remain a mystery?

                                                              As for the small and shiny part...one could describe Kossar's or H&H as resembling that description. Also Murray's when it first opened. Combined with Chowfound's report of chewy to the point of giving your mouth a workout... they sound like their own thing.

                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                Mine wasn't that chewy though, even a day later. If anything I thought they improved after exposure to air. Probably depends on whether you toast them.

                                                        2. Are these guys still up and running? Was at Bi-Rite this past weekend, and the bins previously stocked with Spot product were now filled with House of Bagel stuff, along with a sign saying something to the effect that as of Saturday, Oct 15th, there would be no more Spot Bagel available, so they were selling HoB bagels instead.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: Spatlese

                                                            Do you remember what bi rite you went to? I noticed that hob opened a location in montclair.

                                                            1. re: kobescott

                                                              There is more than one Bi-Rite?

                                                            2. re: Spatlese

                                                              Bizarre. Twitter feed is silent for 17 days, Facebook page is gone.

                                                              It's hard to make money in baked goods, but there must be a story behind the splashy launch including the building off 101 by It's It, and subsequent vanishing.

                                                              1. re: Windy

                                                                I figure the story is that too many people did what I did: tried one or two, didn't like it, at least not enough to pay the high price, didn't buy it again.

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  Saw on twitter @hotfoodporn - Oct 14 "Spot Bagel just told me that they are closing up shop. So sad, I thought they were one of the few good bagels in SF."

                                                                  I had always thought that the idea of an "artisan" bagel was odd once you also factored in that they were coming in cold. Not quite "artisan frozen pizza" but for a foodstuff which depends upon freshness....

                                                                  1. re: jcormac

                                                                    wow, that soon? i know they were in seattle in the 90's, but then tanked. but, they were at least in business for several years there...

                                                                    1. re: majordanby

                                                                      According to Marcia Gagliardi in "Tablehopper" Spot Bagels has closed...
                                                                      "And based out of Burlingame, I was sorry to learn that ~SPOT BAGEL~ has ended production. In an email to me, owner Jay Glass said, “SPOT Bagel is sad to announce that we have closed our doors. We sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and enjoyed our bagels.” Dang."

                                                                      link to Tablehopper...

                                                                      https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&a...

                                                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                        That was quick!

                                                                        http://spotbagel.com/

                                                                        1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                          Suggestion, take the Sour Flour bagel class and make your own. It works.
                                                                          http://www.sourflour.org/workshops/
                                                                          Made them yesterday, baked off this morning, served with Sierra Nevada cream cheese while warm.

                                                                  2. re: Windy

                                                                    It's a pretty sizeable looking building from the outside too, with the giant logo.

                                                                    Beauty's bagels look to be the last refuge.

                                                                  3. re: Spatlese

                                                                    They had been on sale at Good Life Grocery too, and now they are gone. Curious.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Good Life Grocery
                                                                    1524 20th St, San Francisco, CA

                                                                    1. re: BernalKC

                                                                      wow. i noticed last week that one of the UC Berkeley cafes switched from Spot. i know they supplied several of the campus' eateries which is as good as a sure thing since the majority of students won't really question the bagel quality (they were MUCH better than what was on offer there previously). even with such a large customer order from the cal campus they're gone...

                                                                  4. Real Bagels have come and gone from the Bay Area already - if you were lucky enough to try Phil Roland's bagels! I keep hoping he's going to open up again somewhere..