so i've asked this before on this board. but wanted to know of any late-breaking, even encouraging news on the subject: where in berkeley or oakland to get bagels these days?
i'll be picking a couple dozen up early this coming saturday morning for my yom kippur break-fast.
(i read that saul's gets in artisanal montreal-style bagels--beauty bagels?--on sat am, but they'll be closed until sundown for the holiday)
a few years back i was getting decent bagels at manhattan bagels on 4th street. last year, my husband could barely slice the ones from manhattan w/ the bread knife, they were so mushy.
our closest bagel store is a noah's--which i haven't tried in a while, but the last time i did, they were similarly bad.
with such good options for challah and rye breads in these parts, you'd think there would be an uptick in availability of good bagels.
Thorough sells bagels occasionally, perhaps to teach baking students a new technique. Unfortunately they're not good (unlike Thorough's many other wonderful breads).
Thorough Bread and Pastry
248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA
I'd be willing to try their plain bagels again in the future, but I had a bad experience a few weeks back. I grabbed one of their untoasted Sesamimi bagels at Little Griddle (~10AM). It was leaden and it had an unpleasant "1970s health food store" taste to it. None of the listed ingredients matched up with the off flavor, so I wondered if it was just a one time mistake or if it wasn't fresh.
As Ed Levine points out in the below link, even NY bagels lose their edge when they've sat out too long. "A bagel's half-life, untoasted and unadorned, is no more than half an hour." One of the (several) reasons NY bagels shine is that they have enough turnover that they can produce fresh bagels several times a day--- a crisp outside and light and chewy inside without the need to toast it.
Spot's sesame bagels are just terrible. I don't think it was just a one-time thing. Their plain bagels are passable.
I still have high hopes for Beauty's Bagels, but Saul's isn't doing them any favors:
As noted, the freshness is key -- I like my bagels still warm from the oven.
Beauty's Bagel Shop
3838 Telegraph, Oakland, CA
I just noticed today that Levy's Bagels & Co. of San Ramon is preparing to open an outlet in the Togo's space at Atlantic Ave. and Webster St. In Alameda.