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flat bagels blog

Tradition schmadition. Something I’ve noticed every time I come to New York is that the bagels keep getting puffier and puffier. (Which happened before everything started going 3D.) When I eat a bagel, I want a chewy exterior with lot of seeds on it and enough dough inside to support a swipe of cream cheese. I don’t want a whole loaf of bread in there. Is that too much to ask?

Roaming around the streets of New York, I’ve seen bagels practically as round as a baseball and others as fluffed up as a burger bun. And I know you’re not going to believe this, but I even saw bagels with dried fruit in them. Oy. What is this city coming to?

bagel cream cheese blog

Many purists kvetch that one should not even toast a bagel, that they should be eaten fresh, when they’re toothy and a bit tough. But with all the dough in some of those bagels, unless you do the Jewish American Princess dough-dig (pulling out the bread, so you’re just left with the crust, reducing the calories), something passing as a bagel can be just another roll-with-a-hole.

When I stopped into Pick a Bagel on the corner of Lexington and 77th Street, I was about to order my usual Everything Bagel, the kind crusted with lots and lots of seeds (and not a raisin or dried blueberry in sight, thank you), I noticed a basket at the end of the bagel selection filled with what looked like bread intended for a game of carby ring-toss.

flat bagels1

I asked what they were and the clerk told me they were “flat bagels.” Say what? Why I have I not ever heard of a flat bagel? Someone had wised up and realized that for bagel lovers, it’s about the crust, not the crumb. They actually look closer to the bagels sold in the bakeries like Finkelsztajn on the rue des Rosiers in Paris. (Which go for around €2.75 a pop and from the looks of them, I don’t even think they’re boiled.) So they’ve become my morning breakfast everyday since arriving.

Another bonus is that flat bagels easier to pack. So you know what I’m hauling home in my suitcase. Because flattery will get you everywhere. Including back to Paris.

Pick a Bagel
1101 Lexington Avenue (at 77th)
Telephone (212) 517-6590

For more New York dining and tips:New York City Dining & Travel Notes


    • frank

    Even the “flat” bagel looks puffy.
    You must try a Montreal style bagel. Nothing better!
    They are a true bagel. Hard crust, chewy inside, and never
    thicker than an inch.New York bagels have evolved into buns
    in the shape of donuts!

    • Lisa Fischoff

    They’re flagels!! At least that’s what they call them on Long Island. They’ve been around for at least 8 years and I’ve been eating them for just as long. I completely agree with you there is too much dough in most bagels which is why I always go for the flagel…all the flavor of a new york bagel with less doughiness.

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    To each their own, I suppose.
    These look a lot like a Montreal bagel (a la Fairmont, par instance) which I actually don’ t like all that much. I appreciate the crust of the bagel, but I think that it’s best when accompanied by a thicker toothsome crumb.
    My favourite bagels are the ones that come from my own oven. …but when isn’t homemade bread better than anything else?

    • Jeremy

    Could those be like Montreal bagels???

    • The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    Bagel flats! LOVE them. So much more room for the schmears!

    • Phoebe

    Normally a fan, but the dig at “JAPs” is uncalled-for, offensive (the term being, after all, a slur, the only possible exception being if the person using it self-identifies as one), and inaccurate. I know from growing up in NY that women of all backgrounds, and doubtless some men, make this low-carb bagel request. It’s not one I understand, but yes, it’s out there.

    And the opposition to doughy bagels has become almost a foodie cliché (see also Bittman’s bagel recipe), like preferring one’s coffee black, as though a less doughy bagel is somehow more sophisticated. Aren’t these preferences just… preferences? If you want doughy, there’s Ess-a-bagel or Bergen Bagels. If not, Bagel Bob’s, Murray’s, or carbon footprint be damned, get your bagels shipped in from Canada.

    • Eileen

    We live in nyc and have been eating “flagels” for the past 8 years. For a while we lived in upper manhattan and would rent a car from Enterprise out of Fort Llee NJj. They pick you up on the NJ side of the GW bridge at a shopping plaza. In that shopping plaza is a bagel shop that looked pretty popular. While we waited for pick up from Enterprise we checked it out. They sell everything, but we noticed the flagels. Would have to say that they have the best flat bagels we have tasted so far. Especially the Everything flagels, the garlic are pretty good also. Wish I knew the name of the bagel shop. Its easy to get to, but I never bothered to notice the name of the store. There is a burger king in the shopping plaza, some sort of drug store, an indian restaurant and a gas station and Food Emporium accross the street. Definitely worth the short detour from the bridge if you are on your way upstate for the weekend.

    • Hannah

    I think I need to play carby ring-toss. I’d much rather to do that than go to the gym or play tennis or anything lame and middle-class like that. Carby ring-toss is where it’s AT.

    • Fran

    I’m with you on the flagels and the point about no dried fruit in bagels strikes a cord. Hell, there should be nothing sweet in a bagel! I mean, how can you put lox or kippered salmon, tomato and onion on a strawberry bagel for crying out loud?!

    It’s just plain disturbing.

    • marie

    I have been eating everything flagels for years. I carry a dozen from NY to California for my son. My favorite way to eat them is to cut them horizantally and toast until very crisp. Then spread with mashed avacado and a sprinkle of salt. The toasted seeds on the flagel are more pronounced and the crispness is a wonderful contrast to the avacado. This is a very quick delicious feast. Thank you, David, for sharing your food passion and discoveries.

    • Lauren

    Yes, preferences are just that, but all foods have their origins and although it is everyone’s privilege to alter to their own tastes, can’t we respect and celebrate tradition? And about the remark on “princesses”, anyone who reads this blog regularly appreciates David’s sense of humor and would not be offended by this remark. I myself, fit the profile and I define the term as someone who is discerning and prefers to have things exactly as she wants them….nothing wrong with that!

    • David

    Well, who knew this was actually a called a ‘flagel’? And more importantly, how come I never heard of it before?

    • martina

    Never tasted a bagel in the States… so I didn’t know mine were soo perfect!
    I thought it was a sort of problem, but turns out that it’s the way they should be! So proud of myself now
    cheers Martina

    • Jess

    Give me bialys over bagels, please. Soft, chewy, oniony, with the perfect receptacle for melted butter.

    • Robin (Hippo Flambe)

    Maybe you never heard of them because you have been in France.


    • Nancy

    @Eileen – It’s Goldberg’s Famous Bagels in the Washington Bridge Plaza on Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee, NJ. I agree their flagels are the best, and fortunately I live here!

    • hillaryn

    I am definitely with you and hating those soft doughy things passing as bagels. And not to offend the person who was offended by the JAPs comment (lighten up, please, it’s true…then again lots of non-Jewish women do that dough-pull thing) I think the doughiness is to appeal to the masses who did not grow up on real bagels and find the original a little too crunchy/chewy for their white-bread bred taste.

    Two of the girls I hosted years ago as students, and with whom I am still in contact fell in love with bagels and cream cheese. I actually transported a couple of dozen bagels to France, back in the days before luggage limits. Their parents were mystified at first, but the kind of got a kick out of them after a taste. The girls were in heaven!

    Watch Julia with Lauren Groveman making bagels. It’s is so funny watching the very patrician Ms. Child with Lauren buzzing around her and Julia’s final admission that bagels aren’t really too bad after all!

    • Elliot J. Krane

    You can blame Noah’s for the debagelization of America, I think. They weren’t too bad at first, they were even Kosher,, but then they weed acquired by Starbucks and dumbed down to the Wonder Bread eating masses. Just as Starbucks reduced once good coffee to the lowest common denominator.

    • Elliot J. Krane

    Oops. I meant they WERE acquired … That’s what happens when you type fast on an iPad and don’t catch its “corrections.”. Sorry.

    • Deborah

    Hi David, I’m new to your blog and loving it. Made the cornmeal cookies yesterday and they are my new favorite. I know what you mean about “roll with a hole”. Too much dough. I’m hooked on Zingerman’s bagels here in Michigan. Nice and flat, crusty and lots of seeds. AND on your birthday, they give you 1/2 dozen free.

    • Laura

    Can’t agree more about the size of food in America, not to mention the amount of food that is served on an extra large dinner plate in many restaurants. Sometimes, it should take three people to eat it all. It is almost always too much. We stopped eating bagels simply because they are so BIG and doughy and there just are no good bakeries around us. It does encourage baking bread at home though. I will make a note of Pick a Bagel for our next trip to NY.

    • Susan

    For what it’s worth, Thomas’s, of Thomas’s English Muffin fame, is now making a flat bagel for we of the masses. They’re split and sold in pkg’s of eight. At least they listened to the masses about the thickness, anyway.

    • krysalia

    I love this whole note but the end of the text is hilarious :D.

    • soo

    If you want a real bagel, come to Montreal. Seriously.

    • Mario

    I agree with the other commenters in that the flagels have been around for about eight years. I first saw them at the cheese shop in Southampton, Long Island. They have gradually become more common all over the city.
    I ask for mine toasted and filled with cream cheese and it always amazes me to see that the guy at the counter can slice them in half.

    • Jim

    I’m with Jess – give me a bialy with cream cheese any day. I live in Amsterdam and make them occasionally, much to the derision and then delight of the locals.

    • ritanyc

    Uh-oh, David, “don’t get us started!”
    I love going to Ess-a-Bagel, two blocks from my apt. and listening to folks placing their orders. Two recent gems:
    “Everything bagel w/ butter, make sure it’s oozing out the sides”
    “Plain with butter and jelly, cut in quarters, so the kids can eat in the car, we’re going to the Hamptons”
    (Also, why do flat bagels cost more than regular?)
    As far as scooping the insides, my husband likes it that way, and my daughter eats the soft part…breakfast for a king AND a princess!!

    • Kelly-Jane

    I’m not a bagel fan, or at least I thought I wasn’t. I hate that feeling when they are so dense and heavy that you just think you might choke! A flat bagel looks so much more appealing. Will look out for those.

    Had to laugh at “dough-dig” learn something every day!!

    • tabitha

    Ah! I actually made bagels a while back and they came out rather flat. I figured I had deflated them transferring them from the fridge to the boiling water. They were delicious and I’m happy to hear that mine were not abnormally formed, just more traditional. Thanks!

    • Ames

    You should really try Fairmont Bagel

    Best ever!

    • ron shapley

    I personally, has gone to making my own English Muffins…….Bagels are too much…….but I am going to the Lexington avenue store tomorrow on my way down to your book signing……………It’s great you are here in NYC..

    • Joy @ TheHerbedKitchen

    Montreal bagels all the way, my dearies. Just one shop around here ships them in and they are beyond wonderful. The poppyseed variety is my favourite, particularly smeared with chevre and smoked salmon. Bliss. I don’t know how many times I’ve scurried out at 8 on a Sunday morning to pick up the fixings for a really laid back and delicious breakfast. The Montreal variety has that lovely knotted texture and with just a light amount of toasting the centre is crisp and there is hardly any of that awful doughy-ness that ruins the lesser bagels.

    • Lillianne

    HA – Flattery – you’re crazy. I love you.

    • David

    Jess: I love bialys, too. But I can never figure out if you’re supposed to split them (or even if you can) or what. So I always end up eating them just as is.

    ron: I’ve learned on this trip that English Muffins make great hamburger buns. They’re nice and firm, and stand up to juices, yet don’t overwhelm the burger. I had one at Prune restaurant the other day that was outstanding.

    hillaryn, Ritanyc: Well, I never got the “Dr Diamond nosejob” when I turned 16, so I guess I don’t qualify as a ‘princess” of the ‘tribe’. But I will admit to scooping out a bit of excess dough because it’s sometimes been just too much : )

    Noah: Yes, Noah’s steams their bagels, which just isn’t right. I suppose was a way to make them faster or more efficient to make on their scale. But they’re really not very good. In my opinion, of course.

    berit: I read that after folks pointed out these existed. Interesting they have the same amount of calories. But if I’m going to eat calories, I’d much rather they be toothsome and chewy that puffy and doughy. And the mountain of seeds doesn’t hurt, either!

    • fotografiafoodie

    Never tried these! Definitely want to now! I’ll have to try and find some in Vancouver (highly unlikely)!

    • Cookin’ Canuck

    Flat bagels are the way to go – same taste and texture, but not so filling (and calorie-loaded). I’m surprised the TSA agents didn’t raid your suitcase for a little mid-morning snack.

    • Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf

    aaah, flagels ! i grew up with the bagel store down the street, and every sunday it was the new york times with bagels and lox, and everyone in the family had their preference -everything bagel for my dad, bagel twist for my sister, mini bagels for me… and flagels for my mom. i had to laugh out loud above at the mention of the jappy dough-dig that was in fact omnipresent in long island, oy vey. and yes, i totally agree, bagels are *huge* in manhattan (size not popularity), and so different than what i knew – it’s all about the water. whenever i visit ny, i bring back a dozen bagels from great neck – twists and minis… and flagels too.

    i was so excited when i discovered a shop in zurich called “books & bagels”. but it’s horrendous – as in, stale hamburger buns with a hole in the middle. :(

    • FoodFitnessFreshair

    This was hilarious. I agree…what’s with all the puffed up bagels? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a bagel–a bagel being a chewy version of bread shaped like a disc, not like a football. I’d love to try those flat bagels. They look like a very slightly thinner version of the perfect “bagel”.

    • sonya

    …and to accompany your flagel, might I suggest a visit to Sicaffe for an excellent coffee, surely one of the best cups of Joe in that neighborhood. It’s not too far from the bagel shop (Lexington btwn 70/71 St., west side of street) . They roast their own beans and make a lovely Triestino,

    • Jill Appenzeller

    Okay, so since everything I make from your recipes is fantastic, and I used to be baking-phobic, how about a recipe for David’s bagels? with everything please. If you can de-mystify caramel (and you have) can bagels be far behind? and think of all the lovely suitcase room you will free up! not to mention no more weird queries from the border police.

    • DebG

    Too cruel to post on real bagels when all I can get here (east of the Netherlands) is a very flat (should it get points for that?) thing of discus dimensions with a large hole, definitely unboiled, unchewy, coated with barely toasted sesame seeds. So no resemblance to the real thing, really. But I enjoyed reading about it nevertheless. A girl can dream of better things… perhaps I should take to making my own…..

    • Bob Y

    What? No H&H????

    • Sophia


    Here in Chicago it’s tough to find anything that resembles a real bagel–flat or not. We’ve got ersatz bagels covered, though.

    • Skippy

    David, I live in Manhattan (I’m crushed that I had to miss your reading!) and it’s true that the bagels have become a scandal; I think the bagel makers in the city went astray because tourists were used to the super puffy Lenders’ Bagels found in the freezer section of grocery stores.

    I plead guilty to doing the dough-pick thing, not just because I don’t enjoy consuming a lifetime supply of calories at one time, but because who can eat something that big and heavy?

    I’ve made my own–they aren’t particularly round or great looking, but at least I can control the size.

    • Natalie Yasmin

    David! After spending four years of undergrad scouring the Upper East Side for quick bites between classes (nearly impossible and made doubly so after Payard closed – oh how I miss their croissants!), I’m sorry I missed these “flagels” (they seem normal-sized to me though… it’s sort of like when folks buy organic strawberries and they exclaim – complain – about how small they are). I second Sonya’s recommendation for coffee though. I don’t know if perhaps it’s because of the especially cold mornings and afternoons on which I stopped in, but the coffee always seemed just right.

    • Big Tex

    “Flat bagel” was at one time like “gin martini.” Bagels were flat, or at least flatter, and a vodka bottle had no place near a martini shaker. But those horses are way out of the barn.

    Just last year, bagel historian Maria Balinska wrote on the NYT Web site: “The 1970s have a lot to answer for in terms of bagel size and consistency. But then again, you couldn’t make sandwiches with ‘cement doughnuts’ and ‘Brooklyn jawbreakers’ and — to paraphrase an excoriating Mimi Sheraton article in The New York Times in 1981 — that’s what the public wanted. They (we?) became too lazy to chew.”

    But who knew that a sandwich was ever supposed to be made on a bagel? (Oy vey!)

    Looking around in some photo archives, I hoped to find old shots of some really flat bagels. And there is a wonderfully atmospheric Weegee shot, “Bagels, Second Avenue” (1940) in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Trust (available online). But even those are thicker than I would have thought, although far from the puffy behemoths of today.

    • Cecile

    Also in the neighborhood is Pastrami Queen (1025 Lex. Ave) used to be in Queens, and named Pastrami King. Moved and had a sex change. We just stopped there last Saturday and had amazing pastrami and brisket sandwiches, much calmer than Katz’s. Got bagels at Pick a Bagel by chance, I agree they are great. Even their regular bagels aren’t as doughy and squishy. They also sell a decent black & white cookie. Those I usually make at home, though. I like to think of Bialys as Jewish English muffins, similar texture to the dough.

    • Louise

    I lived the first 70 years of my life in Manhattan, was raised with bagels and watched the deterioration of bagels over the years – H&H was great when they started but after being sold, the bagels were horrible. Now we live in Raleigh, NC, and after having tried bagels from all around, I am baking my own from Peter Reinhart’s recipe and they are positively delicious. Some good news tho – in the Whole Foods Market in Raleigh the other day I saw bagels from Goldberg’s Famous Bagels – no flagels but we bought a couple and they are the best we have purchased down here –

    • Ruth Manfredi

    David, love your blog. i laugh out loud when i read it from my home in la spezia and vernazza, italy. i am currently visiting my parents in new york AND just received your book via amazon but, alas, my little 16 month old son has a fever so i couldn’t come to the signing. bummer.

    agree with don h: you must try h&h. years ago when i was working and living in nyc, we had a bagel contest: essa vs. h&h. no visit to ny would be complete without an h&h everything with cream cheese schmear.

    while you are in ny, have you tried Little Owl? it is my current favorite restaurant. food is american and like the best of italian food: extremely fresh ingredients cooked just right. great atmosphere. a bit like new york used to be. if you cannot get a reservation, just stop by in the late afternoon and they’ll find you a walk-in reservation for the evening.

    • Genio

    Like many things that are traditional NYC food, the best and most authentic is often not found in Manhattan ( sort of like NYC accents). To get a true NYC bagel you must go to Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx ( well Riverdale at least) or even Long Island. Same goes for a slice of pizza and B&W cookies. Chinatown Chinese is still pretty good but the food in Flushing is probably better.

    • BarbF

    I wonder if there’s any chance of finding a flagel-type bagel anywhere in the SF bay-area? I’m in total agreement about the tendency towards the thicker/fluffier kind of bagel being what is prominently available, but not the most desireable. I like the crusty outside part!

    If anyone has any suggestions on where to find such a beast in SF/Oakland, please let me know!

    • Fran

    OMG! I can’t believe you referenced the “Dr. Diamond nose job!” I went to camp (Che-Na-Wah) with Dr. Diamond’s daughter (can’t remember her name — she was my bunk 17 counselor) and her brother, Seth (of course I remember his name … he was a hunk with a perfect nose) so many years ago and I’ve talked about “the Diamond nose job” countless times and people down here in the Virginia ‘burbs have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. I’ve never known anyone to know a Dr. Diamond nose job before, but I pick them out when I’m watching TV or a movie.

    Jewish American Princess I’m not, but I bunked with my share in camp at at school (American University) to know a good nose job when I see one. :)

    You put a real smile of memories on my face tonight – thanks!

    • hannah

    Isn’t it interesting how many of your followers are fans of the Bagel Bakery on Fairmount in Montreal! I lived round the corner (on Groll St. between Waverly & St. Urban) and went daily.

    When I moved to B.C., I couldn’t find a decent bagel anywhere, and so that’s what got me learning to bake. Even though I can’t bake in fire, I can finally say I very much like my own bagels – but nothing can replace the Bagel Bakery buying experience; waiting in line with the wonderful aromas, and chatting with neighbours, watching the bagels being dipped in seeds and the long paddles going in and out of the fires.

    I wonder if the customers still wait in the back, or if the legal/health/bureaucrats have managed to ruin that part of the experience…

    • john quinn

    Some of the best bagels in NYC are at Absolute Bagels. They are from Thailand. But the pumpernickel raisin with sweet (unsalted butter) and lubricated with Tabasco is out of this world. (You need to put that one together yourself.)

    • Nancy

    Hannah, Fairmount didn’t change at all. Still as perfect as it’s always been.

    They even now deliver their bagels to most Costcos in Quebec, and other grocery stores, which is good news for Quebecers who live far from Montreal.

    The Gazette once ran a survey and it was declared that Saint Viateur makes the best bagels in Montreal. What??? No way! It’s Fairmount all the way!!!

    • new york state of mind

    The best flagels and bagels in NYC are at Bagel Works, First Ave, bet. 66th/67th.
    Made the old-fashioned way. Not the easiest people in the world, any you will probably have to stand in line for a while, but it’s well worth it! H&H fuggetaboudit! (P.S. Love Rub, hate the noise! St. Louis ribs are the best!)

    • Renée

    Byalis are supposed to be split like a bagel, toasted and drenched with butter. Yum. The best byalis and bagels used (20 years ago) to come from Riverdale, believe it or not.
    David be sure and expound on all your great eating adventures in NYC cause i”m heading there in October for the first time in 5 years. I’ll be staying on the upper EAST side for the first time instead of the West side. All you New Yorkers who visit this blog please let me know where to find great byalis, bagels and the like. I need real New York food again. How about a croissant since Dumas Patisserie closed and Eclairs too. Do you guys head over to Fauchon?

    • arugulove

    These definitely look like Montreal bagels (and to settle the debate, St. Viateur all the way). Montreal bagels are usually covered in sesame seeds. They are boiled, though then they are cooked in a wood burning oven, which is why they are so delicious.

    Montreal bagels are very similar to a Turkish thing called simit, also delicious.

    • Renee

    Ciao David,
    It’s getting more and more difficult to find a good bagel these days in NYC. That goes for a good slice of pizza and a good ol’ New York style hot dog too! My theory on the best bagels in NYC is that they have to be made by a Jewish deli. As you know, those are harder and harder to find today, and sometimes they are Jewish on the outside (front of the house) but not so Jewish in the back of the house. This goes for Italian pizza places too. It’s a sin to see what some places in NYC are calling pizza (especially in mid-town).
    Un caro saluto, Renée

    • Lucie

    Mmmm…I would fly back to New York just to have a bagel with some cream cheese. Well, I would also go overboard and and up buying tubs of peanut butter while I was at it. And about a million other things! I’m really enjoying your New York updates :)

    • Geraldine Toltschin

    Story of my life, in 1982 I personally made the flagles at my bakery in Buenos Aires., the first THE BAKERY. The entire Jewish community showed up to purchase the little flat bagles.

    Being not Jewish but of the unmentionable syndrome of A-PERSONALITY, my large frustration was they were always flat….everyone LOVE- D TEM.

    THANKS SO MUCH for stabalizing my personal culinary psychosis.
    The Bagle baking began in KINGSTON, JAMAICA when a dear friend kept giving me huge tins of smoked salmon from Scotland!!!!! One day I said, ‘ok, gotta have a bagle’ and began practicing with them, after quite a few bad attempts, SUCCESS. I’ve been boiling and baking them ever since.

    LOVED reading all the answers from your readers, they are as much fun as you are. We should have a BAGLE BLAST.
    Geraldine/ Cadiz, Spain

    • clairetweet

    That makes me feel much better about the bagels I make. I often feel I have failed as they don’t puff up like life preservers. Mine are more flagel like and a bit wrinkly to boot. They are chewy and delicious. I am glad I am in good company!

    • berit

    That’s the spirit ;-D

    • stephanie

    I know I am a minority here, but I never got into bagels. For me bagels are not palatable until they are split, toasted and slathered with *very fattening* cream cheese. That is a lot of work compared to a baguette that I can eat out of the bag with or without a tiny bit if butter. I am American, but this is just one more reason I feel at home in Paris where bagels are rare and baguettes plentiful.

    • Sandra

    I live in Spain and decent bread is expensive so I usually make my own but this blog is really bad for me! Now I have a yearning for bagels (and I’m not even American!) homemade, of course. Not that I can’t make them, I can, easily, too easily. The trouble is stopping eating them!
    Only yesterday I made danish pastries…
    If only carbs were as healthy as salad!

    • David

    skippy and Renee: The same thing was happening with the French baguette in Paris, where it was becoming very hard to find a good, authentic one. In 1993 (I think that was the year…) the government stepped in and issued standards for what could be called a ‘baguette’, and the quality went back up.

    They also have yearly contests for things like The Best Baguette in Paris. Of course, in a city with 1200+ bakeries it’s hard to say one or the other is “The Best”, but it does keep the quality up because if you win, you get a lot of publicity.

    new york state of mind, louise, ruth, bob y: I don’t mind H&H, but you can actually buy those frozen in Paris, although oddly, the price is a little less than they charge in New York!

    • Emily

    Hi David: I’m a bonafide new yorker and have been reading your blog for a long time! I’d throw my hat in the ring for the “Squagel” (a square bagel) sold at the Cosi chain (I know, I know). They’ve somehow managed to meld the crusty Cosi flat bread top with the elasticity of the typical New York bagel. Cheers!

    • Cait

    Aah the bagel debate. Your readers keep mentioning Montreal bagels. What they are really talking about are the bagels from either the Fairmount bakery or the St. Viateur bakery. They are both amazing bakeries – wood stoves, folks who have worked there for years… The bagels are distinctly different from any other type of bagel and absolutely delicious. It is definitely worth a trip to Montreal.
    And if you go stop by the Patissierie Belge. Sheer heaven.

    • Heather

    I agree – Montreal bagels are amazing – when you’re in town next drop by Fairmount Bagels :)

    • Jane Taylor


    Great talking to you on the phone during Joan Hamburg yesterday. I wish I could get down to NYC tonight, I’m 4 hours away…I guess I’ll have to come to Paris and do one of your fabulous tours instead.

    Thank you for all you do and share. You are a gem that keeps on giving good energy!


    PS. Everything flagels are the BEST!

    • annbb

    I’m with the Montreal bagel lover crowd. Never have I had a better bagel! It’s history is wonderful: and they’re now available in NYC, but only on weekends after an all-night trip down from, you guessed it, Montreal: and
    (I’ve never been to the Mile End – have no association with the – my Montreal bagel experiences are through a friend, a Montreal native that now lives close to me.)

    • Amy

    I agree with john quinn about Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side/Morningside Heights. I lived in Manhattan for a few years and went there several times, one of the first when my sister and Thai brother-in-law were visiting. What a surprise to find a Thai family in NYC running a bagel shop – some of the best bagels I had during my time in NYC. And I definitely like my bagels not toasted.

    • Caroline

    Well, David, I think you’re just going to have to pay a visit to Montreal. It’s a great city for foodies; the bagels are only the tip of the iceberg. And if you go in winter, you can have the icebergs, too.

    • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    We have a New York style deli in town that has the best bagels but the trip makes it less than a normal occurrence so it’s Einstein’s or bust. And bust out of your pants you will; those suckers are HUGE! I’m so with you…for me it’s the crust and the cream cheese.

    But I’ve seen and even bought the packaged/prepared ‘flat’ bagels a reader mentioned at my daughters request but I don’t think they count. They are plain and dull and not really bagelish (?) at all. Now I think I’m planning a trip to that deli, all this talk has me craving one!

    • Kat

    This post cracked me up. I’m an SF Bay Area person who has been subjected to rant after rant after rant by NY expat friends who can’t get over the lack of decent bagels in the Bay Area. They won’t shut up about how NY bagels are so superior and so much better than anything you can get in California.

    (look, I get it. I’m not going to defend California bagels. Please stop with the ranting now!)

    So I’m getting a sick satisfaction reading that even the holiest of holy (holey?….sorry), the legendary NY bagel, has deteriorated into a puffy shadow of its former self.

    • Andrea

    Late one night my husband and I fell in love over smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels from the Bagel Bake in London’s Brick Lane, munching them in the car with champagne in styrofoam cups, and 20 years on we still keep going back to stock up on their delicious salt beef. They have been baking and boiling bagels and other delicious stuff for decades, I don’t think it gets more authentic than the BB. If only they did flagels, too!

    I made your polenta biscuits last weekend – they were a huge success – thank you for yet another brilliant recipe!

    • Jean Marie

    Everything bagels are the BEST! Now, I need to find me some flagels.

    • Valerie

    Another vote for the Montreal bagel via Fairmount/St.Viateur. They have caused me to gain 5 lbs in 2 weeks. Should have played a few rounds of carby-ringtoss while consumer to burn off some of the carby goodness.

    • Ed

    Another vote for Montreal bagels and St. Viateur being the strong preference. That’s just round bread with a hole in the center in NYC.

    • Debalina

    We love the Montreal bagels too, just filled up on our vacation there. Here in Salt Lake they don’t know bagels from……On an early morning flight from California to SLC a complaint was overheard-about the “hard unsweetened doughnut” served for breakfast on the plane.

    • Liz @ Butter and Onions

    David, I know how you feel about the Montreal bagels (that you don’t like them), but at least these LOOK like Montreal bagels, and probably have a similar texture (and more salt). I will definitely be on the lookout for these when I visit NYC this fall. Loving your posts about the city.

    • Den & Jo

    What is this heresy about not liking Montreal bagels!!! Say it isn’t so. Fairmount or St Viateur bagels – sesame or poppy seed – hot out of those roaring ovens are out of this world – we’d stack ’em up against any challenger. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve bought a dozen, had about 8 left by the time we got to the car & circled back around the block to get another dozen. Their smell alone is intoxicating.

    • Ruth

    David: say it ain’t so! a frozen bagel from H&H in Paris! what I wouldn’t give for a bagel, flagel or bialy in Italy….oh well, have to make do with pesto, anchovies from monterosso and coming back to ny more often. this weekend’s weather is supposed to be the best weather of the YEAR in NYC. enjoy.

    • Helena

    Now I know that by living in the centre of Tel Aviv I am eating my way around the bagel world. I can get a different type of bagel every day for a month if not more within walking distance. This could be a good Phd. subject for thr right person. I also know people whose family name is Bagel………………………………

    • itzel

    hey Phoebe RELAX

    i´m a JAP and i thought it was frigen hilarious. time to relax peeps, forget about all the political correctness. this guy is right when it comes to the comment. it´s funny. and i love normal flat bagels. good to have a recipe for one?????


    david keep on kicking ass!


    • Tammy

    “Because flattery will get you everywhere.” Ha! Attention everyone, blog brilliance!

    (Can I borrow a squidge of that gift you have for humor, David?)

    • Berman

    Bagelry on 3rd around 30th has the BEST flat bagels. Only kind I eat in NYC. Yes Montreal bagel is great, just a different animal. Uh mineral. Whatever..


    • kooby

    Oops, just read some comments saying you don’t like Montreal bagels, but the pastrami is really worth tasting at Mile End. And seriously about Bagel Hole – I’ve had H&H and Essa, I used to live next to Absolute, and these are the best!

    • Theophylact

    The now defunct Jo Goldenberg’s (on the Rue des Rosiers) used to have wonderful, real bagels. But the recipe is preserved in Bernard Clayton’s The Breads of France, and they are the flat bagels you describe. We make them, and they’re the best bagels currently available in the US.

    • stacey snacks

    Love the Flagel!
    especially w/ some Russ & Daughters Nova and cream cheese! My favorite treat, and a little chopped liver on the side would be nice too! Glad you are enjoying your NYC vacation.

    • Lynnette

    They are called, “flagels” out in Huntington, LI, NY!! I love them!!!

    • deadlock

    That looks quite similar to a simit, I think, as someone mentioned above.

    • Rae

    This looks suspiciously like a Montreal bagel to me…


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