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Food Bagels!

Discussion in 'Tilted Food' started by Leto, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    We were in the midst if a lively discussion around bagels in the old forum - and I wanted to point out something to Charlatan because he was actually making his own in Singapore (how's that going anyways Charl?).

    Some of the discussion revolved around the favourite style of bagels, of which there seemed to be 3 or for main groups:

    1 ) Store bought mass produced and breadlike (Wonder, Dempsters etc)

    [​IMG]

    2) Regular coffee or restaurant style bagels. Around here they are called 'Toronto Style' but proliferate geographically and tend to be thick, soft and doughy on the inside with a soft crust:

    [​IMG]

    3) New York City style - not too different from the Toronto style in that it is thick with a soft crust, but seems to be a bit denser on the inside (do I have it right NYC-er's out there?). Coatings on these can be as covered as the TO bagel, or even moreso:

    [​IMG]

    4) The Montreal Style bagel: thinner and denser on the inside than the other styles, a harder (smooth) crust that has just a slightly sweet flavour on account of the dough being boiled in honey water prior to baking in a wood brick oven:

    [​IMG]

    What I wanted to perpetuate here in this thread in the new forum is a healthy dialogue on the relative merits and experiences with bagels. After years of not distinguishing and being satisfied with style #1 or 2, as long as it had sesame seeds on it, I was happy.

    But I am a convert to the Montreal style. Mostly because I found that these are enjoyable ontheir own. They don't need to be toasted or filled with cream cheese or whatever. If they come with sesame seeds, even better.

    It's just that they are damn hard to find. Only a couple of places here (in Toronto) can turn out something that comes close to the real thing. I found a place in Philadelphia that does a great job too:

    http://johnecclestone.com/2011/05/philadelphia-coffee-and-bagel-spot…or-new-addiction/

    But recently (and Charlaton - you'll be surprised to see) the local grocery started to carry MTL style. These are available at Loblaws:

    [​IMG]

    So -- have at it TFPers, what's your bagel poison? What do you like on it? Where do you buy them?
     
  2. Daval

    Daval Getting Tilted

    Are the loblaws montreal style decent? I wonder if my canadian superstore carries them?
     
  3. Lordeden

    Lordeden Part of the Problem Donor

    Location:
    Redneckhell, NC
    There is a small coffee shop/bakery that makes their own bagels, I'd say NYS if I had to pick one. Warm, fresh from the oven goodness.
     
  4. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    @ Daval: they seemed okay, just not warm the way you expect them when you go to The Bagel House or St Urbain. I saw these at the Vic Pk & Gerrard Loblaws. Maybe the Great Canadian Superstore also carries them.
     
  5. Bear Cub

    Bear Cub Goes down smooth. Donor

    NYS here, preferably an everything bagel. I've never seen/heard of a Montreal style though, but from the sound of it, it'd be up there on my list.
     
  6. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    any toppings? fillings? I found a great dill pickle cream cheese, where the store actually chopped up dill pickles and mixed them in. I try to do that at home now as well.
     
  7. Daval

    Daval Getting Tilted

    ooo...dill pickle cream cheese sounds great! I'm gonna try making me some of that!
     
  8. Bear Cub

    Bear Cub Goes down smooth. Donor

    Aldi sells a honey nut cream cheese spread that's whipped, so it's far less dense than typical. This stuff is so good, I could eat it straight out of the container (and often do with some Ritz crackers).
     
  9. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    little known fact (?) from the source of facts - Wikipedia:

    In modern times, Canadian-born astronaut Gregory Chamitoff is the first person known to have taken a batch of bagels into space on his 2008 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. His shipment consisted of 18 sesame seed bagels.
     
  10. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    London
    Gant's Hill, Near Ilford in the East of London. Thriving Jewish community and a bread shop to die for. Used to drive there and join the big queue of bagel lovers. They looked similar to the shop bought mass produced category. Thin and shiny sweet skin, where crunch turned to yield just one moment Before you thought it might, and just the right amount of sugar and salt that though they were sweet, it only took a little salted butter to tip their balance toward savoury.

    Rushed back home like the paper bag contained organs for transplant, and straight to the table to be eaten with stove-potted espresso. Oh man! I've not thought about them for years. I gotta have a bagel. Off to shops. Back soon :)
     
  11. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    See what I mean? Bagels bring out the passion in people. Zen & Daval are already going to act on bagels... and I bet Bear cub's gonna have his finger in a pot of whipped cream cheese before too long! :)

    I found some reading on the NYC & MTL mileau (from the Atlantic magazine):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2010/03/the-underdog-a-montreal-deli-takes-on-nyc/38061/
    The Underdog: A Montreal Deli Takes on NYC

    By Chantal Martineau
    Mar 26 2010, 8:41 AM ET Comment



    [​IMG]
    TMAB2003/flickr

    The setting is familiar: a sparsely decorated luncheonette where a diverse clientele—young and old, local and visitor, Jew and Gentile—munches on sandwiches. The sandwich is familiar, too: bright pink slabs of sliced brisket that's been rubbed with salt and spices and smoked for days, barely contained by two slices of rye. But the scene isn't of one of New York City's famed delis, and the sandwich in question isn't pastrami. This is Montreal, and the sandwich is smoked meat.

    Of course, nowadays, the setting could very well be New York. Noah Bernamoff, a Montreal native, has opened Mile End, the city's first Montreal-style Jewish deli, in Brooklyn. During the first few days, he sold out of the signature smoked meat by early afternoon. Two months in, the meat lasts until 4 p.m. on a good day, but dinner service is still out of the question.

    Recently, Bernamoff also started a bare-bones import service, bringing in Montreal-style bagels. ("Importing" consists of a couple of his friends picking up the bagels at midnight and driving them back across the border, drug-smuggling style, to arrive by 8 a.m.) These aren't the only Montreal foods to gain a following in New York. Poutine—that mess of fries, gravy, and cheese curds best enjoyed when you're too drunk to refuse it—made a splash on Manhattan menus a few years ago and now has a restaurant dedicated to it on the Lower East Side. Not quite a cuisine, strictly speaking, Montreal food is a motley mix of dishes that makes sense only if you know the city.

    When Bernamoff opened Mile End, people didn't seem to get it. The New York Post began an article about the deli with the warning "purists beware," and went on to quote a local deli owner on how the idea sounded newfangled, a quirky take on something inherently New York. But there's nothing newfangled about Montreal deli culture. The city's Jewish community is nearly as old as New York's; the first Jewish immigrants arrived around 1760. They settled in Mile End, an area just north of Montreal's Mount Royal, and the neighborhood after which Bernamoff's deli is named.

    It isn't such a leap that pastrami-loving New Yorkers might also have a taste for smoked meat. The two are similar, differentiated by the type of brining process smoked meat undergoes, as well as the length of time it's smoked. The spices are different, too, and the result is a redder, smokier, more peppery meat than pastrami. Bagels, however, are another story. Every few years, some local food writer discovers Montreal bagels and pits them against New York's in a taste test. New York bagels invariably win. Those from Montreal are smaller, chewier, closer in spirit to a bialy, and, interestingly, more like the bagels early Jewish immigrants brought to North America. But New Yorkers, accustomed to increasingly fat, doughy bagels, tend to think they're just wrong.

    "New York bagels used to be like Montreal bagels," Bernamoff often finds himself explaining. "But it's a laborious and expensive process to par-boil, then bake them, the way it used to be done. So, that was abandoned in New York, for convenience. Montreal bagel makers didn't deviate from the original recipe. David Sax, who you might know from his book, Save the Deli, is a friend of mine. He believes that Montreal has the most authentic deli culture because it's changed the least over time."

    So, where do bowls of fries, cheese, and gravy fit in? Bernamoff calls Mile End his dichotomous homage to both the Jewish deli and Montreal: a collection of the city's "greatest hits," its soul food. Nothing embodies this more than the "smoked meat poutine," a version of the above-mentioned mess topped with fatty bits of pink meat, the debris that has fallen away from the smoked brisket. And, yes, this is a common sight in Montreal.

    In 2007, poutine appeared—almost ironically—on the menu of a now-defunct establishment in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Today, it can be found in a handful of places around the city—particularly at TPoutine, America's first poutine restaurant. Owner Thierry Pepin, a native Montrealer (and male model), turns out poutine that would please any Quebecois. The key lies in the curds: morsels of un-aged cheese, salty on the tongue and squeaky on the teeth. Unlike haute cuisine that balances acidity and salt, poutine layers saltiness on top of saltiness, and the curds should be the saltiest: the sodium crown.

    Last Thanksgiving, another French-Canadian dish was introduced to Gotham. Tourtière, a meat pie traditionally served during the holiday season, is bursting with ground meat, bound by potatoes, and encased in a buttery crust. Heritage Foods USA's version, sold by mail order, was inspired by the pie at Au Pied de Cochon, an outrageously rustic meat Mecca of a restaurant in Montreal. Knowledge of the Heritage Foods tourtière quickly circulated, making it a hot-ticket item among New York foodies, who stay on top of trends as much as New York fashionistas.

    Aside from the recent crop of Tim Hortons coffee shops (from English Canada, not Montreal) taking over where Dunkin' Donuts shops once stood, this is the first time New Yorkers are associating Canada with particular foods. Poutine's allure is obvious—the gutbomb has been spotted on menus from London to Seoul. But something else may be at play, an inexplicable cachet associated with Montreal. It is a fabulous place, with a certain easy chic, but also a sense of comedy about it. It's foreign even to other Canadians. And this elusive quality (a je ne sais quoi, dare we say?) might be what makes the city intriguing to a certain type of New York eater.

    New Yorkers like to be in on the joke, after all. Fries smothered in gravy and cheese? A pie made of meat? A Jewish deli from Montreal? What could be funnier than that.
     
  12. Bear Cub

    Bear Cub Goes down smooth. Donor

    Leto nailed it. I just sucked down a bagel with honey nut cream cheese spread on it.

    The other thing I love about bagels - they're the perfect vessel for just about anything.

    Nobody wants a pizza sandwich. But a pizza bagel? Hard to top your favorite meats, cheese, veggies, and a little sauce on top of a bagel, then toasted to perfection.

    Deli sandwiches? Want to make it better? Swap your bread out for a bagel.

    Soup and crackers? Screw it. Dip a bagel in that bad boy instead of crackers, and use its doughy goodness to wipe that bowl clean.
     
  13. Daval

    Daval Getting Tilted

    Now I want a smoked meat sandwich. Where to find a decent one in Mississauga?
     
  14. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    You better start another thread Daval - Montreal smoked meat anybody?
     
  15. Zen

    Zen Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    London
    Well, got back home with my bagels.

    Off topic ... you know all these threads about controlling social networks to stop rioting and to 'curb' teenagers? Well, my bagels are proof that social networks can instigate action.

    I also reckon that Bear Cub should be given royalties for future bagels sold. I mean, that was a fine pitech! Heck, I liked it so much, I'll quote it.
    :)
     
  16. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pavés, la plage Donor

    Location:
    Temasek
    My love of bagels has earned me a reputation here. My local colleagues don't really eat them, so when they see me having one at my desk they ask about them (Singaporeans like to talk food, like Canadians talk weather).

    It was when I started making my own that people started to really talk. I would have laughed too if I'd ever seen anyone make them back in Toronto, but given that a decent one is quite expensive and the shit ones are even worse than the supermarket ones that Leto lists above, it was time to take matters into my own hands. I don't make them every week but when I do... they are wicked awesome.

    Now if only I could legally have some poppy seeds in Singapore... life would be complete.
     
  17. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    poppy seeds illegal? Come again?
     
  18. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pavés, la plage Donor

    Location:
    Temasek
    From Wikipedia:

     
  19. amonkie

    amonkie Very Tilted

    Location:
    Windy City
    So I take it this isn't something to put in your suitcase if we were coming to visit?
     
  20. DAKA

    DAKA Bent out of shape Donor

    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    So, it's Everything bagles less poppy seed, I guess that still leaves a bit of flavor...besides poppy seeds get stuck in my dental work...