Even though much of Florida could be considered Little New York (can you say Boca?), I admittedly did not grow up in the land of the bagel and did not know what I was missing until I moved to New York. You just can’t know and, in fact, I don’t even know how to put into words what makes bagels in New York better than bagels anywhere else. They just are.
On a brief side-note, some people say it is the New York City water, but I don’t believe that because my favorite bagel shop of all time was my local Bagel Boss in Oceanside when I lived out on Long Island. And trust me, while 2 of the 5 NYC boroughs are technically on Long Island (Queens and Brooklyn), they are not Long Island. Learn this now or get severely berated by a New Yorker later. It is your choice. I learned the hard way and just thought I should pass that pearl of wisdom on to you.
But I digress. When we were deciding if the move to North Carolina was right for us, I did actually think about the fact that I would be giving up New York bagels. I’m a loser, I know, but I did think about it and accepted it as a cost of getting back a few things that, in the long run, are more valuable to me. (Sanity, financial security, central air – ya know, the little things.)
And just as I knew I would be leaving the New York bagels, I knew there would come a time when I would be craving a bagel and I’d have to begin the journey to find an acceptable substitute.
That journey has begun.
I had my first non-New York bagel.
It was horrific.
I’m sad to say, my 8 years in New York made me more of a bagel snob than I ever could have imagined.
I ordered an everything bagel with plain cream cheese:
First, the bagel was much smaller than any New York bagel I ever ate. Some shops do mini bagels and it was about that size – probably about the size of the palm of my hand.
Second, who the hell puts oats on an everything bagel? Even Panera doesn’t do that.
Third, the texture was sub-par. There should be some crispness to the outer shell of a bagel, but this one didn’t really have that.
Finally, the flavor overall was just lacking.
I thought I was going to be prepared for my first bagel in North Carolina – I deliberately set my expectations to low – but sadly, it was even more underwhelming than I imagined it would be.
So, the search will continue. Maybe I will do a little more research on my next bagel shop so that hopefully I can have a better outcome. (The one I went to was just a place I see on the way to Jason’s office.)
Stay tuned for the next installment of Journey to the Center of the Bagel.