New Yorker in Adelaide

Monday, July 17, 2006

First things first: bagels. I love them fresh; I love them toasted. I love them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, raisins, onions, wholemeal, egg, herbs, and even plain. I love them smeared with cream cheese, dressed simply with butter, topped with egg and cheese, stuffed with whitefish or tuna salad, layered with lox, spread with peanut butter, or sandwiched with meat and vegetables.

Now while I’m not particular about what you do with my bagel, I am incredibly sensitive about the bagel itself. In New York it’s gotta be H&H, preferably a bag of them at breakfast fresh and soft, accompanied by a tub of cream cheese and a side of Zabar’s buttery lox. But I’ll still eat them two days later, toasted, and spread with peanut butter or squashing together the heavenly combination of drippy-yolked egg and melting cheese. Most other bagels aren’t worth their weight in carbs, so I’ll skip them and order a muffin instead.

Sadly there’s no H&H in Adelaide, so my quest was to find a bagel that lives up to my standards. I taste tested a fair few, managing to convert my Aussie boyfriend to the bagel-loving cult along the way – next thing I know he’ll be eating them with vegemite for brekkie. I found that Australians do, indeed, make some good bagels, and some mediocre ones too (then again, the same can be said for Americans). A good bagel, according to my exacting New Yorker standards, should have some substance but shouldn’t feel dense or heavy. It mustn’t be dry, and it must give way to the teeth a bit yet still maintain its structure. Its flavor should be mildly yeasty, its aroma doughy and slighty sweet.

The bagel that met these qualifications best was from Kate’s Patisserie, at Stall 50 in the Central Market. I bought some of these, as well as some from Dough (too dry), with a slab of cream cheese and a side of Danish smoked salmon, and feasted on them for breakfast the next morning. From the moment the bagel halves popped out of the toaster and their distinct smell hit my nose I was transported to New York, but I was brought back to Adelaide by the much larger size of my kitchen. Here was the moment of truth: it looked like a bagel, it smelled like a bagel, but did it taste like a bagel? Oh yes. Kate’s delicate bagel cushioned my teeth and provided a perfect platform for the gently melting cream cheese and salmon. I will definitely be buying more of these.

Another successful bagel adventure was to Bagelicious on O’Connell Street in North Adelaide. It’s a bright little shop with friendly staff who whip up both classic and creative combinations between bagel halves. The bagels, which come in a dozen or so varieties, are fresh and soft without toasting, and the topping ingredients of similar quality. You can go vegan with hummus and veggies or top your bagel with assorted deli meats and cheeses, but the real sign that this bagel purveyor can be trusted is the presence of the classic lox and cream cheese bagel on the menu. I’m going back to try some more of their tasty sandwiches and indulge my carbohydrate craving in the only way proper for a New Yorker – with a disc of boiled and baked dough. Now if I could only find some greasy, cheesy, thin-crusted pizza…


  • Hi, are you still in Adelaide? I came across your blog when looking up Reuben Sandwiches! I'm a foodie too! :-0

    By Blogger Maria, at 11:17 pm  

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