The big bagels stacked by Swedish artist Hanna Liden in Greenwich Village this week may not have the enormous real estate of the big banana or the big pineapple, but they do promote the big apple’s much contested local specialty with similar humour. Like any tourist icon, the boiled and baked New Yorker can be a delight or a disaster, and with plenty of competition in the field, I have usually chosen treats with better odds. However the Swede sent out subliminal suggestions with her sculpture, and just the idea that I could be missing out on something special prompted an immediate investigation.
Located on Avenue A in the East Village, Tompkins Square Bagels brings a youthful inventiveness to a market dominated by the traditional Russ and Daughters down the road from Katz Deli, and Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side. From 7 in the morning the place is buzzing – which seems a contradiction for Alphabet City’s sleepy starters, but there is good reason. Their bagels are outstanding, crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle, and they are made with such generosity the hole in the middle almost disappears. Then there are the flavours – blueberry, chocolate chip, oat, sesame, everything, and the piece de resistance – French Toast!
Bagels are back on the menu. But that’s not all. Their accoutrements are more colourful and creative than ever. Cream cheese is no longer just cream cheese. It seems that the new wave of bagels has inspired a kaleidoscope of flavours that rival an icecreamery. Walnut and raisin, pumpkin, cookie dough and wasabi. There is birthday cake, also know as funfetti or hundreds and thousands, and there is tofu for those who want cream cheese that isn’t cream cheese. Plain is still an option and goes with everything this summer, where thanks to Hanna, bagels are the toast of the town…
I ❤️ ❤️❤️ NY Bagels… Not sure I need the coloured cream cheese options, but I could be convinced to join a mission to find a favourite! If only we could find the perfect bagel downunder!
Hi Lee, if you are in Melbourne, the best bagels are at Aviv bakery in Glenhuntly Rd Elsternwick (true boiled, then baked). Second best is Huff bakery which has a wider range of flavours (in Koornang Rd Carnegie and has recently opened a second store in Mentone – I think). Third is the best known Glicks bakery which has several outlets (Balaclava, Malvern and Bentleigh – maybe others) and which wholesales through supermarkets. Their bagels are steamed rather than boiled (they developed the technology) so to purists is not a true bagel. It is also kosher (unlike the other two bakeries). Glad you enjoy these versatile treats.
Thanks Sandy for that essential Bagel info, unfortunately I am living in the West, but certainly on my to go list when next in Melbourne.
Thanks Lee. Glicks also have stores in Bondi Beach and Rose Bay in Sydney. I will let you know if their bagels are distributed to any WA stores.
Lee, I have also found that Glicks supply a couple of Coles stores in WA – Coles Flinders Square at Tuart Hill (08 9443 1422) and Coles Dianella (08 9267 6700). Not as good as hot from the oven but they are quality bagels and a Melbourne institution. Hope that helps.
Thanks Sandy, you are a⭐️Dianella
not far from me so will definitely check it out🌟do love your diligence and Bagel research skills. You deserve a Doctorate of Bagelism😊😄
Thanks Lee. I have eaten enough bagels in my lifetime to at least deserve an honorary doctorate! Hope you like them. In the worst event, almost any bagel is great toasted!
Welcome to the club! I have been venturing out early in the morning on this mission, and the biggest reward is that the bagels are fresh out of the oven and still warm…
Thanks for this post, Gabrielle. That bagel sculpture looks good enough to eat! Now I have a few more “most eat at” places next time I make it to the Big Apple!
Absolutely Sandy. The french toast bagel from Tompkins Square Bagels really is very good….
Thank you very much for the thought, care, and kind words presented in this piece. Great job 😉
I love NY bagels, my mouth is watering, thanks to Sandy the next time I am in Melbourne I will check out your suggestions.
Bagel lovers unite! They are so versatile and are great toasted.
oh, now I am craving bagels. Delish!