from the desk of Colin Nicholls

Category: Bagels (Page 1 of 2)

Reviews of bagel bakeries around the world.

Kaizen

Getting better

OK, some background here: I am trying to master the “wrap and pull” technique, where you roll out a tube of dough and then loop it around your hand and pull back, rolling the loop inside out and joining the ends. It’s tricky, it takes practice, and I have 8 chances to practice per batch. Until recently, I was just forming a flattened ball and poking a hole and shaping that way, but the dough responds very differently in the oven and you end up mostly with buns with belly buttons.

A later batch

Tried something different this batch: Instead of letting the dough prove for a couple hours, then beat down, shape, boil, and bake; I tried proving the dough for 30 minutes, then beat down and shape, then let the shaped bagels prove for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

I used the wrap-around pull-through shaping technique… the bagels came out of the fridge looking very nice. Then I boiled and baked as per usual, flipping the bagels in the oven, at the 6 minute mark. 19 minutes at 400° in total.

They were good, but I don’t think the flipping half-way through the bake is really worth it. I may have reached peak bagel at this point.

The Great American Bagel

Terminal C, Cleveland Airport
5300 Riverside Dr,
Cleveland, OH 44135

They were out of plain bagels as we stopped briefly at Terminal C on our way back to Las Vegas, but I took the opportunity to sample a toasted sesame bagel. Extra points for the generous slathering of butter, which unfortunately rapidly soaked through the paper wrapping.

Grade: B-

Bagel Bagel

Russell Road,
Las Vegas,
NV

Three years in Las Vegas and only now have we discovered another bagel source. I guess we stopped looking after tracking down Bagels-n-more (see below). However, now we have found Bagel Bagel we can tell you that they are excellent, downgraded a notch only because the second time we went there, the bagels were just a bit over-done. I like a firm exterior but if I want crust I’ll get a bagette.

Grade: A-

Wholly Bagels

BNZ Center,
1 Willis Street,
Wellington, New Zealand

Much has changed in Wellington since my last visit, not the least of which a new chain of bagel stores have opened – and they are very good! It’s nice to see bagels making an appearance in amongst the plethora of coffee bars in this city. There are three stores in Wellington, but I only checked out the one in Willis Street. The bagels are very good, and they make good sandwiches and the coffee is excellent.

Grade: A

The Bagel Cafe

301 North Buffalo Drive,
Las Vegas,
NV 89145

This is a full on deli/restaurant, and if I were influenced by such things as the quality of chicken matzo ball soup, they would get an A. But I must be true to the bagels, alas. Their logo includes the motto, “Home of the Bigger Bagel” and unfortunately I must respond with the adage, “bigger is not necessarily better”. This is against my better judgement, mind you, because the idea of a bagel bigger than my head actually appeals to me.

In other words, I’m not docking them points for size, but they’re not getting any bonus points for it either. Overall they are pretty good bagels, but maybe a little too bready and not chewy enough. You could do a lot worse than picking up a dozen and having some chicken matzo-ball soup while you’re there.

Grade: B+

Harry’s Bagelmania

855 East Twain Ave,
Las Vegas,
NV 89109

These guys are hard to find, and when we finally went looking for them, we didn’t have time to stop and sample the goodies that were on display. We were there strictly for the bagels, ma’am.

Unfortunately, their idea of a bakers dozen seems to be 11. Yup, we were missing 3 bagels when we got home, and only one of them was Lisa giving in to her cravings.

I’m sure this was a genuine mistake and not common practice, but they still lose points because, unfortunately, their bagels are not the best. A little too firm. Still better than Einstein’s though.

Grade: C+

Sonoma Valley Bagels

Montgomery Village,
Santa Rosa,
CA

These were actually the first sub-species of bagel I ever decided to write about. I even bought one of their t-shirts because I liked the logo. This was many years ago. Since then, their logo has changed and possibly their bagels have, I woudn’t be able to tell. I suspect they haven’t changed much at all. They get an all-round good rating, with slight point deduction due to the kind of under-done feeling to the bagel, a bit doughy where one would expect fibrousness. Also, another half-point deduction because of an obvious manufacturing defect: I could see the join in the torus. More than just that, when I sliced one in halves, the join in the ring actually came apart, leaving me with one toasted ring and one toasted crescent. Not so good.

Grade: B

Bagels n’ More

E Tropicana Ave,
Las Vegas,
NV

Upon discovering that the bagels served at the Stage Deli in Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops were of exceptional quality, we enquired as to their supplier. “Bagels-n-More”, they told us. Later that week, while looking for the Guitar Center on Tropicana Ave, we drove right past Bagels-n-More, but were quick-witted enough to note its location for a return visit. Their egg-creams are not as good as those from the Stage Deli, but their bagels are the best yet from a Vegas source. Our freezer is full of them.

Grade: A

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