Brunch and Bagels
Sunday is inextricably linked to brunch for many people. So I’m going to try and switch things up a bit on the FLB and see what happens when I write about some classic brunch foods and related topics on Sunday.
I’ll find some other spot for wine in the weekly rotation. There is one wine post coming up that I’m very excited to write, but before I do I need to actually taste the wine that recently arrived from California. Despite my enthusiasm, I’ve been uncharacteristically restrained, since my stuffed nose would befoul the tasting.
Speaking of brunch, just yesterday Alan Ilagan posted a picture of a bagel he was about to enjoy in Boston. Now, I’m only singling him out because ordinarily he has good taste, and I know he can take a little constructive criticism.
But this bagel is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
And if you are going to consider eating bagels for brunch either today or anytime in the future, it’s important that you understand exactly what is wrong with this picture.
It’s been a long time since I published my initial bagel tirade. So perhaps Mr. Ilagan had not read it. You may not have either. I encourage you to give it a read.
There are two ways to eat bagels:
1) Whole and intact, as one might a pretzel
2) Like a sandwich, except served open faced
A good bagel has a thick exterior crust and a dense chewy center, by definition. If you doubt this, then go back to my original post on what makes a good bagel.
Good bagels make for lousy sandwiches. First, they give the sandwich too much height. Then, thanks to the one two punch of its thick crust and dense interior, each and every bite has the unfortunate result of squeezing the filling out the sides of the “sandwich.” Finally the infernal thing will be impossibly chewy.
If this were a good bagel, Alan’s egg patty would be in danger of being crushed and sent over the edge. But if it were a bad bagel, it’s no different from just having a donut-shaped bun for your breakfast sandwich.
It’s hard to tell from just a picture…
Oh wait, is that dried fruit? Please, God, tell me it’s not a blueberry.
I realize this is probably from some fast-food bagel place, and the pre-cooked egg puck can’t be tampered with. But putting a slice of cheese to not quite melt, but kind of soften and get oily on top of the hot egg, is also upsetting.
You want cheesy eggs on a good open-faced bagel, be my guest. But the cheese gets cooked in the eggs. And really there should be onions—deeply caramelized onions—in there as well.
But I digress.
My uncle just recently visited from New York City and he brought with him some good bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. I happened to have some tomatoes which I sliced more thinly than usual (given the lateness of the season) and some red onion that I sliced even thinner. Both came from the CSA.
We actually didn’t have this for brunch, but for dinner. And it reminded me once again that this classic combination is one of life’s great pleasures. Even with a slightly stuffed nose, it’s a powerhouse of textures and flavors.
The only thing that could make it better would be a glass of sparkling wine.