schmeared to perfection.

22 Jun

I’m pushing two weeks without a bagel and cream cheese and day 10 is starting to kill me.  Maybe because I just grazed my kitchen for dinner in a recent attempt to save money and calories before my upcoming vacation to France (donations accepted at the door), but two pieces of cold chicken, leftover rice, and a scoop of peanut butter later, I’m craving GOOD food…with cheese.

My last bagel was Sunday June 12th from a Jewish deli on the upper east side of Manhattan. Pumpernickel (although it tasted like rye, but I don’t like to argue) with chive cream cheese and two slices of tomato. Why do I even try to fool myself with bagels from any where else besides the big apple? Loaded with flavor, this is my Sunday brunch bliss.

I started to become a minor bagel snob in the fall when I drove to Dunkin Donuts instead of my weekend ritual of walking to one of the cafes in Fairmount for my weekend breakfast. As reminiscent as I like to be about my suburban college experience, DD multi-grain bagels are cardboard.  And now, I am almost balking at the thought of getting a bagel with homemade veggie cream cheese from Mugshots tomorrow morning…I’ve already ruled out the office cafeteria.

Here is Alysea’s criteria for a quality deli bagel.  It’s almost all in the cheese:

  1. Bread squishiness. Fresh bagels should be soft, malleable and toasted into a circle of warm chewy happiness.
  2. Amount of cream cheese. You don’t have to eat it all, but I appreciate a thick layer that at least says, “You know you want to.”
  3. Pre-spread cream cheese. Not that I’m lazy, but toasting and spreading are Monday through Friday activities, and this is Sunday, the day of rest.
  4. Variety.  When the cream cheese flavors are enough to look like a well-stocked gelateria, you have arrived at destination delicious.

From my Fairmount research, I would rate Rybread as top neighborhood supplier.  Lots of cream cheese, fresh bagels and a good selection of both breads and spreads. As much as I like Mugshots, their bagels could use a little more loving – more cream cheese and softer bread.  And The Flying Saucer Café …they have good coffee.

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