The everything bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese is a NYC classic.
In New York you can hardly walk down the street without tripping over a bagel place. You have the traditional silver sided coffee carts selling bagels along with their coffee in the blue paper cups with the traditional Greek key pattern. You have Starbucks selling bagels that have a stronger link with Thomas’ than they do with Brooklyn, and you have numerous places selling bagels & “Appetizing”.
As a non-New Yorker, I thought “Appetizing” as a noun was an “English as a second language typo” but, while it may have started that way, over the decades it has turned into its own thing. According to Wikipedia: Appetizing as a noun refers to both dairy and “parve” (neither dairy nor meat) food items such as lox (smoked salmon), whitefish, and cream cheese spreads. These foods are typically eaten for breakfast or lunch and, based on Jewish kashrut dietary laws, include no meat products (kosher fish products are not considered meat), and an Appetizing Store is a place that sells Appetizing.
So, since I love to try local delicacies, and fresh chewy crunchy bagels are definitely a New York delicacy, I have sampled the offerings at many a New York bagel place. I have tried the bagels at H&H Bagels Midtown East (all that is left of the famous H&H Bagels empire, once the largest bagel bakery in NYC), at Eli’s Manhattan (an off-shoot of the famous Zabar’s food empire), and at Murray’s Bagels in Chelsea. My personal favorite, however, are the bagels at
Pick-A-Bagel at 1475 2nd Avenue, between 76th & 77th Streets.
Like all good bagel places, Pick-A-Bagel’s bagels are made fresh on the premises, and if you go during busy times of day you will see them bringing out rack after rack of piping hot bagels. As a treat to myself, I often stop by Pick-A-Bagel on my way out of town to order one of their delicious bagel sandwiches. My usual order is “A scooped, toasted, everything bagel, with egg, extra-bacon, extra-crispy and no cheese.” (The practice of “scooping” a bagel was something that I had never heard of before I moved to New York, but if you are ordering a bagel sandwich it is great. They remove some of the fluffy interior of the bagel, leaving you with a perfect balance of crispy outside and delicious, salty fillings.)
As much as I love my bagel sandwich with bacon and egg, however, I decided that today was a good day to mix things up a bit.
So, I went with a real New York classic: A bagel with lox and cream cheese. I am happy to report that it was delicious. The toasted everything bagel was the perfect combination of crispy and chewy. The mellow flavor of the scallion cream cheese balanced the saltiness of the lox, and depth of the sesame seed complimented the fatty richness of the smoked salmon beautifully.
In addition to lox, Pick-A-Bagel has a full compliment of smoked fish from smoked whitefish, to sable, to belly lox, as well as a variety of cream cheeses, traditional sandwich fillings like egg salad, tuna salad, and even a hard-boiled egg white salad for those of you watching your cholesterol. They also offer breakfast staples like omelets, oatmeal, and fresh squeezed orange juice. (Only $4.25 for a 16 oz glass.)
So, if you find yourself out and about and looking for a nosh in the Upper East Side, or want to order in, check out Pick-A-Bagel. They deliver and their baker’s dozen bagels is really 14!