Well, it was a bit of a surprise.
When paying for it at PAX, I almost tossed out to the cashier the arrogant and non-essential detail of how I was from New York and knew what real bagels are and I’d be keeping my eye on this one, yada yada yada. But so that you know, Dear Reader, I am from New York and I take my bagels seriously. That said, my ego needs to maintain a little hole in the middle that only humility can fill.
Delivered graciously to my table, the item in question had the height of a hamburger on brioche and the overall look of a cream puff. The kind my mom used to make for New Year’s Eve. Her cream puffs were celestial. One of my best friends tried that and also her apricot mousse–can you imagine the delight?!–and didn’t like either. From then on, I considered him a philistine.
I was afraid that this bagel had been steamed and not boiled. That would be a cardinal sin–the kind often committed by the cheap coffee carts along Manhattan streets in business districts. Those vendors buy the less-expensive steamed bagels from common breakfast fare criminals who, also, would not like my mother’s cream puffs or apricot mousse. They are, each one, infidels.
Actually, the cooked dough had a pleasant, solid bite to it.
But it was indeed puffier than I’d like. Not as robust as you might experience if you were standing on, say, Broadway and 108th Street in front of Absolute Bagels.
And, let’s point out an obvious something.
A bagel, by its nature, does not get its crown burned. Every time I’d bite into it, I’d smell its sad exposure to the negligent hand of its Lone Star State maker.
I’m afraid that Texas bagels will never quite measure up to New York ones. It’s in the water. (Same goes for pizza.) New York City’s water comes from the Croton Reservoir, and anyone who has lived in Manhattan in particular will tell you the tap water is divine.
So, New York’s got bagels and pizza.
But what I became convinced of by my Texan wife is that NYC does not have good Tex-Mex.
And she’s right about that.
Even if she weren’t.