Thursday, December 21, 2017

Never think about hot-from-the-oven bagels



     Certain food is so good that you cannot allow yourself to seek it out on your own volition. You must not to think about them, but wait to be prompted by others.
     Lou Malnati’s pizza comes to mind. I live a three-minute walk from the Northbrook branch. But for 17 years I have never, ever, said, "Let's get a Lou Malnati’s pizza." Because if I allowed myself to say that, once, I would say it every day, and then where would I be?
     As it is, I order it plenty, usually because my older son is home, and requires being greeted with Lou Malnati’s on his first day back. It's tradition. 
     However. He was just here in November, to celebrate Thanksgiving and attend "”Walkure,” though not in that order of significance. So when he came home for Christmas break, rather than order Lou Mitchell's, we decided to shake it up, and go to Pequod's, whose nearly-burnt deep dish is almost as good as the etherial Burt's Pizza.
     As it happens, Pequod's screwed up our order—they gave our pizza to another table, who discovered it wasn't theirs by beginning to eat it. After half an hour we were informed. That wouldn't have bothered us—things happen, particularly in restaurants. We were talking, catching up, having fun—but what annoyed us is that the waitress never came over to either bring the bad news or apologize. She sent the manager to do it for her, and never came back to our table for the next hour. I considered that bad form, and Pequod's dropped out of my heart—I decided to satisfy my desire for caramelized deep dish at Burt's and, should I ever feel tempted to go for a change of pace, to resist that temptation and still go to Burt's.
     But that isn't what this about. What this is about is what happened afterward. We had to go to Northwestern to pick up some paperwork for my younger son. On the way, it was suggested that we stop by New York Bagel & Bialy, 4714 Touhy in Lincolnwood, to pick up bagels for breakfast the next morning. 
     We did, ordering a variety. When I received the bag, I felt that some were still warm. Very warm. Fresh from the oven. Hot. 
     Of course they were. New York Bagel & Bialy is open 24 hours a day. The bagel place that never sleeps. There's always something fresh from the oven. We immediately divvied up an everything bagel. We didn't eat much—we had just had pizza and salad and fried mushrooms remember. 
    So we each had a quarter bagel. Just a couple bites. But that was enough. Hot. Fresh. Fantastic. The best damn thing I'd eaten in a long time.
     "Why don't we come here more often for fresh-from-the-oven bagels?" one of the boys asked. 
     A reasonable question. I had the answer.
    "If we allowed ourselves to do that," I said. "It would be all we'd ever do."



20 comments:

  1. So happy to see that today's post is about pizza and bagels, and not the latest awful news from the White House. New York Bagel and Bialy is the best, and those photos .... OMG .... I must drive myself over there. Immediately.

    SandyK

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  2. Hmm...bagel abstinence. A preemptive strike in the war on bagel addiction.

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    1. As I was writing this, I was thinking, "There's something addicty about this...."

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    2. For some of us, moderation isn't an option.

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    3. Just don't have too many with poppy seeds (my favorite), if that old wive's tale about drug tests turns out to be true.

      john

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    4. A feeble joke: people used to insist (and maybe still do) that poppy seeds would make one test positive for heroin. Not likely to matter for anyone that I know.

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    5. I looked it up on Snopes and was surprised to find that it's actually true. Here's a segment of their very long discussion of the matter:

      The Federal Bureau of Prison’s Form BP-S291(52) contains, as one of the conditions a furloughed inmate must agree to:

      It has been determined that consumption of poppy seeds may cause a positive drug test which may result in disciplinary action. As a condition of my participation in community programs, I will not consume any poppy seeds or items containing poppy seeds.

      As to how seriously the “no poppy seeds” injunction is taken, inmates in halfway houses have been returned to prison because they violated it and consequently failed their urine tests.

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    6. Poppy seed bagels almost caused my cousin, an Army lifer and a noncom, his career in the service. It was a mistake he did not make a second time. Served for 37 years.

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    7. I know someone who almost had her newborn taken away because of a positive test, her craving was poppy seed bagels.

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    8. Fortunately, I never actually had the bagel monkey on my back, poppy seed or otherwise, but it's important to have a sense of humor about life's cruel jokes. I willfully admit to getting my poppy seed fix from Portillo's hot dog buns.

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    9. Bagels are not really good for you, but on the subject of abstinence, my favorite quote is from A. J. Liebling, who was the very opposite of abstemious in matters of food and drink. "No sane man can afford to dispense entirely with debilitating pleasures; no ascetic can be certified reliably sane. When the Krauts saw Hitler drinking water in the beer hall they should have known he would be trouble."

      Seinfeld's dentist wanted to turn Jewish for the jokes. If it were a prerequisite, one could envision dong it for bagels.

      Tom

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    10. And speaking of Seinfeld, there was the brilliant episode that had Elaine failing a drug test because she ate poppy seed muffins.

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  3. Malnati's?

    Never had a hot bagel here, but grew up near Oak Park, Michigan - where most Jewish families lived in the 70's, as the temples were there. I watched the bagels being made in strip mall storefronts for distribution, and had my first hot, salty lifesaver of dough. Talked the nuns into selling bagels on Friday for a NHS fundraiser. We'd get a giant craft bag of hot plain bagels, sell them for 50 cents each and position it as a cultural experience. In point of fact, it allowed us to miss first period, and expose our classmates to deliciousness. We were heroes! Set the bar so high I still never order one at the local bagel purveyors.

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  4. There's no bagel place as good as New York Bagel on Touhy!
    I've been going there for at least 30 years.
    They even stayed open after cars have driven through the front windows. Twice!

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  5. Married my college sweetheart, moved to her hometown of Cleveland 25 years ago. But when we leave Chicago, our route home is always the same...Touhy to Lincoln to Peterson, with s pit stop for couple of filled bags from New York Bagels. Been going there for at least 30 years, maybe 40. Nothing anywhere else has ever come close.

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    1. We do the same on our way back to MI, fill up a few bags and freeze them. In our area, no one makes bialys, it's weird. The people at that shop are so nice, they bag up our orders for travel and even throw some extra bags in for dividing up at home. Love that place!

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  6. I used to live in Illinois, now I live in Wisconsin. I stop there every time we come to visit family and friends in Illinois. Love the mish mosh (everything) bagels there. Had some a couple weeks ago. Delicious! And the house made cream cheese is so good! They are, in my opinion, the best bagels in the midwest.

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  7. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good bagel to be had in Springfield? You guys in Chicago get spoiled rotten which is perhaps fair considering everything else you have to put up with. In the city of chains and buffets, the pickings aren't quite as good here.

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    1. Is there a Panera in Springfield? They do a decent bagel.

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