Thursday, December 21, 2017
Never think about hot-from-the-oven bagels
Certain food is so good that you cannot seek it out on your own volition. You must not even allow yourself to think about it, 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 let myself to say that, even 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 returned 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."