When I grew up, my local bakery was a Zaro's. (That we had a local
bakery at all makes the point.) Bagels were one of my early
introductions to the concept that good food fights back. When
Dunks had their campaign "It's round, it's got a hole in it,
we can do that" I figured that summed up the problem right there.
Having said that, I've found Bruegger's to be the closest
to the real thing among the offerings around here. And their
bagels get stale after a day or two, a sign of real food.
I think if my ancestors had known about sun-dried tomatoes
they wouldn't have disapproved.
- David Chesler <che...@post.harvard.edu>
Yeah, I don't have any real objection to the savory add-ins like
tomatoes, basil, etc., for novelty. I do draw the line at fruit, though.
But Zaro's was a neighborhood bakery? The same Zaro's that has filled
every nook and cranny of Grand Central Station? You mean they actually
started as a bakery and not a marketing plan? Cool! I never would have
guessed that. (Their bagels are pretty good, but not what I'd call
great. Maybe they were better when you were a kid.)
Having grown up in Brooklyn, NY, I feel exactly the same way you do - I
find Bruegger's to be the closest thing around to NY bagels. I said
that a few years ago in this forum and got shouted down! I'm glad I'm
not the only one who feels that way.
I lived in a planned community, built in the late 1960s. One of
our bakeries was Zaro's. I think at that time they were a chain
of a few stores. The local store was an actual bakery: the stuff
was made on the premises, probably pretty much from scratch. They
also had a soda fountain: made great vanilla milkshakes (they'd
be called frappes here.)
If we wanted bagels, or rolls, or a loaf of seeded rye bread,
that's where we'd go. In a pinch one could get buy cookies
and cakes from there, but IIRC those weren't considered the
best quality even among store-bought cookies and cakes.
As far as I know, bagels weren't a trendy food, it was
just what you ate for breakfast if you weren't into Danishes,
or what you ate for a brunch that included smoked salmon and
I think Brueggers is to NY bagels as Bagel Plus to the Brueggers - I'm
dropping a step down everytime. At this rate, I'll soon be punching
holes in wonder bread for a bagel....
Aside from Iggy's bagels, which are in a class by themselves, I think
Bruegger's also the closest thing to Montreal bagels, which is arguably
(oy, such arguing) as canonical a definition of Real (tm) Bagels as has
existed since the end of Jewish civilization in Poland.
Having said that, I really dislike their cream cheese. What in the world
is "direct set" cream cheese anyway?
Jerry Natowitz - jfoonatowitz@rcnfoocom foo -> dot
Me too. Actually, the last few years have been relatively good to
me, as I find Einstein Bros. also to be pretty acceptable. When we
lived in Chicago there was a trendy place on 53rd St. near our
apartment called Jacobs Bros. which also made passable bagels.
"Pacific St., between Bond and Nevins"
> Having said that, I really dislike their cream cheese. What in the world
> is "direct set" cream cheese anyway?
Ah, while I have no idea about direct set, I can say that Brueggers'
jalapeno cream cheese is the perfect compliment to a bagel in the
The only thing that comes even close is the salsa cream cheese that
(the one in the area remaining) Einstein's has.
>The only thing that comes even close is the salsa cream cheese that
>(the one in the area remaining) Einstein's has.
Where is this one remaining store?
There used to be one in Malden, and I loved it.. great sandwiches, good
service, nice selection of baked products, juices, coffee, etc. It left at
least a year ago, and nothing's replaced it.
I would guess that it's fresh-made cream cheese using a combination
starter culture/rennet. Normally, cheeses, including cream cheese, are
made by first adding starter culture (lactobacillus) to digest the
lactose into lactic acid, and get the acidity of the milk up. That
usually sits for a day before the rennet, which solidifies the casein, is
added, and then it sits for another day before draining, pressing, and so
If you go to www.cheesemaking.com (it's the New England Cheesemaking
Company, so it's even on-topic), you will see for sale a number of
direct-set cheese starters. Basically, you add everything at once, so
the rennet and lactobacillus work in parallel instead of series. I don't
know formally what the final differences are (though I can guess about
things like acidity and lactose content), but obviously it's not going to
be exactly like store-bought cream cheese.
But it sounds very much like they make it themselves, and you've got to
give them credit for that, even if the result isn't what you're
If I had to guess, I'd say they were using the direct-set Fromage Blanc
culture from the above web site, and draining it to the consistency of
cream cheese instead of letting it go to boursin, for instance.
p.s. My apologies if this messages shows up twice. I took the newsgroups
list as written, and I think ne.general.selected has acted as a black
hole for this message. After a few hours, I decided to repost.
> Where is this one remaining store?
Apparently there are at least two. One person posted about Galen St in
Newton Corner. The one I was thinking of is on Montvale Ave just west
The one on Rt 1 sb just south of the plaza with Wild Oats recently
Ron Newman wrote:
I partake at Einstein's at Drum Hill, in Chelmsford, next to Boston Market
" I work for the 'ILEC' .... stuff happens ! "
> I got bagels at the Porter Square Bruegger's, until I moved. I now
> have to get bagels at the Bagel Plus Cafe at Park Street (convenient,
> since I have get out and change to the green line anyhow).
Bagel Plus is across the street from Finagle; is there a reason
you prefer Bagel Plus?