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It Just Bagels The Mind

Straight From New York Bagels

4550 Executive Dr #101, Naples, FL (second location in Bonita Springs)

Outside of pizza, there may be no greater source of regional pride and ethnocentric consternation than the bagel. This round mound of carbo loading is pretty simple. You take some dough, you boil it, you roll it some seeds or spices (unless you're one of those monsters who actually DELIBERATELY ORDERS a plain bagel) and pop it into oven and voila, Hebrew Heaven (at least that's how I THINK they are made. I'm way too lazy to google "How bagels are made" at this very moment). There is no place more associated with the bagel than New York and it's surrounding metropolitan area (with all due respect to Montreal and Jamie, just Jamie, you have poutine, own it), which for the sake of this article, we will also refer to all of it as New York. Suburbs of New Jersey? New York. Mall-infested Long Island? Beachy New York. Well-heeled western Connecticut? Fancy New York. As a matter of fact, the very common New York Italian/Jewish genealogical hybrid is often referred to as a Pizza Bagel. It's also called Matzohpizza, but that's because it rhymes cleverly with the home of Jerry Seinfeld, The Baldwins and Joey Buttafuoco, Massapequa.

As someone born and raised in the geographic center of Long Island, bagels are sacred to me. To me, the height of starchy delight was when mom would come home on Saturday or Sunday morning with a warm baker's dozen bag of deliciousness from Bagel Chalet accompanied by lox and cream cheese and scallion cream cheese spreads.

Angels with bagel faces

And no, they were not Swiss, and Commack, New York isn't known much for its apres ski but that's what the name was (They later opened a Pizza Chalet next door, to much less success). For what it's worth, there seems to be an inverse correlation between the ethnic name of a bagel joint and the quality of the bagel. Einstein's, Noah's, Bruegger's, all disappointing. Bagel Chalet was so much a part of my childhood that they even sponsored my 11-year-old Little League baseball team.

So now hopefully you understand my origin-story if I am being perceived as a bagel supremacist. Armed with this as my past, I now broach the topic of Straight From New York bagels.

To be fair, I've probably been to SFNYB about five or six times, usually after dropping off Boogs at golf, frequently joined by fellow golf dads Chet Champion, Liberty Midway, so this specific review is more a collection of experiences than one visit. It's also why I've completely annihilated Rule 15 of Our Rules According to US and am showing pictures of a garlic bagel with bacon, egg and American cheese (USA! USA!).

The place itself is your standard strip mall bagel shop. There's chalk writing on the wall, a deli case filled with your various and assorted cream cheeses and fresh juice. It also doubles as a sort of deli, but with bagel in the name, I ain't messing with no rye bread. There's also the matter of the staff, who are straight from central casting in the realm of bageldom. Bagel shop staff personal are usually a mix of polite, direct and "I can't be bothered to address you but here's your coffee." Please don't take this for rudeness, it's actually a matter of efficiency and preservation.

Bear in mind that when you are serving anything breakfast related, there's a good chance you have a bunch of cranky zombies who have yet to enjoy their morning coffee, so you're probably dealing with a slightly less patient clientele than those sitting down for happy hour. You need to be swift, moving from one customer to the next, one bag of bagels to the next to keep these people happy; sort of like the digital patrons in the 80s video game Tapper.

The initial test subject, the untoasted garlic bagel with salted butter, was about as close to a New York bagel as I've had pretty much anywhere outside of a sixty mile radius of New York. Chewy yet firm on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, fresh from the oven. Add that to a cup of steaming hot joe and fresh OJ and there's no better breakfast on earth (save for a fantastic southern biscuit, but again, for another time).

Confident that Straight From New York had achieved peak bagelness, the second time I tried to enjoy the elusive holy grail of the New York breakfast world.

No, it is not a's bacon, egg and american cheese, slightly runny, on a fresh, never frozen, never toasted, kaiser roll, wrapped in wax paper and finished with tin foil. Alas, the kaiser roll was not fresh and did not do this justice, so my holy grail remained somewhere else for the time being.

I've also tried this combo on my beloved garlic bagel and it totally works as well, but fair warning, nothing has that primal oomph as the toasted garlic and salted creamy butter mixed together.

I do have one bone to pick with Straight From New York. On their requisite bagel shop shirts they reference Taylor Ham. Whilst I have gone through great pains to explain that everything within 40 miles of Grand Central Station is New York, Taylor Ham (aka pork roll) is strictly a New Jersey thing...but if they keep putting out tasty bagels like this, they're forgiven for a gross, but forgivable geographical mix-up.

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