This article has a companion piece stating an opposing opinion. Find the companion piece here.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have a hit out on me after this piece, but it has to be done; Bagel and Deli Shop (B&D) sucks.
The famed late-night shop next to Skipper’s Pub on High Street is a staple of current Miamians and alumni alike, known nationwide by former students for its signature plethora of bagel sandwich options.
The only problem — the food that it serves? That’s not a bagel.
Merriam-Webster (and every New Yorker and Pole ’round the world) defines a bagel as “a firm doughnut-shaped roll traditionally made by boiling and then baking.”
Let’s – real quick – break that down.
First up to bat: a FIRM doughnut-shaped roll. Firm! Notice it does not say firmer than cotton candy, nor does it say firmer than a doughnut itself, but firm. And, Miamians, friends and enemies, B&D’s bagels are not firm.
Maybe you feel that bagels which you deem “firm” are too difficult on the teeth, rendering your poor mouth aching after eating that horrid treat New Yorkers have been nagging on about for decades. But, maybe, just maybe, you’ve not had a proper bagel before.
I promise you that a true bagel will never break your teeth.
In fact, a good bagel allows your pearly whites to sink smoothly into the dense, pillowy meat of the roll before tearing off your bite with glee.
Let us move on, shall we?
Next up is the following: “traditionally made by boiling.”
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Ah ha! Ah ha! Ah ha, say I!
While Bagel & Deli does boil their bagels to originally cook them (of course), this shop that so proudly touts its bagels (it’s quite literally in the name) then deviates from the core function of bagel-making. To prepare them, they steam the godforsaken “bagels.”
So proudly do these hooligans steam their bagels that they discuss, on their FAQ page, the act of you, the customer, having an interest in purchasing a steamer to make these soggy bread circles for yourself for the low cost of about $1400. Though, they suggest, instead, that you simply spend that money to travel from wherever you end up to Oxford and buy one of theirs.
I simply cannot stress enough how far they have strayed from the fantastical product Polish Jews invented centuries ago.
It’s gross, actually. Yes, you know what? It’s gross.
I said it.
Maybe the names are fun. Maybe the content of each sandwich is stellar. Maybe the steamed “bagels” won’t burn your poow wittle mouf nor burn your wittle tongue.
It simply isn’t a bagel.
I have no problem with the concept of generational memories: passing down experiences from father to daughter, mother to son, grandparent to grandchild.
In fact, I quite love it.
Having a place you used to frequent during the “best years of your life” and then giving that experience to your child creates both a bond and an unparalleled déjà vu.
But wouldn’t it be so much better if they just boiled their bagels and left the steaming part out…?
Steamed bagels directly create a soggy, far-too-soft, thin, flavor-poor and unsweet doughnut that ultimately depicts a product completely dissimilar to a proper bagel besides in shape.
I can get past the overused Grateful Dead bear logo that burns my eyes as I pass every fourth student on campus. (Look at me, Mom! I did learn to be nicer in college!)
I even quite like the logo, the name and the quaintness of its slim form factor next to the equally popular restaurant Skipper’s, forcing the famous pub to put up the “No Bagels” sign next door.
Genuinely, it makes me feel at home.
I know it does for most of you, too. And, to be completely honest, I probably wouldn’t change it for anything else.
A staple like B&D, good or bad, is a staple nonetheless, and while I might feel that its name is wildly misleading and its products lackluster, that means nothing for how you should remember your drunken nights years from now, looking back and enjoying old memories from good times.
But no, really, those things aren’t bagels, I’ll sign my death certificate right now.
Those things. Are not. Bagels.