Just saw this article in my email today and it made me start to ponder my recurring bagel question - "Does anyone make good, authentic bagels anymore?"
I was in NYC over the holidays and I asked my brother-in-law if there was a good bagel place in the neighborhood and he threw an insult by saying that no, what you can get in his neighborhood is more the equivalent of Philadelphia bagels - tasting more like bread than a bagel.
I have to say I haven't had what I would consider a REALLY good bagel in a long, long time. When I worked in Center City in the late 80's/early 90's I used to stop at a cart on my way to work every morning and get a bagel. It was smallish, pale in color, dense, and had a very chewy consistency. Somewhere along the line bagels lost the dense, chewy attributes, became soft, and started tasting like bread - even in New York as far as I can tell! My husband who is from Manhattan says that the old fashion bagels from his childhood have also disappeared. My brother-in-law seems to think that H&H bagels are just fine but thinks Philadelphia bagels are somehow different - I think they taste like bread. So it seems that everyone has a different idea about what a bagel should look like and taste like.
So what does Philadelphia have to offer? I've had the bagels from "Fill A Bagel" in Jenkintown (my 'hood now) and know that a lot of people like them but I really haven't ventured into the bagel scene, city wide. Fill A Bagel bagels are okay and they make a great toasted sandwich, but they don't compare to what I think of as a good bagel.
I guess I would like to know what is considered a good bagel in Philadelphia and where do I find them. And then I would like to know what sets a Montreal bagel apart. I've read reviews but as with other bagels, it seems that some people like them and some don't. Should we be excited about having them available in Philly?