Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company- Chelsea, NYC

Lox & Cream Cheese $13.50
Everything & Pumpernickel Rye bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato & capers.

For a second weekend within a month, we found ourselves in NYC on a Sunday morning. Despite the fact that we were heading to the Momo (Tibetan Dumpling) Festival within the hour, we concluded that there was indeed time to squeeze in a bagel on the way. Sticking close to Penn Station on 34th, we strolled through the damp, almost empty streets to Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company for our pre-dumpling snack.

This place was a new addition to the ‘bagel list’, having noted it on a previous weekend when visiting Murray’s Bagels, a few doors down. Like clockwork, we joined the end of a rather long queue without complaint, knowing that the efficiency of the New Yorker would prevail eventually. The queue was already threatening to spill out onto the sidewalk where unimpressed dogs were awaiting their owners in the rain. But inside, on a typical New York Sunday morning, it was a very different scene. Behind the counter, the 14 employees (that we could count) were doing their well practiced routine of dancing around each other with trays of cream cheese teetering on upheld palms. Clouds of hissing steam rose from the overworked coffee machine, accompanied by a chorus of exasperated sighs from the delivery drivers. 

Since Fall arrived, all the pumpkin spice flavourings have been brought up from the bottom shelf and dug out from their seasonal storage boxes. It seems that there is no escape for anything, whether it’s a latte, a pie, or even a bagel. I have to admit, I’m still a bit skeptical of pumpkin flavoured things after having only been living in the US for 6 months. In England pumpkins are almost always reserved for soups, roasted vegetables or baby food. In October I made my first pumpkin pie which was a difficult task seeing as I had never tasted one before and Sahar had never made one. Luckily we had our friend Emily staying, who being from the Midwest, is an expert in desserts and strange flavoured things. Two words, Watergate salad. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I highly recommend you look it up and see America’s twisted interpretation of a ‘salad’. 

The strange thing about the Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company is that they are not based in and have no locations within Brooklyn itself. My only guess is that they took their name from the myth that the water in Brooklyn is one of the sole reasons for bagels in NYC being superior to everywhere else. This fact has actually been proven to be false after a number of experiments were carried out to settle the argument. However, NYC’s water is fascinating for a completely different reason. In 2004 it was somehow discovered to be chocked full of microscopic shrimp called ‘copepods’. This caused quite an uproar within America’s largest Jewish community as shrimps are considered not kosher. Many people installed filters or bought bottled water until a high up Rabbi and legal scholar ruled it allowable. 

As for our pre-dumpling ‘snack’, It was the largest bagel we’ve encountered so far. In all honesty, we could of shared it if we had known it was going to be such a dough monster. It was a decent bagel, well priced for it’s size but there was just nothing special about it. The more bagels we eat, the more ‘average’ bagels we are discovering. Average bagels in NYC would obviously make outstanding bagels anywhere else.

I’m gonna go off on a tangent here and compare bagels to handbags. Stay with me, I know that was a strange statement. My mum always jokes and reprimands me for being super fussy when looking for a new handbag, but I tell her every time “when I see it, I’ll know!” Somethings telling me this bagel venture or whatever you want to call it; a waste of time, a weird thing to write about, a ticket in the fast lane to being a fatty. However, you are here reading about it and I reckon when I eat it, I’ll know!

286 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10001