Bagels & Co- Upper West Side, NYC

The Egg & Cheese $4.50 
An onion bagel with cheddar cheese & scrambled egg.
Tuna Salad Bagel $7.00 
A garlic bagel with tuna salad filling.
Lox & Cream Cheese $9.00
An everything bagel with lox and cream cheese.

Back in chilly mid-February, I had two of my best friends come to visit from the UK. Somehow the pair of them had managed to keep the trip a secret from me for almost 3 months. On Christmas Day after passing everyone else their presents, I finally got round to opening my gift from Kate & Eve. Kate had driven me insane about this gift. From the moment she sent it, she asked daily if it had arrived and kept reiterating that I mustn’t open any of the packaging. 

The contents was a DVD, which confused me from the outset. Why would they send me a DVD when I have nothing to play it on? The next aspect to take into account was probably the more obvious- why have they sent me a DVD with a picture of their faces on the cover..? My immediate thought was that they had compiled a disc of our worst drunken pictures together. I cringed and then considered that it would probably be a full-length feature. Slightly worrying but also impressive. Inside the case was a homemade card with a pop-up airplane and flight details glued to the back. I was so baffled for just a second before the penny dropped and I burst into happy, astonished tears. Best. Present. Ever.

With 44 days to plan the ultimate 5 day trip for them, I prepared an exhaustingly fun (I think) itinerary with the objective of showing them the ‘real NYC’. Kate had been to NY the year before but had spent most of her time either in the back of a yellow cab, at the doctor’s office or at your typical touristy spots. This was Eve’s first trip to America and I didn’t want to fuck it up. 

Almost everyone who has come to visit us has been schlepped to one bagel shop or another. I’m slowly crossing names off a list that has been growing and evolving since my arrival last April. This time was even more significant because neither of my friends had experienced a true bagel. They’re a little thin on the ground in England and if you’re after a genuine New York style bagel, pfftt, forget it.

Our activities that day were taking us towards Harlem, home to some of the best fried chicken in NY. Kate had 3 food requests before coming over; bacon, corn dogs & fried chicken. This was the last of the trio to be found, consumed and enjoyed. We walked the length of Central Park, wandering from one side to the other, not following any particular path. I settled on Bagels & Co purely for it’s ‘halfway’ location on our 51 block (4km/2.5m) stroll. 

I’m super sad and disappointed to say that the whole experience was pretty unsatisfying. Despite my feelings, Kate & Eve both assured me that they were thrilled with their first legit bagel encounter. The service was lack luster which put a bad twist on things from the beginning. All the workers were chatting between themselves, in spite of it being plainly obvious that we were struggling to wade through their perplexing menu. It was all over the place, from bagels to quesadillas to fish salads to pizzas. Trying to explain to a newbie how to order a bagel is complicated enough, without throwing in a ridiculous menu and unhelpful staff members.

Somehow we managed and all came away with what we had tried to order. I opted for my traditional, Eve experimented with the tuna fish salad and Kate, being allergic to fish, went down the breakfast bagel route. My bagel was over-toasted,
slathered with enough cream cheese for two people and the smoked salmon was rubbery. Unquestionably one of the worst bagels I’ve eaten in NY. Kate demolished hers before we could even ask how it was and Eve said hers was delicious, especially the bagel itself. 

By the time they come to visit next, I will have found the unequaled, unrivaled and unsurpassed bagel! 

391 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024