Saturday, September 5, 2009

- Once a New Yorker … On bagels

There are certain foods that only attain perfection in New York. This is true. Ask any New Yorker. Only in New York can you find the perfect pizza, bagel, or Kaiser roll. Ex-pats commiserate about their never-ending frustration as they try out the newest restaurant or food store. Ever in search of their bliss, never succeeding, they ponder the reasons why. Is it the water? The salt air? Being at sea level? What is it about New York and bread?

So I was worried, very worried, when I learned about the new recipe my son-in-law was concocting. There was no way it could ever hit the mark, but how was I going to tell him the bitter truth? What was he thinking, trying out his bagels on a native New Yorker?

I tried not to worry too much. Paul is nothing if not thorough. He researched everything you would ever need to know about bagel-making. He told me stuff I never knew. Did you know that proper bagels are boiled in a lye solution before being baked? I didn’t. Besides, Paul has made some amazing food for us in the few short years that we’ve known him: fried ice cream, grilled prosciutto pizza with arugula and truffle oil, smoked brisket with his own dry rub, sea scallops perfectly seared with asparagus on the side, fried chicken and waffles … together. Maybe he could pull it off. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be … polite.

On the appointed day, I volunteered to bring some contributions to the brunch, as I am wont to do: granola, yogurt, strawberries, and a freshly baked blueberry coffee cake. I needn’t have bothered as they went virtually untouched by the assembled noshers. Because the bagels were amazingly good: the surface glazed to a crackle, the texture just chewy enough, the flavor … perfect. As were the honey almond and bacon scallion cream cheese blends that Meg had whipped up. I was … wrong.

Sorry, no recipes to share here. Just this: anything is possible. Even New York bagels … in Austin.

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