Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bagel Me

Breakfast. It's allegedly the most important meal of the day. But for most of us in New Orleans, breakfast is an afterthought. Scarfing down a banana on the drive to work or eating a granola bar at your desk is not exactly the apotheosis of a fine morning meal. And on the weekends, many of us find breakfast to be so inconsequential that we sleep through it, opting instead for brunch - an entirely different animal at which we thrive. But in the springtime, after the busy, hangover-laden months of football and Carnival have passed us by, our weekends open up and we are more inclined to rise and shine, stop and smell the roses, read the morning paper and have a proper breakfast.

Bagels have never been an integral component of a typical New Orleans diet. My earliest memory of eating bagels are the dry grocery store versions whose cut surfaces were as rough as sand paper. Things for the most part have not improved with time, as anyone who has eaten a bagel at a CLE or hotel continental breakfast can attest to. And, I loathe thick thick gobs of cream cheese.

But recently Artz Bagels has me singing a different tune when it comes to the round, boiled and baked breakfast staple. Northeastern transplants, the team behind Artz aims to bring the quintessential bagel to the Big Easy. A New York native in my office has told me on multiple occasions that Artz is the only worthwhile bagel purveyor in the city - good enough for him to warrant weekly trips to stock up on breakfast supplies.

I wasn't born and raised in New York, but I know delicious when I taste it. The bagels at Artz are excellent, with a chewy crust that does not require an extra set of molars for consumption. Bagels are 3" or so in diameter and come in a wide variety of flavors – asiago, salt, onion, garlic, and everything. The breakfast sandwich ($4.25) takes your pick of bagel flavors and fills it with a fried egg, your choice of cheese and pork product. Flavored cream cheeses abound, including creole veggie – an ingenious use of the trinity. Plain bagels are $1.09; add a $1 for a schmear.

Artz can be a bit difficult to locate for first timers. The Magazine municipal address is deceptive, as the entrance is halfway down Ninth Street. The dining room is white, bright, and spacious, with plenty of room to spread out with the morning paper. Definitely a reason to add breakfast to your Saturday or Sunday morning routine.

Artz Bagels - Birdie
3138 Magazine Street
(504) 309-7557
Open Daily: 7am - 3pm


Anonymous said...

this is the ONLY bagel joint in town.

Peter said...

Legit bagels, but far too small. Still the best option in town

Rene said...

Reminds me of an expression.

"I once cried because I only had one bagel joint in my town, until I met a man with no bagel shops in his town."

RBPoBoy said...

If they opened at 6:30, I'd be a regular.

Kevin said...

Peter, if the bagels I got at Artz were boiled, they didn't do a good job of it. Even the one in the picture you posted doesn't have the glossy finish you see on a real boiled bagel gets. It looks like a Kaiser roll with a hole in the middle.

Minority voice here - and maybe I was expecting a lot, because Artz has a great rep - but I thought the bagels there were mediocre at very best.

Peter said...

Other Peter,

I agree with you that Artz bagels seem to be small in diameter. I usually eat 2 though.


I talked to the counter girl when I went to Artz, and she confirmed that they boil their bagels as part of the process. But that's not to say that they "do a good job of it" as you suggested.

I do recall that my everything bagel was not as glossy as the salt bagel that I took home (and then proceeded to eat in the car 5 minutes later).

Perhaps you know your bagels better than I do, which would not be surprising given my lack of experience.


Rohan2Reed said...

The secondary characteristic of a NYC bagel (behind the ubiquitous mastery, practice and heritage of preparing them properly) is the water they're boiled in. I have eaten at Artz half a dozen times and never been as impressed with a bagel as I was the times I ate them in NYC (Russ & Daughters is my personal favorite). So I ask.. what water is Artz using? Because it seems that should be the only problem for a Northeast-raised proprietor.

Jones said...

Bagel fans, while I share a similar sentiment with Peter(s) and have been somewhat disappointed with their availability of my favorite 'everything' bagel, I still applaud the efficiencies in place. They get me in & out promptly with a good, not perfect, breakfast option. For what it's worth, Tartine in the riverbed makes their own bagels and I highly recommend everyone try them at some point. Also, Danny-boy over at our beloved Stein's Deli kicked H&H to the curb after a decline in quality. Word is he has a solid replacement. Can anyone attest to said rumor?

Kevin said...

Peter, did you see the story in today's Lagniappe? It made me want to try Laura Sugerman's bagels... they looked really good.

Laurel Street Bakery is a nice place, but the basket of bagels in the photograph just looked like rolls.

Grammatologist said...

Damn, what a fucking disappointment.

I went to Artz with high hopes, and left with a dozen pseudo-bagels.

Too fucking soft on the outside, too mushy on the inside. Underbaked, undersized, definitely didn't taste like the real thing.

On a scale of 1-10, I give them a 3. Maybe a 3.5

On top of that, they don't sell lox. Counter girl gave me some kind of excuse about it costing too much to sell. Say what? Just charge the price you need. A bagel store that doesn't sell lox? Bullshit.

Bogey, dog, bogey. If that.