Russ and Daughters
More NYC coming at you! And what is more quintessentially New York than bagels? In Australia, I feel we are really lacking in not only our bagel access, but our bagel appreciation. Perhaps this poor bagel appreciation is, in fact, due to our lack of awareness, which is in turn a result of our lack of access. It's a vicious cycle.
Until I was in New York this past August, I did not truly understand the appeal of the bagel - again, I blame this on poor bagel access, or rather, poor access to quality bagels. Perhaps I should create a committee devoted to this single task...
We don't really 'do' bagels here. They're a novelty, when they really shouldn't be. Vicki, Peta and I visited Russ and Daughters in the Lower East Side for a bagel fix one morning. Russ and Daughters have been selling beautiful smoked fish, caviar and other top quality goods for almost 100 years. It's an institution in New York, and boy was it a treat to visit their store.
I ordered a Plain Bagel with Cream Cheese and Smoked Irish Salmon. It was, quite simply, pure bagel brilliance. I had no idea that this delightful, doughy, risen form could be chewy, dense and light - all at the same time. Even as I type, I cannot believe it to be true. But it was. That's the beauty of a good bagel. And the toppings were utter perfection - the best smoked salmon I've ever sampled.
I now know what a true bagel means. It means comfort, satisfaction and joy - a new association with a familiar sentiment, similar to my feelings towards vegemite toast. I quite fancy that.
We sat outside on a little bench and delighted in our fresh bagels. Good bagels. Proper bagels. My appreciation started here...