Lunch: Enlightenment by Way of Murray’s Bagels

Probably my second-favorite thing about food (my favorite thing being the eating part), is the learning about food part. In particular, realizing the nuances, a fuller range of possibilities, to an ordinary food you thought you thought you had pegged.

photo-1This happened for me recently with the lowly bagel. I’ve never been totally wild about bagels: Too hard, too dry, too much bread. When I do get the stray craving for a bagel, it’s got to be fresh from a first-class bagel shop — such as Murray’s Bagels on Sixth Avenue — and stacked high with cream cheese, lox, red onion, capers, a squeeze of lemon. Preferably the bagel is toasted, not to revive freshness but to just to give it that thin layer of crisp, toast-like crunch inside. 

photo-2I’ve been bemoaning the lack (more accurately, my ignorance) of a good bagel shop in Midtown West, which lead me on an Internet quest, where I discovered that there is, in fact, a whole lexicon to describe bagels: “Doughy” and “large” are the opposite of “chewier,” “small” and “dense.”

Two good things came of this discovery: First, the light-bulb went off and I realized of the types of bagels that I’ve ever had, I have a preference and there’s even words for it. The other discovery is that now that I know the typical words used, I can use that establishment as a launching point into my own creative ethos. Standing feet firmly planted on “doughy” and “large,” I can start to play. And, as a bonus, I’ll never have to order a small, dense thing again.

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Breakfast: The “I Really Need to Find a Quality Bagel Shop in Midtown” Post

photoDuring the weekday breakfast rush, nearly every open food establishment in the city turns into essentially same thing:

A grill, that does some combination of egg sandwiches, omelets, pancakes and french toast; an oatmeal bar; a bakery case with pastries, bagels, croissants; and a refrigerated case with yogurt parfaits, fresh-squeezed juice, etc.

I’m getting a little tired of it. So to find an egg sandwich on an English muffin — as rather than a croissant, roll, or toast — at Teleon Cafe ($3.35) that I punched my fist into the air and shouted, “Yeesss!!

photo(2)Okay, I did not do that. But I was secretly very pleased with my discovery. Except that, well, it tastes pretty much like an egg, bacon, cheese and tomato sandwich. The English muffin was not different enough to actually be different.

I need to find a really good bagel shop in Midtown, the kind where once a week or a couple times a month I upgrade and get a really fresh bagel piled high with cream cheese, lox, red onion, capers; squeezed with lemon … like they serve at Murray’s, or Zucker’s. The English muffin is definitely just a band-aid to this issue (and not a very good one at that).

Lunch: Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Veritable smorgasbord of Village awesomeness from Murray’s squared (unrelated).

photo3photo2

Also known as “finishing off the good stuff” before S. leaves for Geneva.

Round one: Bagels and belly lox from Murray’s Bagels, toasted, smeared with scallion cream cheese, gigantic capers, sliced red onion and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice.

Round two: Domestic prosciutto (from Canada) leftover from Murray’s Cheese Store spree the other night and some organic heirloom lettuce leaves from Earthbound Farms — never had this mix before but it is just stunning.

Finished up with sharing a Murray’s Munchies “Ring Ding.” Yep, you guessed it, Murray’s spin on the Ding Dong, that classic treat from Hostess, the makers of the Twinkie. As a child I’d always preferred Little Debbie’s creme-filled chocolate cupcakes. I’m fairly certain it has something to do with the looped scroll of white frosting on the top.

For a detailed history of the strangely compelling saga of the Ring Ding versus the Ding Dong, read up here.

COST: complicated.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes