Mon 26
Sep 2016

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An Unexpected Appointment: Bagel Taste Testing

homemade-bagels1

Not all appointments are planned in advance. This is the second in a series of posts about appointments that made a surprise splash in my schedule.

……………

The text message buzzes in at 10:30 am on Sunday as I sit in bed with a splayed cookbook plotting the morning’s meal.

“Want to test a bagel?” writes my friend Marc.
“Yes! Where are they?” I reply, my heart racing. “Can I bring a couple home for b-fast?”
“2 now,” I get as a response.
“Where?” I type anxiously.
“Bob’s,” he writes back.

I know the place: “Be there in ten!”

I brush my teeth, throw on a jacket and some gloss (you never who might run into in my hood) and run around the corner to pick up the special package at Bob’s Juice Bar, a neighborhood hot spot owned by my good mate and fellow New Yorker, Marc Grossman.

bob's-juice-bar-paris

For the past few months Marc has been testing bagel recipes for his third cookbook, a highly-anticipated (by me, at least) tome devoted to the rare art of homemade bagels.

This is a big deal, especially in Paris, where mislabeled rolls with holes are overpriced luxury items that don’t hold a crumb to the golden deliciousness at my bagel alma mater, Bake City Bagels on Avenue X in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

bake-city-bagels

Both fiercely opinionated about our bagels, Marc and I have shared many conversations about this project and the principal cornerstones to a great bagel: a slight toothiness to the bite, nice luster, moist, chewy dough that’s dense and springy at the same time.

My first appointment with one of his bagels: this is major for us both!

I whiz by Bambi, one of Marc’s employees, on the way down the block who says, “he’s got two waiting for you, hurry.” I quicken my pace thinking “how amazing is this, my first Sunday bagel in Paris, could this actually become a ritual?”

I enter the doors of the juice bar. Marc hands over the brown paper bag with the goods and says that he’s eaten six bagels in the batch and is confidant enough to let me try.

fresh-homemade-bagels

On my way home I pick up the fixings to complete the taste test: skinless, boneless sardines in olive oil, cream cheese (in this case, fromage à tartiner by Leader Price which I’ve been replacing the nearly-impossible-to-find Philadelphia cream cheese with for years) and a nice plump shallot (in lieu of red onion).

The recipe—cut bagel in half, smear with a cream cheese, then top with smashed up sardines and thin onion slices—was invented by my grandmother, Zelda. I had it ever Sunday morning at my grand parents’ house growing up. Entrenched in our family’s culinary DNA, it is, in my opinion, the absolute benchmark for bagel appreciation if not a stinky one at that. (Marc agrees so much that he’s included the recipe in his book).

homemade-bagels-with-creamcheese

Results: Definitely the best bagel in Paris! The golden crust was bubbly and slightly sticky (as it should be), had good tooth feel, but was giving on the bite. The dough was dense and bouncy with a mild yeastiness, but the shape was on the smallish side. Given the fact this is Paris, and everything here is petit in comparison to NY standards, I can definitely live with the resizing as long as Marc promises to keep the supply coming.

…………

Bob’s Juice Bar: 15 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris
Bob’s Kitchen:
74 rue Gravilliers, 75003 Paris
Update: The book is out, with my bagel—Le Zelda—featured on the cover. Order your copy online here, or better, yet, stop by the Juice Bar or Kitchen to pick one up.

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7 Responses to “An Unexpected Appointment: Bagel Taste Testing”

  1. cecile says:

    i’ve passed this place on my way to hum, bikini wax in the salon nearly opposite…! it wasn’t open yet but it caught my attention…mmm bagels, great to know there are good ones that are a 10mn bike ride from me, thanks again Zeva!

  2. suzi says:

    Okay, you say it was good, but how does it compare to New York Bagels??????? Miss Brooklyn??

  3. bruce says:

    Great news & article !
    I have a few questions : are they available every sunday? also, only at bob’s juice bar? or also the kitchen?
    thanks!

  4. jason says:

    Did granny really invent that method of eating bagels? I thought it was common knowledge!

    Here I am.. wondering why it was so hard to get sardines in New Zealand, having to settle for Lox.. never knowing that what *I* was sure was standard fare was simply unheard of by anyone outside our family.

    How great that you’ve got a local bagel place now! :)

  5. marc grossman (sometimes Bob) says:

    Though I am not yet at liberty to discuss the details, let me at least confirm the rumors: Bob’s Bagels are coming to Paris!

  6. Lindsey says:

    I can’t wait for Bob’s Bagels!!!!!

    This is similar to a recent post I did on my own blog about Kitchen! It’s my favorite spot!

    http://www.lostincheeseland.com/2009/10/find-of-week-kitchen.html

  7. The HiP Paris Blog » Blog Archive » New Couture Café Makes You Sweat for Style says:

    […] workshop which starts with an original pattern, is punctuated with tea and snacks prepared by Bob’s Juice Bar next door and ends with you walking away with a fabulous handmade […]

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