Bagel Breakfast

My Manhattan bagel research continues.

This morning I headed off to Murray’s Bagels on 8th between 23rd and 22nd.

A great old-fashioned interior.

Upon entrance you are assured that the bagels, but only the bagels, are Kosher.

Murray’s does not toast their bagels.

I opted for the Ordinary Form: plain bagel with butter and small coffee: $2.75.

This bagel is mighty fine, I must say. 

That said, I have so far been most impressed by the bagels at the little shop at the corner close to the parish house.  I enjoy all these other exempla but I find I am constantly comparing them to the little shop on the corner.

And so life goes on.   I am fueled up for another writing day.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Liz F says:

    What do you suppose is the secret to NYC bagels, Father? I’ve tried to make bagels once or twice and it make me curious why there are so much better than everywhere else. p.s. LOL on the Ordinary Form.

  2. Charivari Rob says:

    No cream cheese? No lox? Oh, the horror!

    Just kidding. Cream cheese and lox is a rare treat, even when I’m near a great bagel shop. I’m much more likely to have butter on my bagel.

  3. Liz: New Yorkers claim that the difference is the water.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Maybe Kosher bagels taste better????? Kosher matzo tastes better than non-Kosher…it’s the blessing…

  5. Bryan says:

    It is the water, and they boil them first.

    (NYC water has a high mineral content…). And, if it has Kashruth certification, then only pure ingredients sans preservatives are used…)

    I used to eat with great regularity, when I worked at ABC (and we had a large Jewish contingent in the engineering department…) up on the upper west side, at Fine and Shapiro’s restaurant on W72nd street between broadway and amsterdam ave. The matzoh ball soup and sandwich lunch special was to die for. And it was glatt kosher, so you had some confidence that it was properly prepared…:)

  6. basilorat says:

    Perhaps this applies to bagels too…
    But I saw on either The Travel Channel or Food Network, that the reason bagels and “New York Style” pizza cannot be exactly duplicated anywhere else in the country is because of the New York water.

    They did taste tests of pizza with water flown in from NYC and the blind taste testers from NY could tell the difference of which crust was made with NYC water and which was not, using the exact same recipes.

    BTW NY water comes from upstate…which is pretty good water.

  7. Animadversor says:

    Murray’s Bagels are indeed excellent, but I am curious now to learn the name of that little shop around the corner to which you refer.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Oh, boy-New York bagels! Yum!

    My mouth is watering-and my stomach is growling-just looking at them!

    And I love matzoh ball soup! Haven’t had it in a long time, however.

  9. mpm says:

    I do not dissent from the very high opinion expressed by other posters wrt New York bagels, honestly Jewish bagels, and I have I high opinion of the water in NYC as well. But…

    a) there are some fine Jewish bagel shops in nearby New Jersey whose bagels — and byalies (sp>) — are every bit as tasty as the NYC variety. The key seems to be non-franchised Jewish proprietors (who probably have trade secrets handed-down through their nanas);

    b) a good friend of mine, native Manhattanite (though with maternal ties to the deep South), who has lived in a NJ suburb for decades always attributes what he regards as abnormal attitudes of, or espousing of unusual causes by, his wife, “to the water”. “There’s something in the water here”, is his quote.

    It seems to me that “water” for a New Yorker, is something like “anima” for Augustine.

  10. GirlCanChant says:

    What would constitute the Extraordinary Form of bagel? There are rubrics, I am sure.

  11. lucy says:

    Oh, how this Californian transplant yearns for bagels from the east…

    Liz F – they are right, in NY, it’s the water. It’s sorta like San Luis Obispo here and their sour dough bread – best in the country (sorry SF).

  12. servusmariaen says:

    Wow. I used to work at the gym across the street from this church and would visit it often. I used to go to this bagel shop.

  13. doanli says:

    Come down South, Father, and I’ll treat you to a breakfast of biscuits and grits! (Or just go to Waffle House—hee hee.)

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Viva Casa de Waffle! :-D

    There is an old line Jewish community in Atlanta that’s been here since before the Civil War, and there are a couple of decent bagel shops. But there’s nothing like a NYC bagel.

    I think in the South at least you’re better off with two pecan waffles, hash browns smothered and covered, sausage (patties), grits, and a big cuppa WH coffee.

    Nom nom nom nom

  15. dhgyapong says:

    I prefer the skinner, denser Montreal-style bagels, coated in sesame or poppy seeds and baked in a wood-fired oven. We have a couple of places in Ottawa where you can buy them and the air in the neighborhood is fragrant with wood smoke.

    Alas, I can’t eat wheat anymore, so I have to limit myself to sometimes having a fake bagel made of tapioca and rice flour, but toasted with sesame seeds, it’s a reasonable facsimile.


  16. Charivari Rob says:

    GirlCanChant – “What would constitute the Extraordinary Form of bagel? There are rubrics, I am sure.”

    Rubrics? Form? Well, to put a slightly conservative-catholic-blogosphere spin on it…


    1. Prepared in the appropriate manner (as many described above) – Valid matter only, please. Taught by someone who made it their life’s work. Actually Glatt Kosher, if possible.

    2. Appropriate vessels – The rubrics require paper vessels. Bring it home in a paper bag (may be served on actual plates after that). Dine al fresco from a paper wrapper. It allows a certain ineffable balance of retention/venting of steam from your freshly cooked bagels.

    2a. Coffee – If you’re gonna have coffee, gotta have the authentic NY metro area takeout paper coffee cup:

    3. Spread – Cream cheese is the normative spread and shall have pride of place. (Oh my God! I’ve read too many Jeffrey Tucker articles at NLM!) Other spreads are also valid, but of varied appropriateness.

    4. Bread – As Latin is the language of the Church of Rome, so is “plain bagel” the universal bagel. Other “sacred languages” (IMO) would include poppy seed, sesame seed, egg, salt, cinamon raisin, the “everything”, maybe rye. Other good “translations” can exist – cheese, jalapeno, blueberry, etc… – but personally, I don’t feel as uplifted by them. Bialys would be one of the other Catholic Rites.


    Reading around the internet, I think that there are some in the conservative/traditional catholic blogosphere who would suggest a hierarchy of Mass (form) that might look like something along these lines (generic terms mine, I’m too lazy to look up the correct ones):

    EF Solemn Pontifical >> EF Sung >> EF low >> OF Latin ad orientem yeah, yeah, St. John Cantius >> OF Latin versus populum >> OF vernacular >> Lifeteen >> “Clown Mass”

    I would submit one possible bagel hierarchy (analogous, but not meant to suggest exactly-corresponding rungs) for consideration as follows:

    Bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomato, sliced onion >> Bagel with cream cheese and lox >> Bagel with cream cheese/lox spread >> Bagel with butter >> bagels with other spreads (margarine, etc, flavored cream cheese blends) >> bagel with really far out, slightly too-artsy, faddish cheeses or blended spreads.

  17. Nathan says:

    Charivari Rob: Excellent taxonomy. I would offer, as a sidelight, that “everything” bagels ought to be reflective of the Eastern Rites. There are some wonderful Anaphoras that up the everything bagel with lox, onions, tomatoes, and capers.

    I entirely agree that the plain bagel does most adequately reflect the noble simplicity of the Roman Rite.

    In Christ,

  18. Nathan says:

    And, as a Southerner, the hot glazed Krispy Kreme donut must be the Tent Revival of breakfasts….

    In Christ,

  19. Charivari Rob says:

    Nathan, glad you liked it.

    Capers! I was thinking of that for the lox/tomato/onion combo and convinced myself that I was imagining ever having seen it. Well, let’s just say that it’s an element that only gets added for occasions of highest solemnity/pomp/protocol – “capers magna”, one might say.

    Sounds like we’re on close wavelengths regarding “eastern rites” with everythings and bialys.

    “Noble simplicity” I like that. One of the analogs I meant to use was to simply gnaw on a fresh bagel (no toppings). Probably corresponds to low Mass or Mass without congregation.

    Alas, Krispy Kreme did not succeed in establishing a continuing presence in the Boston area. I usually only see them in NYC or NJ. (Hmm… Perhaps not “alas” – I have enough bad eating habits already) Come to think of it, I haven’t seen many tent revivals any further north than NJ, either – can’t imagine why.

  20. Nathan says:

    Charivari Rob: Capers magna!

    That is hilarious!

    In Christ,

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