Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vodka Dumps Ginger in the Name of a Bagel

Everything Bagel – Tal Bagels
Tal Bagels

Vodka has been obsessed with Tal Bagels for months.  Well, ever since she found it.

At first, we erroneously believed that Tal Bagels was only located near the United Nations, which is just about the least convenient place we can think of going.  In truth, they are scattered throughout the city.  So when Vodka stumbled upon one a few months ago, she went in, sans Ginger, to order Rocco DiSpirito’s favorite everything bagel from the Best Thing I Ever Ate AT A DELI episode.
This Is What Happiness Looks Like
Always one to follow directions, Vodka ordered the bagel with scallion cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers.

And with her first bite, she was hooked.

The everything bagel itself is doughy and soft, and distinctly more salty than lesser-variety everything bagels (all traits that Vodka prefers).  Paired with the scallion cream cheese, it is a delectable combination of savory flavors (albeit all flavors that will make your breath reek for hours).

One thing that Tal Bagels does undeniably right is smear cream cheese on both sides of the bagel – a practice at which many other bagel shops fail.  Doing so allows the customer to pull the last bites of the bagel apart to savor the halves individually if desired, thus dragging out the devouring.
See the Cream Cheese Shmear on Both Halves?
The tomato topping is a revelation, and an addition that Vodka will never remove from all future bagel sandwich orders.  And the capers, which Vodka is not usually a huge fan of, bring a unique tanginess to the proceeding.

The bagel is perfect.

Finally, after months of waiting for Ginger to accompany her to Tal Bagels, Vodka took her visiting friend to the place and threw in the towel on the waiting game.
Vodka's Friend's Choice = Also Delicious (Cucumbers!)
At last procuring pictures of the creation, she decided to go renegade and post the review sans Ginger’s input.

Because if Ginger ranks this bagel as anything less than 5 stars, there is something severely wrong with her tastebuds.

*Update: Ginger has finally eaten the Tal Bagel sandwich.  This meeting of her mouth and this bagel was actually quite a feat, because for those of us on the lower half of Manhattan, all Tal Bagel locations are highly inconvenient (plus, the weather has been tremendously unsympathetic to both walking and subway riding).  But this bagel was worth sacrificing my sweat and vanity.

In a city with endless mediocre bagel options, this everything bagel is, as Vodka described, pretty close to perfect.  Chewy-in-a-good-way,  it is perfectly complemented by Rocco's scallion cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers additions.  Usually, I am insistent on lox with my weekend bagels, and while I love lox, I also love not being broke ($10 for a bagel with lox, you say?  No thanks).  But when I ordered Rocco's Tal creation, I didn't even notice its absence.  The fillings are salty, cool, and creamy, all stuffed into a warm (not toasted) bagel.  Perhaps I will return again tomorrow. 

Tal Bagels’s Everything Bagel: 5 stars*

*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate