There's a New Food Obsession in Los Angeles: Bagels

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery's poppy seed and salt, sesame seed and everything bagels
Brooklyn Bagel Bakery's poppy seed and salt, sesame seed and everything bagels
Rachael Narins

It's almost enjoyable when people who don't live in L.A. make sweeping proclamations about the way Angelenos eat. Because they always say we love to eat healthy. That is a dirty lie. 

As a city, we're always going after one nutritionally dubious dish or another. We're currently in the throes of a Southern-inspired doubleheader: fried chicken and pimento cheese. So that's protein and fat covered. Where are we getting our carbs?

Bagels! Is L.A. finally catching up to New York on this? Or better yet, are we creating our own version? 

This is the common origin story of the bagel: In 17th-century Poland, King Jan Sobieski helped save Austria from Turkish invaders. To celebrate the horse-riding king, a baker fashioned a bread product in the shape of a stirrup and called it a beugel, the Austrian word for stirrup. But, of course, bagels are not stirrup-shaped. So the story isn't exactly true, but that's OK, it's a nice little tale. 

Bringing it back to the contemporary era, Los Angeles has recently had a bagel boom. These little boiled-and-baked treats from a collection of newcomers around town are high-quality: malty, chewy and small. However! Against East Coast common wisdom about bagels, bakers here aren't offended by toasting. And our bagels often come absolutely stuffed with sandwich fillings.

The #7 at Yeastie Boys: a hand-rolled Tillamook sharp cheddar bagel stuffed with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato and salt and pepper Kettle Chips, plus avocado spread, onion jam and house-made chipotle cream cheese ($12)
The #7 at Yeastie Boys: a hand-rolled Tillamook sharp cheddar bagel stuffed with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato and salt and pepper Kettle Chips, plus avocado spread, onion jam and house-made chipotle cream cheese ($12)
Chelsee Lowe

Here are four of the new bagel-slingers, plus an insider tip for those who miss Brooklyn Bagel Bakery:

Yeastie Boys: This moving facility (sometimes it's at Alfred Coffee in West Hollywood, sometime it's on a truck in front of other cool coffee shops) makes truly excellent bagels. Yeastie is somewhat in the tradition of Larchmont favorite Sam's Bagels, in that it sells huge sandwiches made out of its well-made bagels.

Milo & Olive: This is the one exciting new bagel that isn't made by a bagel specialist. But Milo & Olive creates excellent pastries, so it isn't a total surprise that it's doing thoughtful bagel work, too.

Belle's Bagels: Perhaps the hippest of the bunch, Belle's sells bagels out of a storefront window in Highland Park. They sell out early, of course. 

Maury's Bagels: The owner was previously general manager at Gjusta and Gjelina Take Away, so he has great food cred. Maury's is currently available only at Smorgasburg L.A., which is fine, because Sunday is the best day for bagels.  

And now for the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery tip: It recently closed their retail location temporarily, guess what? You can totally still get the bagels. You just have to pick them up at the temporary location in Montebello. 

(Hear more about L.A. bagels in this KCRW segment.)

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