Better, Best, Bagels

Better BagelsBagels. Those are the rolls with the holes in the middle, right? All jokes aside, I love a good bagel. Poppyseed and sesame are my go to choices.

I am from Pennsylvania, not Pennsyltucky, but Pennsylvania all the same and the only bagels that I had growing up came from Wegmans.

I loved Wegmans’s bagels. We had local bakeries, but none of them made bagels. It was not until I came to Monmouth that I had “real” bagels, as my friends would like to say. I have only been to a few bagel shops in the area, so naturally all of them are my favorites.

Hot Bagels is a bagelry (we are just going to pretend that that is a word) in Ocean Township that my coach often takes us to before away matches. If we have to leave early in the morning for a tennis match, we will swing by Hot Bagels to grab a few for the road. The family members who work the bagelry are always busy rolling the dough and placing the steaming hot bagels into baskets. So fresh there is no need for them to be toasted.

Another bagelry that my coach introduced myself and my teammates to is Grandma’s Bagels in Little Silver. Here, you can get bacon, egg, and cheese on your favorite flavor bagel. I am not sure if Grandma still works there, but I would bet my scholarship that the recipe has remained the same. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This summer I stayed in Middletown. My host asked me if I had any good bagels while I had been here in Jersey. I told her my positive experiences at Hot Bagel and Grandma’s Bagels and she recommended another bagelry to me. Sheepshead Bagels in Middletown. She said it was as though the bagels were straight out of Brooklyn. This meant nothing to me since I did not know that Brooklyn was known for their bagels. Nonetheless, I went to the bagelry and ordered an egg and cheese in a sesame bagel. Wow. If this was what a Brooklyn bagel tasted like then I knew where I would be moving after college. 

I now know what real bagels are. I have yet to have a bagel from Wegmans since coming to school in Jersey, but somehow I know that it will never be the same.

Bagels are an art form, they come in all different flavors and sometimes all different colors. I am still looking to get my hands on one of those “rainbow bagels,” if for no other reason than to snap a cool photo.

Next year as graduation approaches, I will welcome the question “what are your plans for after college?” I will shock them all by saying that I plan on opening my own bagelry in my hometown. I will call it Better, Best, Bagels.

PHOTO TAKEN by Caroline Mattise