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Brooklyn Bagels our best local bet

Almost urban enough to feel like New York

Eggy, cheesy, pastrami — and the bagel's the best part.
Eggy, cheesy, pastrami — and the bagel's the best part.

When I'm in New York, I eat a lot. I eat everything I can get my hands on. I don't leave without seeking out great pastrami, some kind of smoked fish, and a bagel. You know what food I never, under any circumstance, look for in New York? Tacos. That would be like someone from Chicago going to Miami to eat deep dish.

So why would I expect to find good bagels in San Diego? I never have. While I am keen on the Montreal bagels imported by Mess Royale in Hillcrest, those are flown in, not baked on site.

Place

Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy

1000 Island Avenue, San Diego

A bagel shop in East Village.

Somehow, I missed Brooklyn Bagel. The East Village scratch bakery offers New York style bagels and bialys, and managed a fair impression of both. Without getting into discussions about the New York water table and authenticity, I'm just going to say these bagels sit at or around the top of the local bagel food chain.

Brooklyn offers all the varieties one might expect: sesame, poppy seed, cinnamon and raisin, egg, blueberry, and everything. There are also cheese-infused jalapeño and a cheddar everything that should be irresistible to the let's-have-it-all crowd.

I opted for sesame and decided to make it a sandwich. Divided between breakfast and lunch menus, the bagel sandwiches here also cover familiar ground. There's bacon, egg and cheddar, smoked turkey and tuna salad. I opted for the Undisputed Best — pastrami with fried egg and cheddar, because I'm predictable.

The hot pastrami variation ate messy, with a mix of runny yolk and melted cheese grease dripping down my arm. I can't be sure, but I would guess I was smiling as I ate, because the bagel had a great chewy texture, and the egg and cheddar added another level of indulgence to the delightfully fatty pastrami.

It filled me up, despite going down in only three minutes. The bagel impressed me enough that I picked up another to go, along with a bialy — which is similar, but not boiled before baking. I ate the fresh bialy — complete with onion filler — on the way home, and liked it a lot. But it's the bagel that'll bring me back to East Village, which is almost urban enough to feel like New York, if you squint, and aren’t craving tacos 12 hours a day. Maybe a carnitas bagel sandwich is what this city needs?

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Eggy, cheesy, pastrami — and the bagel's the best part.
Eggy, cheesy, pastrami — and the bagel's the best part.

When I'm in New York, I eat a lot. I eat everything I can get my hands on. I don't leave without seeking out great pastrami, some kind of smoked fish, and a bagel. You know what food I never, under any circumstance, look for in New York? Tacos. That would be like someone from Chicago going to Miami to eat deep dish.

So why would I expect to find good bagels in San Diego? I never have. While I am keen on the Montreal bagels imported by Mess Royale in Hillcrest, those are flown in, not baked on site.

Place

Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy

1000 Island Avenue, San Diego

A bagel shop in East Village.

Somehow, I missed Brooklyn Bagel. The East Village scratch bakery offers New York style bagels and bialys, and managed a fair impression of both. Without getting into discussions about the New York water table and authenticity, I'm just going to say these bagels sit at or around the top of the local bagel food chain.

Brooklyn offers all the varieties one might expect: sesame, poppy seed, cinnamon and raisin, egg, blueberry, and everything. There are also cheese-infused jalapeño and a cheddar everything that should be irresistible to the let's-have-it-all crowd.

I opted for sesame and decided to make it a sandwich. Divided between breakfast and lunch menus, the bagel sandwiches here also cover familiar ground. There's bacon, egg and cheddar, smoked turkey and tuna salad. I opted for the Undisputed Best — pastrami with fried egg and cheddar, because I'm predictable.

The hot pastrami variation ate messy, with a mix of runny yolk and melted cheese grease dripping down my arm. I can't be sure, but I would guess I was smiling as I ate, because the bagel had a great chewy texture, and the egg and cheddar added another level of indulgence to the delightfully fatty pastrami.

It filled me up, despite going down in only three minutes. The bagel impressed me enough that I picked up another to go, along with a bialy — which is similar, but not boiled before baking. I ate the fresh bialy — complete with onion filler — on the way home, and liked it a lot. But it's the bagel that'll bring me back to East Village, which is almost urban enough to feel like New York, if you squint, and aren’t craving tacos 12 hours a day. Maybe a carnitas bagel sandwich is what this city needs?

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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