I try to have three square meals a day, but for weekend breakfasts, I like to keep things round: As in bagels and doughnuts.
3102 University Avenue, North Park
One of my fatherly duties on Saturday is to get a dozen doughnuts or half a dozen bagels for the family. Sometimes, I have to get both, which typically means going to two places and waiting in two lines because most places that sell good doughnuts don’t sell decent bagels.
Nomad Donuts in North Park is attempting to make life easier for me (though I don’t think their intention was so singular). The business, which made its name with gourmet doughnuts at a now-closed location on 30th Street. The new location at University and Illinois has added Montreal-inspired bagels to the mix.
That’s a good call, because while there is much to like about the doughnuts, it’s the bagels that will bring me back.
Montreal bagels tend to be smaller and denser than the New York variety and are cooked in a wood-fired oven. The bagels at Nomad are boiled in a honey water so they are slightly sweeter than the New York style. The end result makes them crisper and less doughy than the New York variety.
The crispness is key if you’re having one of their bagel sandwiches -- which I did. Hey, my family was still sleeping so I owed it to myself to get the House Cured Salmon on an Everything Bagel ($10).
As Ian Anderson first noted in September, the bagels at Nomad do not disappoint.
The crispness of the toasted bagel contrasted with the lettuce, tomato and salmon. The dill-enhanced cream cheese was a little overpowering. I would ask them to go light on it next time so I can better taste the salmon.
I got three additional Everything bagels to go ($3 each), along with two plain ($2 each) and a sesame one ($2). I got some different flavors of cream cheese at $1.50 a pop. All were tasty when “shmeared” on the bagels, but the bacon-chive was a personal favorite followed by the cheddar-jalapeno.
Gourmet doughnuts mean gourmet prices. A dozen at Nomad costs around $30. Their version of the Old Fashioned glazed ($2) was OK, a little denser than I’m used to. Same with the chocolate.
The Mocha Chip Cake Salted Dulce De Leche ($3) was sweet and rich, probably too rich for me and I wasn’t as knocked out by the Watermelon Tamarind Chili ($3) as I thought I’d be.
The Brown Butter Popcorn ($3) was good with a brown sugar touch to it — not a complete sugar bomb, just the right amount.
I am a big, big fan of both their Blueberry Jam Meyer Lemon doughnut and the Raspberry Jam version of the same (both $4): The tartness of the lemon set off the sweetness of the jam-filled doughnuts perfectly.
Nomad Donuts makes vegan doughnuts as well. I tried the Vanilla Bean and Ube Taro just to be complete ($3 each). I’m glad that vegans have an option and I’m glad I’m not vegan.