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A bagel not trying to be a New York one

Rolled oats, wheat bran, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sea salt.

A few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable
A few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable

The Gaslamp got a new bagel shop in August, and like North Park's new iteration of Nomad Donuts, this one's offering an artisanal take on Poland's chewy and beloved boil-and-bake pastry. However, while Nomad has thus far kept its wood-fired bagel options fairly traditional, Spill the Beans Coffee & Bagels adopted a creative approach straight out the gate.

Place

Spill the Beans Coffee and Bagels

555 Market Street, San Diego

Brought around by Verant Group, the same team behind Barleymash, the new café sits roughly kitty-corner to its sister restaurant. It's barely separated from the same group's new BBQ and cocktails property, Smoking Gun.

Chef Kevin Templeton created the menu for all three places, and for Spill the Beans that meant creating unique from-scratch bagels.

Whereas Nomad Donut's new bagels hailed from the Montreal bagel tradition, Spill the Beans goes a different direction. However, they're not New York style either. Instead, Templeton's branding these as California style bagels.

That's probably a wise move, since apparently the most fun thing a native New Yorker can do in life is loudly declare that any attempt to make a New York-style bagel outside the five boroughs threatens to unravel the moral fabric holding together all civilization, or something.

I went by to try out a California-style bagel and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters cold brew. I typically order a sesame bagel, but Spill the Beans deviates from the usual bagel lineup. These add a few twists on the usual ingredients. So instead of jalapeño and cheddar, here you'll find serrano, habañero, and jack cheese. Rather than cinnamon raisin, there's a bagel with pear, cranberry, vanilla, and cinnamon. I would guess a common first order here is the bacon and white cheddar bagel. There's also a gluten-free vegan bagel, which sounds like a neat trick. They're all around four bucks apiece, but that includes butter and/or a bevy of house cream cheese spreads.

There most normal bagels here would be the so-called Plain Jane, and the common catch-all everything bagel. I went for the nearest thing to sesame: the Seed & Grain, which adds rolled oats, wheat bran, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sea salt. Not only is this a few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable, but counter staff confirmed it features a greater number of ingredients than the shop's everything bagel. So, everything plus.

For a bagel not trying to be a New York bagel, this one comes fairly close in terms of density. It's perhaps a little lighter, with less toothsome crust. For the most part, the added ingredients makes the difference (and, okay New Yorkers, it's not made with the city's magic water).

The seeds and sea salt encrusting the big, doughy bagel gave it plenty of flavor, even just eating it whole, untoasted, without any schmear. I did dip into a caramelized shallot and chive spread, and can vouch for it. The menu notes its cream cheese spreads are made with "local and organic ingredients," and they all sound pretty good, especially strawberry, basil, and balsamic; white truffle and parmesan; and homemade nutella.

I've long wondered what the craft/artisan/hipster approach to bagels might look like, and if Spill the Beans and Nomad Donut's are San Diego's first taste, consider me all in.

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A few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable
A few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable

The Gaslamp got a new bagel shop in August, and like North Park's new iteration of Nomad Donuts, this one's offering an artisanal take on Poland's chewy and beloved boil-and-bake pastry. However, while Nomad has thus far kept its wood-fired bagel options fairly traditional, Spill the Beans Coffee & Bagels adopted a creative approach straight out the gate.

Place

Spill the Beans Coffee and Bagels

555 Market Street, San Diego

Brought around by Verant Group, the same team behind Barleymash, the new café sits roughly kitty-corner to its sister restaurant. It's barely separated from the same group's new BBQ and cocktails property, Smoking Gun.

Chef Kevin Templeton created the menu for all three places, and for Spill the Beans that meant creating unique from-scratch bagels.

Whereas Nomad Donut's new bagels hailed from the Montreal bagel tradition, Spill the Beans goes a different direction. However, they're not New York style either. Instead, Templeton's branding these as California style bagels.

That's probably a wise move, since apparently the most fun thing a native New Yorker can do in life is loudly declare that any attempt to make a New York-style bagel outside the five boroughs threatens to unravel the moral fabric holding together all civilization, or something.

I went by to try out a California-style bagel and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters cold brew. I typically order a sesame bagel, but Spill the Beans deviates from the usual bagel lineup. These add a few twists on the usual ingredients. So instead of jalapeño and cheddar, here you'll find serrano, habañero, and jack cheese. Rather than cinnamon raisin, there's a bagel with pear, cranberry, vanilla, and cinnamon. I would guess a common first order here is the bacon and white cheddar bagel. There's also a gluten-free vegan bagel, which sounds like a neat trick. They're all around four bucks apiece, but that includes butter and/or a bevy of house cream cheese spreads.

There most normal bagels here would be the so-called Plain Jane, and the common catch-all everything bagel. I went for the nearest thing to sesame: the Seed & Grain, which adds rolled oats, wheat bran, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sea salt. Not only is this a few hemp seeds away from being the most California bagel imaginable, but counter staff confirmed it features a greater number of ingredients than the shop's everything bagel. So, everything plus.

For a bagel not trying to be a New York bagel, this one comes fairly close in terms of density. It's perhaps a little lighter, with less toothsome crust. For the most part, the added ingredients makes the difference (and, okay New Yorkers, it's not made with the city's magic water).

The seeds and sea salt encrusting the big, doughy bagel gave it plenty of flavor, even just eating it whole, untoasted, without any schmear. I did dip into a caramelized shallot and chive spread, and can vouch for it. The menu notes its cream cheese spreads are made with "local and organic ingredients," and they all sound pretty good, especially strawberry, basil, and balsamic; white truffle and parmesan; and homemade nutella.

I've long wondered what the craft/artisan/hipster approach to bagels might look like, and if Spill the Beans and Nomad Donut's are San Diego's first taste, consider me all in.

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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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