Driving down El Cajon Boulevard, going about my business, I had no intention to get a snack. But passing by the Boulevard Wine and Spirits, I spotted a new sign: “Boulevard Pretzels — Now Open.”
4245 El Cajon Boulevard, City Heights
The liquor store is still there, still renowned for its deep bench of San Diego beer brands, plus a few lovely imports. Its owner simply installed a small pretzel counter at the front of the shop. I anticipated the usual, rock salt pretzels, a natural fit for all that beer. I got more than that.
Cinnamon sugar, jalapeño, and turkey cheddar pretzel, for example. Each one goes for $2.95, but they’ll sell you two for $5. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a turkey pretzel before, but it felt like I should have, so it was my obvious first choice. The turkey and cheddar (or ham and swiss) are draped over the hand-rolled pretzel dough, and cooked in a boxy little oven behind the counter. The result is a cheesy treat in the order of a pizza-bagel.
There are pizza and bagel pretzels too. The pepperoni pretzel looked pretty right on, but I had to choose the everything pretzel, which is modeled after the everything bagel, and served with cream cheese. I really wanted it for the sesame seeds, but the fennel and poppyseeds were a welcome add.
Served the two pretzels in a paper sleeve to go, I got back to my car and headed west. It was a sure bet I’d get caught at the long red light to turn onto 805 south. I did, and it gave me plenty of time to dig into that turkey and cheddar. The seeded everything bagel tasted just as fresh at home a short while later.
Both pretzels were soft, chewy, and just a touch sweet, and in both cases the added toppings made the snack feel more substantial than a standard pretzel.