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Bethesda Bagels, Bethesda Avenue - Bagels That Are Boiled, Then Baked


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On 12/1/2012 at 7:20 PM, DonRocks said:

That is sweet.

And absolutely related to my "cheapskate bagel-ordering strategy" which is to order two bagels, one with cream cheese; the other plain. I ask to have them both "split and heated," and in theory, this is the perfect way to get two bagels and cream cheese on the cheap. Unfortunately, places are on to this tactic - most recently Tysons Bagel Market which spreads such a chintzy amount of cream cheese on the bagel that, even though I interleave half of the cream-cheesed bagel with half of the plain bagel, the 'schmear' is so thin that it's not worth it.

Nor does buying two plain bagels (sliced, heated) with a little plastic tub of cream cheese provide a solution - the tubs are *so* expensive (around $4 to provide two-bagels worth of cream cheese) that it's prohibitively expensive to use this strategy as well.

If anyone has a better solution than either of these two unsuccessful ones, I'm game to hear it. All I want is two reasonably spread bagels without paying a fortune for them - I don't care if the layer of cream cheese is thin, as long as it's detectable.

I can tell you that Bethesda Bagels in North Dupont still puts a hefty "schmear" on their bagels, so you could certainly make it work there. Last time I got one there I ended up taking at least half of it off before it was edible.

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Bethesda Bagels, on Bethesda Ave. near the Barnes and Noble also makes authentic NY style bagel* that are first boiled, then baked. My mother (who is now 96) told me that when she was young she used to make her own bagel, when she lived in places where they were unavailable. When I was growing up in Los Angeles, we lived in a Jewish neighborhood where there were many bakeries and delis. Bagel, along with onion pletzel, bialy, corn rye and challah, were always in the house. My mother always preferred "egg bagel," which had egg in the dough and were a bit softer, over "water bagel" which are the denser, chewier NY style. Interesting to learn today, via one of Darkstar's posts, that Montreal bagel have egg in them. My mother's preference may reflect her Canadian childhood: though she lived in Winnipeg, not Montreal, it's my understanding that many Canadian Jews emigrated from the same general area in Belarus during the years leading up to WW1, often heading first to Toronto before moving to other Canadian cities. Mimi Sheraton wrote a fascinating history of the bialy. I wonder if there is a similarly well-written book about the bagel.

*my father, a notorious language pedant, always insisted that the plural of bagel is bagel. I often lapse into the Americanized usage of the plural but since I am talking about my family history here, I'll respect my father's nitpick.

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Bethesda Bagels, on Bethesda Ave. near the Barnes and Noble also makes authentic NY style bagel* that are first boiled, then baked. ... When I was growing up in Los Angeles, we lived in a Jewish neighborhood where there were many bakeries and delis. Bagel, along with onion pletzel, bialy, corn rye and challah, were always in the house.

Great reminder about Bethesda Bagels. I have tried theirs and vaguely recall thinking they were somewhat less than Georgetown on the authenticity scale but higher than, well, most everywhere else. But can't remember why I thought that. If they are proofing, boiling, baking as they should, maybe it's the temperature, flour or some other tactical factor that differentiates the two from each other. Also not sure whether their bagels are made onsite as opposed to a different location? I need to try those two side by side and will soon. And, bialys! Even more elusive than the endangered authentic bagel. But absolutely wonderful if and when found. Thanks Zora!

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I'd like to think I grew up as a bagel maven. My paternal grandmother, born in Poland/Belarus territory near Bialystock was supposedly a legendary baker, although she passed away when I was too young to recall her meals. My fathers family had a business on the lower east side of manhattan for decades and we were adjacent and within blocks of legendary Jewish, Italian, and Chinese food. From youth to young adulthood I ate there with many older family members and their friends who seemed to be "experts" on these various ethnic cuisines. We lived in Northern NJ with some spectacular delis and Jewish bakeries.

Having said that...I'm ignorant about the various cooking methods. I'll paraphrase a SC Justice: I know a good bagel when I've had it. Zora is far more the expert, describing the difference between softer and harder/crunchier bagels. Having grown up around NYC I'm definitely more oriented to the crunchier bagels than the softer egg bagels (as she described). I guess that is all taste.

I've liked Bethesda bagel, georgetown bagel, and the tysons bagel shop. In fact I liked the tysons bagel place after the Jewish owner sold it to Asian operators. Same recipe. Ha ha..you don't have to be Jewish to cook a great bagel.

I've had a lot of bagels from Brooklyn bagel in courthouse because of convenience. I know the operators somewhat. very nice guys. I like tysons bagels better, but I think brooklyn's bagels are pretty good. I suspect I'm holding to the NYC style,cooked without eggs.(as I understand it)

Give me a really thick crunchy well crusted pumpernickel bagel toasted with a heap of cream cheese. For this area, I'd give bethesda bagel a slight edge but this is all taste.

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Great reminder about Bethesda Bagels. I have tried theirs and vaguely recall thinking they were somewhat less than Georgetown on the authenticity scale but higher than, well, most everywhere else. But can't remember why I thought that. If they are proofing, boiling, baking as they should, maybe it's the temperature, flour or some other tactical factor that differentiates the two from each other. Also not sure whether their bagels are made onsite as opposed to a different location? I need to try those two side by side and will soon. And, bialys! Even more elusive than the endangered authentic bagel. But absolutely wonderful if and when found. Thanks Zora!

Bethesda Bagels are made onsite. As to their proofing process, you'll have to ask them how they do that.

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Had wonderful bagels with cream cheese spreads lox (Nova) tomatoes, and capers from Bethesda Bagel in Rosalyn.  We loved them.  For someone who grew up on his stuff and continued eating them for years I simply don’t often dine on them any more.

Best?  Best in DC?  I don’t know.  But quite good and satisfying.  Too bad Bethesda Bagel in Rosslyn has only a tiny window side eat in area.  If this was a full deli/bagel shop with seating I might “live there”

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