I used to do a radio show from 12:00 A.M. till 2 A.M. on Thursday mornings. The show that came on after us was a hip-hop show and we had a good rapport with those guys. One night the hip-hop guys came in to do their show and one of them, O., was raving about Montreal bagels. He asked us, “Do you know what the secret ingredient is in a real Montreal bagel? You know, like, those real hot and chewy Montreal bagels? Do you know what the secret ingredient is?” I said, “I don’t know. Love?” O. responded, “No, it’s malt dextrose.” We said, “Oh, yeah. Malt dextrose, huh?” O. continued, “I’ve got this buddy who works at Fairmount Bagel. He gave me a whole bag out of the back of the store. 'Cause you can't buy that stuff in any store. I’ve got this massive bag of the stuff sitting in my kitchen. You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna start baking 'em at home. That way, anytime I want ‘em, I can have fresh, hot Montreal bagels at home for next-to-nothing.”
Montreal may very well have the best bagels in the world. Torontonians swear by their Bagel World bagels as well as their Gryfe's. Bostonians, Connecticut Yankees, New Yorkers, and New Jerseyites all swear by their own styles of bagels, too. I’ve tasted all of these different varieties, and I’ve had outstanding bagels in each region, but Montreal bagels are still my favorites. I’ve been living in Montreal again for 5 years now, and every morning (and I do mean every morning) I still crave a Montreal bagel (make mine a Fairmount, mate). That’s how good they are.
We happen to live less than a 10-minute walk from three excellent, 24-hour bagel bakeries (two of them are under the same ownership) that’ll sell you a dozen “blacks” (poppy) or “whites” (sesame) for just over $5.00. Every time I buy bagels they’re not only fresh, they’re usually steaming hot (see the picture above). That’s what killed me about that conversation with O. In this town, anytime you want ‘em, you can get fresh, hot, world-class bagels for next-to-nothing.
[Fairmount Bagel is located at 74 Fairmount W. And, yes, O.’s bagel fantasy was probably drug-induced.]