fig. a: nice fish!
As you may already know, we're big, big fans of New York's incomparable Russ & Daughters ("Appetizing since 1914"!). We love their egg creams, we love the Old New York atmosphere ("You call this a snowstorm?! I remember when a snowstorm was a snowstorm. Remember Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City? 'You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean back then.' Well, you should have seen the snowstorms back in 1950..."), and we especially like their assortment of smoked and cured fish. In fact, we've taken to making Russ & Daughters one of our last stops every time we visit the Big Onion,* so we can bring back "souvenirs," like their amazing sable.
fig. b: R & D sable
We come home, make ourselves a fish platter (comprised of sable, peppered smoked mackerel with orange and lemon zest, "pastrami-style" gravlax, and Baltic rye, perhaps), and it's like we never left.
fig. c: R & D fish platter
The thing is, we always bring back some NY bagels and bialys too. We're not ones to make blanket statements about bagels based purely on geography (regional differences can be interesting, but, fundamentally, it's all about individual bakeries), even if we do get pulled into "the great bagel debate" from time to time. But this time there was no question about it: our Russ & Daughters sable, mackerel, and gravlax tasted better on a Fairmount bagel than it did on a Russ & Daughters bagel (a bagel they describe as "the Real Thing": "rolled by hand, boiled and the perfectly timed in an old-fashioned revolving oven"). I used to love a real New York bagel. I still love a real New York bagel on a philosophical level. But if this is "the Real Thing," is it possible the real New York bagel has gone the way of Old New York? Russ & Daughters' bialys sure ain't what they used to be.
fig. d: Mtl + NY
Of course, our Russ & Daughters sable, mackerel, and gravlax tasted better on a Fairmount bagel with Russ & Daughters cream cheese than it did with any cream cheese you can get at Fairmount Bagel (or anywhere else in Montreal), but that's another story.
Anyway, help us, New York bagel aficionados! This isn't a competition and we're certainly not in favor of New Yorkers (or anyone else) paying exorbitant prices for imported "Montreal bagels" (that's just ridiculous). No, seriously. Let's talk bakeries. Where can we find the definitive New York bagel these days?
* It's frequently our very first stop, too.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
fig. a: nice fish!