When I wrote this blogpost, I had no idea how much I would miss a good bagel.
I thought that I had merely become a snob, that it was all in my head and that surely Vancouver would provide a bagel as perfect and beautiful as those on offer in Montréal.
I am sad to report that I stand defeated in my quest to find a truly perfect bagel in Vancouver.
My last attempt was yesterday. i tried Solly's bagels which was on our route home from getting a coffee and some special beans. They came up short.
First of all, you cannot call yourself a bagel shop and then run out of sesame bagels. Sesame bagels are the only bagels for me and many others and should never ever run out. If it's getting close to the bottom of the bin, start bakin' kids, cause that is what a bagel shop should be doing.
I can understand running out of something pointless and silly like a pizza bagel or a cinnamon bagel. Those are for kids in both the real and figurative sense (yuppies with the fancy sports/hybrid cars outside, I'm looking at you!). But no sesame and to follow that up, no multigrain or even plain?
Secondly, I haven't smelt or seen any evidence of wood burning going on at Solly's or the other bagel shop closer to Kitsilano. I could be very wrong. You guys could be hiding anything back behind the wall that separates me from precious baked goods.
But that brings me around to my third point. The best bagel makers of the land don't have seating for folks to enjoy themselves at. Coffee and bagels are both too specialized for you to do well at both... and you don't. And I want to see you toiling to make the bagels. At both Fairmont and St.Viateur, you can watch the presumably underpaid staff, largely immigrants, sweat in front of open, wood burning ovens, rolling each precious bagel. There is no mystery. And these hard workers don't put down their long wodden peels at 5 pm. No sir. Fairmont and St.Viateur work around the clock, all year long. This is impressive in a neighbourhood full of Hassidic jews that take every Friday sundown to Saturday sundown off.
At 4 am, I could muster up the strength to make my way through the frozen sidewalks and fully expect to be back in 10 minutes with as many bagels as I might want at 4am.
My last complaint, this time, is the price. I don't know who you are fooling, but I have never spent 15 bucks on a bagel outing that didn't include lox in Montréal town. Is western wheat that much pricier? If it tasted more like a Montréal bagel, as you so proudly advertise, then I might not mind so much. But as it stands, it is only somewhat better than what Tim Horton's can do. Shame.
Oh Vancouver, why can't you figure this one out. I don't know if you have strange labour laws preventing bagel makers to work through the night, or haul firewood to the back of the oven, but it has got to stop (or start, perhaps). Surely there is nothing that difficult in the recipe. Come on. Gimme a taste of Montréal. Try better.