Whether you call them Breakfast Sandwiches, Bagel Sandwiches or Breakfast Bagels, the delectable bagel, fried egg, cheese and bacon something or other has proven to be the perfect breakfast item. What better way to start the day than with a little bread, salty bacon, cheddar cheese, and egg? Since my newfound fascination with this food I have scoured the DC area and even some surrounding East Coast spots for the best bagel sandwich. Here are some notes from the places I have held my morning stakeouts at so far:
Bagels and Beyond: At the Manahawkin, New Jersey location of Bagels and Beyond I broke my classic sampling procedure under the advisement of a seasoned LBI native. Traditionally,I always order my breakfast bagel on an ‘everything’ bagel but apparently the New Jersey thing to do is to have a bagel sandwich on a ‘french toast’ bagel. The result was exceedingly delicious. I was greatly protesting to the sticky combination of a sweet bagel and savory toppingss but alas the juxtaposition was so successful. The cinnamon swirled bagel added a complexity and salty sweet component to the breakfast. So when on The Shore, do as the Jersey Boys do, and try a bagel sandwich on a french toast bagel instead of a savory bagel. I probably would not go as far as to have the sandwich with a chocolate chip bagel, just try a bun that will add a complimentary spice and sweetness.
Bagels Etc.: This bagel joint off of Dupont Circle is also known as ‘Squishy Bagel” by a few who claim the tiny shop as their favorite. You place your order with a sharp Korean women, who has no patience for those unprepared to order. The bagels are then zipped out at lightning speed, fresh of the griddle. After you claim your prize there is a great reward. Squishy bagel gets its nickname from the dough that is, exactly how it sounds. This may seem like a negative connotation for the bread but it actually adds a more authentic bagel feel. I’ve heard the secret to the quintessential New York bagel is all in the water, the perfect spring fed water New Yorkers are privileged to have creates the perfect bagel consistency, which is fresh, slightly salty and slightly springy to the touch. I digress on this water rant only to explain the highlight of Bagel Etc., which apparently has achieved similar water quality to it’s upstream neighbor by some miracle.
Bethesda Bagels I have two cautions when it comes to Bethesda Bagels after testing out the location on Connecticut Avenue twice. First, be prepared to wait. I went in as early as seven in the morning on a weekend and there was somehow a 15 minute wait and at two in the afternoon during a downpour and there was an even longer wait, so be warned. Next, if you like cheese on your breakfast bagel, or more so, to be able to taste the cheese, make sure to request a little extra. Other than these two complaints I was pleased with the ‘everything’ bagel breakfast sandwiches I had. Note, that I was pleased but not exceptionally impressed. I felt the bagel was a bit chewy and that overall all the ingredients good have been hotter and fresher (elements clearly intertwined).
Capitol Grounds Coffee: My final AM sampling to report on is in Foggy Bottom. Capitol Grounds Coffee hosts mediocre coffee along with mediocre breakfast baglels but they are very reliable and consistent. The problem lies in the bacon, not the bagel or other ingredients. The fault with the bacon is that it is more of a sprinkling of bacon bits on your bagel than hardly slabs. These pieces tend to gracefully fall out of along with add a crunchy texture.
Stay tuned for more bagel spots, perhaps one will be the hole in one I am am awaiting cheesy pun intended). . . .
GW Delicatessen: With a line full of students out the door, clamoring for breakfast bagels I expected great things from GW Deli. Alas, my classic bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel was so flawed. The thing was covered in bacon and I mean covered, there was bacon that was too crunchy and too salty spewing out the sides and on the foil. This unfortunate bacon attack overpowered everything on the bagel, and I could not even tell that there was cheese or egg. The bagel itself was also a disappointment due to it’s lack of “everything.” There was hardly any seedy goodness on the bagel, which increased the flavor deficiency. I am disheartened by the results, but GW Delicatessen is certainly out of the running for best bagel around.