Christine and I once tried out a bagel place in Ottawa (now closed) that was pure nirvana. The store specialized in Montréal-style bagels which, according to Wikipedia, are chewier and sweeter than New York-style bagels. I couldn’t eat other bagels after that. It’s like trying to eat Wonder Bread after having some of the best bread from a real boulangerie. They all tasted too fluffy and processed. Most importantly, they were missing that sweet smokiness that only comes from being baked in a wood-fired oven.
Before having my first REAL Montréal-style bagel, I would judge something like this by the quality of the toppings. Now, I consider the bagel first because a good-tasting bagel starts with a good bagel. It’s not rocket science, but I somehow managed to miss this important lesson.
I judged this smoked salmon bagel from Gord’s Café (on the Queen’s University campus) pretty harshly. There was no chewiness or give to it at all. It was bland and soft, neither savoury nor sweet. Even the fact that it was an “everything” bagel didn’t give it much flavour. This deeply saddened me.
Unfortunately, the toppings were lame, too. The smoked salmon didn’t really taste smoked. It was a textural contrast to the rest of the bagel, not much else. There weren’t enough red onions, and the onions were chopped up, instead of left in thin slices and slivers. The briny, bitter capers (which are actually my favourite part of a smoked salmon bagel) were completely overwhelmed by the huge schmear of cream cheese. In fact, the cream cheese was just about the only thing I liked about it.
For a quick snack, it was okay, but it’s pricey. Skip this and stick to the smoothies at Gord’s.
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Inside Gordon-Brockington Hall