The Place: A cousin's wedding in wine country led Holey Shit to the Bay Area this weekend, and I found myself wondering how San Francisco's bagels stack up against those boiled in the Emerald City. Naturally, I sought advice from illustrious SF Weekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman.
With the obligatory "not as good as New York" caveat that dogs all West Coast bagel-makers, he pointed my bagel-eating companion and I to House of Bagels, 5030 Geary, 415-752-6000, SAN FRANCISCO.
The Hole: At the recommendation of the man behind the counter: an onion bagel with jalapeno cream cheese and an asiago cheese bagel with garlic and herb schmear.
The Shit: Miraculously, I landed a parking spot right in front of House of Bagels' mural-covered facade. For a few minutes, we sat in the car just inhaling the smell.
Inside the cluttered front room were shelves of knishes and other baked delicacies that are difficult to find here in Seattle. Filing the space behind the register were a dozen or so types of bagels.
Paralyzed by indecision, I asked the cashier for his favorites, which led to those savory selections.
The sign listing the cream-cheese options declared them all homemade and low-fat. That made me nervous. Some food items just ought not be made in a diet-friendly form, and schmear is one of them. But we went with the recommendations and I skeptically bit into my onion bagel.
Like many places, House of Bagels overdoes it on the cream cheese, apparently trying to make sure you get your money's worth. But in this case, I didn't really care. My first thought was that the sign must have been lying; the schmear couldn't possibly be low-fat. It was just too creamy and delicious.
The bagels were a little overpowered by the cream cheese, so whether or not they were better than our options up here, it's hard to say. That said, the schmear alone might be worth a trip to House of Bagels the next time you find yourself headed to a cousin's wedding in wine country.