The Place:Eltana, 1538 12th Ave., 724-0660, CAPITOL HILL.
The Hole: A wood-fired poppy-seed bagel with date and walnut cream cheese, coffee, and ginger limeade. For one of the first times in the history of Holey Shit, the one-person total topped $10.
The Shit: Eltana describes its bagel-making process on a sign hanging over pegs hung with the rather limited bagel options. The dough is rolled into rings by hand, boiled in honeyed water for sweetness, covered the whole way around with toppings, and wood-fired. The bagels that come out of that process are twisted and small, and eating one with a layer of that fancy date-and-walnut schmear will cost you $3.75.
Pretentiousness thrives in Seattle. Kids here don't eat Cheez Whiz and saltines, they snack on wheat crackers and brie. No kegs of Bud at backyard barbecues here--we serve growlers of local microbrews. And bagel places that charge $3.75 for a wood-fired bagel and cream cheese barely big enough to count as breakfast will be packed full on a weekend morning.
But while it's easy to be cynical, let's not forget that pretentious isn't necessarily a bad thing. Brie is better than Cheez Whiz. Tourists fawn over Georgetown Brewing Co.'s Manny's because never before have they sipped a beer so perfectly balanced. Locally foraged mushrooms are blended with handmade pastas and revolutionize how you think about Italian food.
Eltana is no exception to the "pretentious sometimes means better" rule. Its honey-water boiled, wood-fired, tiny, twisted offering was the best bagel I have eaten in Seattle. Once more: best bagel in Seattle.
One bite in and I didn't mind at all that I needed two for it to count as a satisfying breakfast.