If hell was a bit nippy this past weekend, or airborne pigs were spotted over Prospect Park, I can offer an explanation. Which is this: Shortly after noon on Saturday, I, The Brokavore, a man devoted to thrift the way carp are devoted to swimming, walked into the Mile End on Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill, asked for a poppyseed bagel, and pried $2.50 from my cold, not-quite-dead hands.
This unlikely event followed on the heels of my rant last week about the Canada-centric diner’s practice of having bagels express-delivered from Montreal early Saturday mornings, and the wrongness of Brooklynites eating bagels with an overinflated pricetag and a global footprint that would give Al Gore indigestion.
It sparked my curiosity about what such bagels were like, and whether the Canadians can best us in anything besides hockey and healthcare, so I picked up a poppy model (the other choices were sesame and plain) and took it home to investigate.
First observation: Canadian bagels are skinny, with a hole in the middle that you can fit a finger through. As an enemy of puffed-up, oversized bagels, I approved. And they’ve got a pleasing irregularity of shape created by hand-rolling. So far so good.
Second observation: They’re…. how should I put this….. bad. I kid you not. Deep down I expected to like them, maybe even to have to admit that they were a worthy alternative to Brooklyn bagels. But they lacked flavor beyond a pronounced and unwelcome sweetness, and their texture was dry and crumbly.
I toasted the second half, and it helped, but not enough. And two fellow tasters agreed: “mealy,” Becky called it, while Jim complained that it just lay there lifeless in his mouth, and “didn’t put up a fight.” He also noted that the bite in question had cost about 50 cents. So, here at Brokelyn, our advice stands: See America first.