On Monday, March 8, the New York Times made the (outrageous? offensive? downright preposterous?) claim that California actually has the best bagels, not the bagel capital of the world aka New York City! (Yes, we’re the bagel capital and the pizza capital, we can be both!)
NY Times restaurant critic and Brooklyn native Tejal Rao made the astonishing declaration in an article posted yesterday. She described Boichik Bagels in Berkeley, CA as having “the look of Labrador puppies curled up for afternoon naps: soft and pudgy, golden roly-polys.”
“The bread has a comforting squish – thick but yielding, chewy but not densely so, with a shiny, sweet-and-salty crust and a rich, malty breath that fills up the bag before you even get home.”
Still, Boichik Bagels is actually spearheaded by Emily Winston, a New Jersey native who strives to create bagels as delicious as those she enjoyed from New York institutions with her father. Upon the closure of her favorite H&H Bagels, she grieved their loss like the death of a loved one and began a quest to recreate the fluffy round delicacies on her own.
After extensive Google searches and years of trial-and-error home baking, Wilson opened Boichik Bagels in November of 2019, on College Avenue right near the UC Berkeley campus. Since then, it’s enjoyed the kind of bagel pride that Noah’s Bagels brought to the area 30 years prior, when Noah Alper opened up his first bagel shop on the exact same street corner.
“Emily Winston’s bagels are some of the finest New-York style bagels I’ve ever tasted. They just happen to be made in Berkeley,” asserted Rao.
Of course, New Yorkers quickly made their voices heard:
Yeah, absolutely not.https://t.co/dJ5IHPIfch
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) March 8, 2021
Oprah needs to interview some NY bagels, who suffered a great and offensive injustice today.
— Alex Winter (@Winter) March 8, 2021
I do NOT approve of this message.
The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York) – The New York Times https://t.co/hwuVqQEHGJ
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) March 8, 2021
I don’t really like bagels and do not want to contribute to the discourse but boichik would be like a 3rd tier bagel in NYC (bagel pub level) and each bagel as far as I can tell costs 12 dollars. Preposterous! Do not defame Bagel Hole and Absolute like this! https://t.co/yG40DIfl9s
— kang🥇 (@jaycaspiankang) March 9, 2021
I've seen many, many bagel shops in California with names like "New York Bagels"
I have never, not once, never ever seen a bagel shop in NYC called anything like "California Bagels"
— Adam Sternbergh (@sternbergh) March 8, 2021
You literally call them New York bagels
What makes you think California could outdo something with New York in the name??? https://t.co/UinPjSV7OT
— Tyler Oleksiw (@TylerOleksiw) March 9, 2021
Apologies to my friends in New York, but I’ve been saying this for years! https://t.co/KRhL2cJhgI
— Mike Levin (@MikeLevin) March 9, 2021
The hot takes continue! But we know where our allegiance lies…
[Featured Image: @boichikbagels via Instagram]