There’s a new East Coast vs. West Coast battle brewing and it’s not over hip-hop, but over who makes the best bagels.
The New York Times shocked foodies nationwide by saying California has the best bagels in the country and one of the shops that topped the list is in the Bay Area.
For Emily Winston from New Jersey, there’s no greater praise than to have the Gray Lady herself tell you – you make the best bagels in the country.
“That was a big surprise! I basically fell over,” said the owner of Boichik’s Bagel in Berkeley. “It’s such an honor. It’s beyond an honor.”
Back in 2012, Winston started making bagels out of her kitchen in Alameda. They were such a hit, she leased out the original Berkeley location of the breakfast chain, Noah’s Bagels, in 2019.
“It was a huge success from the get-go we had two hour lines everyday,” said Winston.
Then the pandemic hit.
“Bagels do well in a pandemic, all the baked goods have been doing well. It’s not a sit-down restaurant. So we’re just – here’s your bagels. Give it to you outside the door and you’re off,” she said.
But Winston wasn’t prepared for the bold headline from a New York Times food critic – "The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York)".
“There’s a lot of very angry New Yorkers in New York but there’s a lot of them out here, hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, we’ve been eating these for a year now and they’re amazing,” said Winston.
So, what’s the key to the perfect bagel?
“The main thing is to be true to tradition and then with a little bit of fanciness added, but without undermining tradition,” said Winston.
“It’s chewy, and it’s tasty and done just right,” said Connie Jones of Berkeley. “It’s great, it’s just perfect.”