Nextdoor and the Bagel War

A Tower of Babbel Over Bagels

Nextdoor has become the back fence of the Internet. Neighbors regularly rat out neighbors– “Whose dog left poop on our front lawn?.” They share favorite plumbers and electricians as well as where to find toilet paper when that was a thing. They complain about petty larceny, homeless wanderers and thoughtless teenagers. Some even try to talk political trash but nextdoorians quickly shoot them down.

However, last week our San Diego Nextdoor forum hit its liveliest topic in months– where to find NYC bagels in our sun-kissed but culinarily-challenged city.

It started with a recent transplant who innocently posed this question. “I’m an East Coast, Long Island girl, who has been DYING to have a good bagel at this point. If you’re from the NY area and can give solid recommendations, please help a girl out.”

Full disclosure, I’m a NYC-bred girl and I know my bagels. They have to be boiled. They have to be hard on the outside, soft on the inside and satisfyingly chewy. And they need to come in a bakers dozen (aka 13 bagels). Having lived in San Diego a little over two years, our months-long quest wasn’t for bagels but for New York pizza (you know what they say about the water!). After months of pizza trial and error, we now make monthly treks to the aptly named Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest. We eat one piece fresh and freeze the rest for those moments when you just need a real slice.

But I digress. We were talking about bagels. Through months of taste testing, we found our way to Brueggers Bagels and that’s now our go to. I love the pumpernickel and my guy is a poppy seeder. It’s not perfect but it’s perfectly fine.

However, until this Nextdoor conflagration, we thought we’d tried all the best bagelries but apparently there are some great spots we missed. And there are some really fired up respondents. Here’s a sampling of the replies:

Personal connection: “Point Loma Bagels will satisfy your east coast bagel craving. Their bagels are good and I don’t even like bagels. My Jewish friend also knows good bagels and he said they are awesome, too.” He had me at “My Jewish friend…”

Drive to L.A.: ” If you are in Los Angeles or have a friend driving there, have them go to the Western Bagel Factory…they are the best. Nothing in San Diego compares to bagels out of the factory.”

Or import them: “QVC has had bagels from New York. I just ordered my second batch.”

If you are early to rise: “Point Loma Bagel, so fresh you have to slap them.” And another warns that you need to go early as they run out by 2.

If you are clueless: “I’ve never had New Yortk bagels! I’m excited to try them. How are they different from the ones we have here?”

Bialys?: “New York Bagels and Sidney’s bagels in Rancho Bernardo. Worth the drive! Closest to NY. They even have bialys.” If you don’t know, don’t ask.

Secondhand recommendation: “Try PL bagels in Point Loma. I am from NY and so is my friend…and he said they are good. I have not tried yet.”

If you are willing to settle: “Solomon bagels in North Park. Closest you’ll get.”

My point exactly: “Good luck with that and NY thin crust pizza and tomatoes.”

Other bagel businesses had their share of fans: DZ Akins by SDSU, Miltons in Del Mar, Spill the Beans in Gaslamp, Garden State Bagels in N. County and Busy Bee in La Jolla.

In all, there were 196 Nextdoor comments and 59 emojis. The conversation was shut down yesterday.

Our East Coast girl had the last word (well almost): “I wasn’t expecting such an uproar about bagels!…Might have to start a San Diego bagel blog if I’m going to try all of these places out.”

Of course, she doesn’t get the last word…I do! I actually have a secret bagel source. Another East Coast transplant who started baking bagels a few years ago.

Our baker’s bagels are plump and shiny and we get to enjoy them right out of the oven. Yes, he does boil them. Yes, he has a secret flour supplier in Barrio Logan. But he only bakes for friends and only when the spirit moves him. You know who you are…and I thank you!

4 comments

  1. Fun to read. Even 70 miles outside of Manhattan the bagels aren’t as good!! And definitely not as good as Brooklyn or the Bronx. Some stores import them but they don’t last long and the day sof getting up at 5 a.m. to get fresh bagels are so OVER!

    Can’t find bialys anywhere…maybe I’ll try your go to “Next Door” which I’ve carefully avoided as just ONE MORE thing in my mailbox!

    Liked by 1 person

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