I remember first seeing pictures of the rainbow bagel on social media over a year ago, maybe two years ago. It's just a bagel, but it's multiple colors and trendy and millennials have got to have it.
Parallel to this, I am not a huge bread eater, but I do like Brooklyn bagels. On my only other visit to New York, I stayed in Brooklyn and had a bagel two mornings in a row and have been salivating for another one since.
So I knew when I came back to Brooklyn this summer, I'd be buying a bagel, like, every day and also three for the bus ride back. This plan became even more enticing when my friend and hostess informed me that "the bagel store is across the street."
Except she meant capital B and capital S: the Bagel Store. Like, that's the store's names.
"They make the rainbow bagels," she told me.
As someone who hates crowds, I asked if there'd be a line. "There hasn't been as much of a line lately," she told me. "The hype has worn off a bit, I think."
The next morning my friend turned into a damned liar. I woke up to get a bagel at 9 am (on a Friday!) and found a line out the door across the street at the Bagel Store.
As it turns out (because I Googled), there hadn't been a line recently because the store had closed briefly to renovate to allow for more customers. D'oy!
Since lines annoy me and I really wanted an egg and cheese bagel (rainbow bagels are pretty, but did I really want one? That bad?), I dragged my friend further down the street to another bagel place. There, we quickly ordered. I asked for an egg and cheese bagel (standard) with two egg whites additional because I needed more protein than a single egg.
What I got was a bagel that dwarfed a single egg white. As in, just a bagel with one egg white. I did think I paid too little for what I requested, but who was I to question a good deal?
But this? What was this?
This was desecration compared to my previous Brooklyn bagel experience. I had been given a dead, deformed, rancid alley cat three months expired compared to the holy infant conceived by a virgin I had tasted years prior. (I can't decide how bad an analogy that is.)
My friend will testify: I sat on a bench outside this disgrace of a bagel vendor and mourned my bagel.
So the next morning I set out to make amends. We would go to the Bagel Store. I would get both my egg whites and cheese on a bagel AND a rainbow bagel. No force in heaven or hell would stop me.
Incidentally, this was the night I broke an Uber, but that's another post. Also, I hadn't seen the prices yet. Since I'm not an investigative journalist, I didn't record the bagels' exact prices, but I'm fairly confident the rainbow bagel cost $3.95 before cream cheese.
Has no one told them it's flour and sugar? Maybe an egg? $4? Okay, Donald Trump.
But I'm a millennial. I had to buy a rainbow bagel.
I also had to get a bacon and cheddar Cragel (a croissant bagel). Like, oh my god. But also $3.95 before I even put anything on it. Ka-ching.
This is how it works: we arrived a bit before noon on a Saturday. You betcha there was a line. You get in line. A woman comes up to you and takes your order. You then wait. We ordered my Cragel, two rainbow bagels, and some other non-special bagel. Thankfully, we found a stool to sit on while we bid (bided? Anyone?) our time. A sign warns you to check your bag before you leave the store. You will not be refunded for messed up orders once you leave.
That came back to haunt us. Because I didn't check the bag. Because we had been waiting 30 minutes. Because I could not bear to wait any longer once they called my name.
This meant we ended up with my egg white and cheddar Cragel (#blessed); a rainbow bagel with Funfetti cream cheese (the standard accompaniment); my friend's non-special, forgotten bagel; and a rainbow bagel with jalapeño cheddar cream cheese.
Rainbow bagels are sweet. I don't know if you expected this fact, but they are. It's not a savory breakfast. It's a cake. That's why they suggest Funfetti cream cheese.
So jalapeño and cheddar on a cake? Who in this world would request that? Maybe the dead, deformed alley cat I was handed the day before, but surely not I or any of my friends.
"What is this?" I said aloud as everyone feasted on their bagels.
Lesson learned: check your bag before you leave.
And, you know, I still went back the following morning before I bussed home to Richmond. I ordered the exact same Cragel and the rainbow with Funfetti (since mine had been desecrated). But even a rainbow bagel desecrated with jalapeños and cheddar is not a dead, deformed alley cat.
Brooklyn bagels live up to their hype. Cragels even more.
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