The New York Times has just published one of its most controversial articles ever, one that identifies the country's best bagels as coming from—gasp!—California. "Sorry, New York," reads a portion of the headline for Monday's article by Tejal Rao, which describes a "West Coast bagel boom" that has bakers "excelling with regional styles." It touts the bagels made at Boichik Bagels in Berkeley, Calif.; Courage Bagels in Los Angeles; Midnite Bagel in San Francisco; and Pop's Bagels in Culver City. "This is where the writer (me), a former resident of New York City (Brooklyn), smugly tells you that these bagels are good for California bagels, excellent by West Coast standards," Rao writes. "But no." He notes the bagels from Boichik's Emily Winston, modeled after those at New York's H&H Bagels, are indeed "some of the finest New York-style bagels I've ever tasted."
Though SFGate is proudly boasting, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded with three words on Twitter: "Yeah, absolutely not." "Stop the madness, @NYTimes," added Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, per News 12 Bronx, claiming: "THE. BEST. BAGELS. ARE. IN. BROOKLYN." But Food & Wine's David Landsel, a native New Yorker, agrees with Rao that they are not. There was "a time when New York was synonymous with the utmost quality, a time when bagels were nearly always sensibly sized, golden brown and micro-blistered on the outside," Landsel wrote Friday in a roundup of the country's 50 or so best bagel shops. "Then things took a turn," Landsel noted, claiming the quality ingredients once used in New York bagels are now too often replaced "with the cheapest flours and, worse still, those dreaded dough conditioners." The result, according to Landsel, is "bloated monstrosities." (Read more bagel stories.)