Friday, June 17, 2005

Woodland Hills, CA - Western Bagel

Bagels; the beloved comfort-food of the east coast. I once remarked that you go to the west coast for fluffy, finger-sticky doughnuts, and the east coast for hearty bagels with satisfyingly elastic skins and yeasty, plump interiors. Put another way, the Dunkin' Doughnuts in Boston is not a place that you want to frequent. If you have an irrepresible sweet-tooth craving, a triple chocolate chip bagel from Finagle-A-Bagel more than does the trick!

Every now and then, though, there are exceptions to the rule. I believe Western Bagel is one of them. I haven't sampled enough of their bagels to know if it is the bagel itself that is successful, or if it's the toppings that steal the show. I'm inclined to lean towards the latter because even though each bagel had the requisite toothy outer skin (created by a quick boiling process before the bagel is finished off in a baking oven), the interior dough was still on the lighter side. A nice piece of bread, true, but lacking the density of a New York bagel.

We had a quick and dirty snack affair with an 'everything cheese bagel' that was microwave warmed (you can also get your bagel toasted) before being delivered into our hungry hands. We tore into its warmth, taking care not to dislodge the mounds of soft, sweet chopped garlic, crunchy poppy seeds, yellow onion, cornmeal, and sesame seeds hiding under a rather greasy blanket of cheese (mild cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack jalapeno cheese). It was so delicious, that it wasn't until we were halfway through that thoughts of pictures belatedly popped into our mind. I paused, considered, and quickly (but carefully) wiped my hands of garlicky cheese grease before taking photographic evidence. Looking back at the picture, I'm glad that I did.

The next morning, I also nabbed a package of 10 bagelini's for approximately $3.50, 4" miniatures of their bagel siblings. They retained a high level of edibility over the course of the next few days, after a 10-second zap in the microwave. We also tried a jalapeno bagel (spicy without flavor depth; quite bland), jalapeno cheese bagel (a plain bagel with some spicy salsa slopped on top of it and finished off with cheese, resulting in a super-messy concoction that anyone could easily replicate at home), and a chocolate chip bagel (chewy verging on overly-tough, and the chocolate chips seemed like an after-thought).

Verdict: Try the everything cheese bagel and get a bag of bagelinis to eat the next morning before you run out of the house.

Western Bagel
21749 Ventura Boulevard
Woodland Hills, CA 91364


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