27.9.10

Paris Bagel Fix


I usually don't like having too much choice. When I go into these make your own salad places that are all the rage in Paris (though quite expensive), I feel pressured. This sometimes happens when I go into bakeries as well when I decide to opt for a different type of bread than usual and find myself stuttering as I try to quickly make my choice with a hungry line full of people behind me, tapping their feet and sighing in true Parisian fashion. Bagel shops, for example, are the kinds of places that induce lip-biting indecisiveness for me - plain, onion, whole grain, cinnamon raisin, poppy seed, pumpernickel, sourdough, garlic, sesame seed, blueberry - the options are endless and really, I'd do better with less choice. 
 Florence Finkelstein of Finkelstein's Jewish Bakery in the Marais (a MUST-stop for visitors)

Luckily, in Paris the choice is limited. Historically, bagels originate from Poland in the 17th century when Jewish families would bake them to conclude the sabbath since they cooked very quickly unlike other types of bread. In Paris, the traditional Jewish bagels are slightly knotted and a bit larger than the bagels you're likely to find in shops and supermarkets, but you're limited to poppy seed. For more options, there are American-inspired bagel shops that have opened throughout the city. David's Delicatessen in the 11th at 29 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud (though I cannot say he properly uses the word delicatessen) and Ari's Bagels just a block from the Canal St. Martin are two I've tried. 


Over the summer, Mr. Cheeseland and I headed over to Ari's to see if it lived up to American (specifically New York City) bagel standards.  With film-inspired names like "Un Saumon Nommé Wanda" (A Salmon Called Wanda) and The Big Chevrowski, they certainly win on creativity. The ingredients were fresher than I expected and the bagel slightly better than others I've happened upon at random shops that carry "American" goods (quite a misnomer in most cases) in Paris. 

 Chicken Run Away - cream cheese, tomato, free-range chicken, cheddar, arugula, honey mustard

For 8,20€, I got a bagel sandwich, a beverage and a bag of chips which, compared to prices in other cities where bagels are popular, is quite expensive. They also sell their bagels (choice of 5 - plain, poppy, sesame, onion or everything) individually at a whopping 1,20€ and offer salads, smoothies (who doesn't these days?), sweet bagels, cookies, brownies and cheesecake which is also available for private events. 

 Chocolate Banana Bread (homemade)

We took our bagels, chips and a rich chocolate banana bread for dessert and headed for a spot along the canal. The mid-summer heat had the chocolate in the banana bread melting fast, but it was a great picnic spot. Our consensus was that the bagels were good, though not extraordinary, the ingredient combinations a bit much/odd, and the price rather high, but worth hitting up in the future should that craving strike again.

I have yet to find a cinnamon raisin bagel here, though I'm not sure it would be any good anyway. What are your favorite bagels?

Ari's Bagels
8 rue Beaurepaire
75010 Paris 

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