Cal-Mediterranean, with a reputation also for their brunch and bagels, their top ranking (tied with specialist Beauty Bagels) in a recent Chronicle list spiked my interest.
They open at 8am, and by 11am the overnight proofed bagels had long since been baked. A plain bagel, ordered not reheated and sliced, had well-defined blistering. I could hear the crust crackle as I gnawed a piece off, and the dense but not leaden crumb immediately popped the remaining bagel back into its original shape. This is an extraordinary bagel, especially since it hadn’t come recently from the oven.
I also got an everything bagel with cream cheese, which they throw on the grill. Some charred bits of crumb were a turn off, and I felt the overall heavy toasting distracted from the quality of the bagel more so than a typical light toasting. Ideal ratio of salt in the Everything mix, with a bit of fennel and no caraway to my knowledge.
The rest of the menu looks pretty interesting. What do y’all think about the rest of the food?
Go early— a guy behind me got the last two bagels and this was a Tuesday. The guy at the counter mentioned that lots of people from outside the neighborhood were starting to come in for bagels and it’s funny because they’re not a bagel specialist.
I don’t know if they have, or will need to institute, limited number of bagels per order, but at least when I went they didn’t say anything. However, hearing that they ran out after the customer behind me, I did feel like a vulture and plan to eat a full meal + bagels when I return!