ES Local: Quest for Lox and a Schmear
Editor’s Note: New contributor Elle joins the DC-based ES team with — what else — a DC rant. Welcome, Elle, and good luck on your quest!
I’m on a hunt. No, a quest. A quest to capture a surprisingly elusive prize: an awesome bagel (toasted!) that comes with awesome cream cheese (on both sides!) and awesome lox, somewhere (anywhere!) in DC.
On New Year’s Day, a friend of mine hosted a “hangover brunch” at her parents’ place in Manhattan. A few DC folks made the trip up to NYC for the NYE festivities, and our resident New Yorker was treating us to an impressive spread of quiche and French toast and Bellinis and….goodness, I can’t even remember everything she put out. But in addition to those made-from-scratch offerings, she had a bag of fresh bagels from Pick-a-Bagel and a heaping plate of lox.
My initial reaction? Something along the lines of “omgsofreakinggood.” I managed to polish off a pair of perfectly doughy, chewy bagels piled up with cream cheese and thinly sliced lox in a blink. Then it occurred to me that maybe decorum dictated I should stop hogging that heaping plate all to myself.
For the past few months, this memory of a typical New York bagel experience has been haunting me. And, sadly, DC Bagel Quest 2010 has so far yielded nothing but disappointment. I walked away empty-handed from the deli at Federal Center Southwest, Dunkin Donuts in Eastern Market and a handful of bakeries in Penn Quarter. I picked up serviceable sandwich versions that didn’t quite hit the spot from Bruegger‘s downtown and Bagels & Baguettes on Capitol Hill. Both of these spots seem to lean toward loading up on capers and onions to make up for skimping on the lox, despite the $8 price tag.
Am I the only person in the greater metro area wildly troubled by this void in our culinary landscape? Do the ex-New Yorkers around here have a secret spot they might be willing to let me in on? My only logistical requirements are that it’s open on Sunday mornings and tolerant of sweatpants. Or should I just give up and (gulp) try to make my own lox at home? Bagel lovers, I implore you. Help a girl out!