Burns My Bacon: Why Only Asiago?

As a born-and-bred New Yorker, I’m predisposed to believe that bagels should be good enough on their own not to need much gussying up. Blueberry bagel? No thank you. Chocolate bagel? Only if you’re in Disneyworld. A good bagel should be fresh, doughy and fluffy enough that all it needs in the way of embellishment is a good schmear.

But I have to admit there is one new-school bagel variety I can get behind: the increasingly omnipresent asiago cheese bagel. Embarrasingly, I believe I first tried this kind 8 years ago at an Einstein Bros. Bagels shop, of all places (I know, I know, but I lived in DC at the time, and ES has already lamented the quality bagel crisis there).

I loved it. That rich, slightly burnt orange-y cheese on top can really take a mediocre bagel and make it great. Since then, I’ve seen asiago bagels all over the country, and I’m not about it. Not mad about it one bit.

But it got me thinking: why is asiago cheese the only kind that seems to ever be baked into a bagel? Why hasn’t this opened up a whole new world of cheesy bagel delights? Where are the parmesan bagels? The brie bagels? The cheddar and havarti bagels?

Is there some physical reason why asiago cheese is the only kind that works baked into a bagel? Does the asiago lobby have the bagel bakers on their payroll? Is their a conspiracy against cheddar? I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth — it’s certainly not asiago bagels’ fault — but what’s the deal here? I want more cheesy bagels! Or at least I want some answers.

(Photo: Orijinal)

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  • Rosanne September 13, 2011  

    I see jalapeno cheddar bagels all the time…but really no other cheesy bagels.

  • gansie September 13, 2011  

    I’ve also seen – and adored – jalepeno bagels. and jalepeno cream cheese. sometimes a fiery breakfast is demanded.

  • Alex September 14, 2011  

    BS, I don’t think I knew this about you!! And all the bagels we’ve shared! You can guess that I am also a fan of an asiago cheese bagel.

    The only place i’ve ever seen a jalapeno cheddar bagel is at ABP, which, admittedly, is my snack of choice when I don’t have time for lunch. De-lish. But not because it’s a good bagel, just because jalepenos and cheddar cheese are de-lish. I would love to try a better-quality j-c bagel, though. Where are they in NYC?

  • ML September 14, 2011  

    If someone makes a brie bagel I’ll give them my firstborn.

  • John September 15, 2011  

    The shops around here have an “herb and cheese” bagel, but the type of cheese is never specified, nor is it visible. From the taste of it, it’s probably some sort of powdered parm…what I wouldn’t do for a real NY bagel.

    That being said, I love one local place that has both a jalapeno and a crispy garlic bagel. Fruit though…yeah, I’ll pass.

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