A Real Feast: Cream Cheese bagel

You’ve landed in NYC, you won the battle with your jet lag and you go “on the town” as soon as the sun rises. You’re hungry and giddy when you think of the feast that awaits you. Yes, you’ll find cuisine from all over the world here – and possibly get dizzy from the variety of choice.

But before you try out something exotic like sushi (already popular in Poland), begin with something I always start my stay with (before I move on to sushi, as well as Korean, Ethiopian or Indian cuisine). Have a cream cheese bagel. Natives of Kraków know it well: their pretzel is bagel’s ancestor (and it made its journey here from Kraków). The American cousin differs from the Polish one: it’s denser and a bit smaller. It’s already available in larger cities of Poland. 

For many New Yorkers, a bagel is the type of food they cannot start their day without. You’ll see it held by the Wall Street people, by women both elegant and not, as well as by tired workers. Why is it that this rather simple food is still making waves? Because it fulfills all the needs of a New Yorker: it’s quick, cheap, filling and – most of all – can be eaten while on the run. 

You’ll buy it from street vendors, at Dunkin’ Donuts and in all places where breakfast is being served. The prices start at $1,50. I recommend the cinnamon one. Have it toasted.

There’s more to bagels than just cinnamon or cream cheese. Other kinds are sprinkled with poppy seeds and sesame; there are blueberry and pumpernickel bagels. You can spread something on them or have the insides filled with veggies (don’t forget to slice the filled bagel first, unless you want to have the stuffing drip down your outfit). 

One thing never changes: bagels go best with coffee.