Thursday, May 14, 2009

Santiago: A Bagel-free-zone

It is official. We are living in a bagel-free zone.

Of course there are no bagel shops, no "bagels" in the supermarket, nor at the bread shops. But you used to be able to get a bagel at Gatsby, one of three eating options at the Santiago airport before you go through the gate. The others are Le Fournil, downstairs in arrivals which has amazing bread/focaccia, and giant lockers in which to lock up your luggage, should you feel so inclined. Also flirty oldman waiters, if that's your style. Another café opened less than a year ago, an interrogation-bright spiffy little café right before Immigration, the better to dose yourself with overpriced sodas, tiny lattes (that's cortado to you), and some snackity items before your perusal through the amazing duty free shop (which, due to someone's marketing genius, you must walk through to get to the gate, though the part where you actually take out your credit card and buy something is all on you).

But if you want more of a meal before you bid your peeps a good flight, (no pun intended, but wouldn't that have made for a good where my peeps at entry at National Geographic's Intelligent Travel Blog? (contest is over, as far as I know), you'll have to go to Gatsby. There's nothing particularly great about it (boing, literary joke falls flat), they'll sell you salads and sandwiches and such. What they will not sell you is a bagel, despite there being one on the menu. Mamaj and I decided to split a bagel (a bagel! here in Chile?! impossible!) before heading off to the great culinary unknown on our trip to Uruguay. Imagine our surprise when the sandwich came on a baguette. I called the waitress back over to explain the mistake. "Oh no," she said, "the bagel comes on a baguette." Interesting. I wonder if I can get it with a side of bread. We ate it. It was good, though decidedly un-bagel-like.

There used to be a place where you could get bagels, up in El Bosque Norte, a part of prettypretty Las Condes. The place was called New York Bagels, and it was on the street Roger de Flor, which I never really understood why the first word is pronounced Royer, but we can talk about that and Llewellyn Jones some other time). New York Bagels was kind of a little satellite city within a city, all English media and foreigners, a bulletin board advertising used fridges and rooms for rent. It was darn decent. And then, like The English Reader, a former used bookstore over on Los Leones in Providencia (just a few blocks from the former bagel shop) where they occasionally had bagels and where my kindof ex nephew (following that?), now an accountant, but then an itinerant baker and Chilena heartbreaker used to work, it closed. Shuttered. Disappeared.

So as far as I know, Chile is now a bagel-free zone. Except it turns out you can make them yourself quite easily, and that they come out amazing, and you can put as many sesame seeds on top as you like, and no one will look at you strangely when you cut up olives to lay atop the cream cheese, in an attempt to get as many carbs and as much fat into your diet as possible. Because remember in Poland/Russia, how it was cold? We're going to need that extra layer (of subcutaneous fat).

Oh, and winter's a-coming in the southern hemisphere. I could fire up the estufa (space heater), or maybe I'll just put the kettle on for a spot of bagels. Can you say that? I just did.

(in the interest of full disclosure, I am eating a hallulla with cream cheese while I eat this. A bagel it is not, but remember the fat 'n carbs talk? Mission accomplished. And delicious).

Someone feel free to pop in and correct me if you know where bagels can be found here in Santiago (aside from in my kitchen). And remember, I'm from Brooklyn, with roots in the bagel mothercontinent. Not that that makes me picky or anything.

20 comments:

Emily said...

I've had bagels at Café Melba (Don Carlos in El Golf) - not quite a US-style bagel, somehow a little less shiny on the outside and more bread-y, but they do the trick. I've also heard rumors of them somewhere up in Lo Barnechea at some store that sells various kosher products, but I'm probably never going to find out for myself because Lo Barnechea may as well be Argentina.

I still miss The English Reader.

Eileen said...

@ Emily, ha! Lo Barnechea's not that far. We could grab our passports and our Bips and make a day of it! (it might take that long).

Bystander just emailed me with datos about Café Melba as well. I have breakfasted (can I say that?) there once, but I didn't have a bagel. if it's less shiny and more bread-y, it could be that they're not boiled, but I'll have to go check it out to see. Or make my own.

But hey, when you're game, we can do a field trip. And if you have a line on feta or edamame, please inform me, stat!

Abby said...

I still remember the very sad day I tried to go to New York Bagels and it had closed. :(

Hallulla with cream cheese sounds yummy. I'm going to try that.

Eileen said...

Bystander also reports that Café Melba has bagels to go for $450 CLP each, plain or sesame. Phone 232 4546, Don Carlos 2898.

She also mentioned that someone told her that the Mood pastry shop (which I have never heard of, shockingly!) on Louis Pasteur also has them.

On a totally unrelated note, have you guys tried Laura R's cheesecake? Maybe I'll have that for breakfast instead. It is excellent.

Andres Kazan said...

I was gonna post the same. Café Melba is great, and I've seen bagels in the menu, though I haven't tried them yet. Great blog, btw!

planetnomad said...

Maybe you should post your recipe? As far as I know, the only place to get bagels in all of North Africa is in Cairo. Which is kind of far. I tried making them once and they were tasty but odd. Not quite. In fact, please send me your recipe if you don't post it.

Marite said...

You make your own bagels? Do you have a good recipe? I made some once earlier this year, and they were good, but not quite THAT good. I'd like a good recipe! :)

Richard said...

Damn you. Now I am craving a bagel. And it is midnight. Bah. (grumbles in fear of bagel-invaded dreams).

Still Life in South America said...

I met the owner of Café Melba on Tuesday night. Really genuine lady. I think she's an Aussie. She owns Akarana in Las Condes as well. I heard nothing but good things about her restos.

I'm just thinking--toasted everything bagel with plain cream cheese, tomato, and lettuce. That's probably asking too much in Santiago.

Eileen said...

Wow! what a lot of clamor for a bagel recipe! And do I smell a gringas' outing to Café Melba?

This is the one I used:

http://www.cooksrecipes.com/bread/homemade-bagels-recipe.html

with the replacement of chancaca (solid beet sugar, I think, panela would work in other Lat. Am. countries, or else a little molasses and some water) dissolved in water to replace the malt syrup, which we don't get (or maybe we do, but I've never seen it!).

I think the differences in bagel results are probably largely due to the flour. Chilenas, I would have used Selecta white flour, sin polvos de hornear (obvio), and those of you outside of this country, I'd mess around with the flours you can use. I used a thermometer to get the yeast water the right temp, which I'd never done before, though I've made bread a number of times.

This recipe made 17 mini bagels. I did not use parchment paper, but did toss down some chucoca (corn meal) on the baking pan, which was dark in color ("nonstick"). There was no baking stone, and it is likely that my oven was a little warmer than they recc'd, since my oven has two temps: turbo and nuclear.

Good luck!

Katie said...

I am similarly in bagel withdrawal over here in Argentina, as there's nary a bagel to be found within 500 km of Necochea. However, being the true Philadelphian that I am, I quelled my craving for carbs the other week with some homemade Philly soft pretzels that were quite delicious.

Bystander said...

Dell Taylor. owner of Melba, is from New Zealand. Great breakfasts at Melba, btw, bagels or not.

Margaret said...

Ahhh! Bagels!! Now I'm gettng nostalgic! I used to buy bagels in the States, deep-freeze them, wrap them tight and get them here still cold. Then a bagel place opened up in Providencia (name now long forgotten) and I thought I was in heaven!
I'm with Richard: Damn you (and Still Life) for putting the "everything bagel" idea in my head now when it is absolutely impossible to obtain!
So it looks like you're going to have to go into the bagel business!

Eileen said...

Sorry to all for planting what we can't have in your minds. More than everything bagels I miss everything flatbread (do you guys know what I'm talking about? crunchy flatbreads with all the toppings but no bagel underneath? Not bagel chips.

And now I'm wondering if the new SAG enforcement would allow for bagel importation. Any ideas? Poppy seeds are seeds after all. You could grow a bagel poppy. Or a poppy bagel.

I also have to agree with Bystander that though I haven't had the bagels, they have actual American-style (and maybe kiwi?) breakfast at Café Melba, and it's a must hit for early morning sustenance, though I have not yet had the bagels! I practically feel like Dell Taylor and I should have a personal introduction at this point.

Sharon said...

I hate bagels. I hate how everyone kept giving me bagels during my time in the US. I think they only did it for laughs, because I was told that my constant and futile efforts to get rid of the extra bread were particularly amusing. But yeah, bagels: too much bread!
(loved all the cream cheese varieties though, but I rather eat them with rye)

Katie said...

Mmm, crunchy flatbread...yes, I love those! Great now I'm craving flatbread too. Thanks, Eileen! :p

Joanna said...

hahahaha. I felt violated when I ordered a bagel once at Gatsby and they said "Ya no trabajamos con esto".

They do have them at Melba on Don Carlos/El Bosque Norte but its more like pan de molde in the shape of a bage.

Eileen said...

Uh-oh, if Joanna says the bagels aren't bagels, I'm even a little more suspicious than I was yesterday. Like me, Joanna's from NY (only she's even from "the city" where as I'm woefully bridge-and-tunnel (except only bridge), from Brooklyn). But being from NY, we have different bagel criteria than many others. Time will tell...

Anonymous said...

We sell bagels! We are a family company that makes homemade bagels and those who've tried them tell us they taste like the real thing! We have a page on facebook: Chile Bagels. Check it out to see our products and ordering information :D

Dorothy said...

the bagel has returned to Chile! As of last week there is a cafeteria called BagelMania in Vina del Mar. Receipe from Manhattan with a nice chewy texture. I love their sundried tomato-bagel! Yumm