So much caraway under that sesame.
So much caraway under that sesame.
Tom is one of our bakers. When he bakes Fine Bagels, he wears a very special tshirt. We think it makes the bagels taste even better.
If you’re into the noise scene in Jerusalem (and no, we don’t mean feral cats in heat baying at the moon), then surely you know Lietterschpich? They sound terrible. That’s probably because we don’t understand anything about what they’re trying to accomplish with their music. Not to mention we started off on the wrong Google foot when our first find was this abomination of a cover of Monkey Gone To Heaven. We mean, what the hell? Before Berlin, we’re from Boston. There is only one version of that song, and the Lietterschpich version is not it.
So despite the music, there is something we love about Lietterschpich. And that’s Tom’s T-shirt. Because of this:
We asked Tom a few questions:
Fine Bagels: What did you say the band’s name means again?
Tom: One Liter of Cum.
Fine Bagels: Nasty.
Fine Bagels: Tom, how did you come to possess such an excellent shirt? Surely you’re not a fan of this crappy band.
Tom: I stole it from a guy I was dating.
Fine Bagels: Respect.
Tom: Finally I have a place to wear it.
Fine Bagels: Have the Jewish people suffered enough?
Tom: No. Never.
Fine Bagels: Thank you, Tom.
We make them, but we don’t get them. When we started Fine Bagels, we didn’t make everything bagels. Why didn’t we make them? Because we’re pretty sure that the everything bagel is a gimmick. There’s going to be one dominant flavor point, be it onion or garlic or salt or nigella, and then the rest is just there to get stuck in your teeth. Meanwhile you chose it because you think you’re somehow getting more when, really, you’re not choosing anything. Getting an everything bagel is the absence of choice. If we want to eat sesame, we get a sesame bagel. If we are in the mood for onions, we get an onion bagel. Our idea of an everything bagel is getting a dozen different flavors and eating them in one sitting.
Eventually, a few months into business, we gave in to demands and started making an everything bagel. So what if they look like the floor of the kitchen after the baking is done for the day? Everyone but us loves the everything bagel. We sell twice as many everything bagels as any other flavor and 8 out of 10 people who both to tell us that they have a favorite flavor say it’s everything. To that, we say: No. You do not have a favorite flavor.
Did we sign on to be spokespeople for Christmas shopping without the slightest hint of irony? No. We did not. But we are vain like you wouldn’t believe, not to mention completely smitten with Victoria Met Albert‘s yearly “All I want for Christmas” campaign, so we were thrilled to do it.
Victoria Met Albert is a lifestyle-ish store that sells homewares and his/her clothing and shoes. That sounds like a pretty bla endorsement, but it isn’t. It’s so much better and different from all those millions of little boutiques that pepper the Helmholtz and Boxhagener neighborhoods which, frankly, all blur together in our heads as one big sea of applique felted owl handbags. Victoria met Albert is a standout not just for how well Will and Ilke chose their products, but also for how they design their windows, advertisements, and general business face. It’s the kind of place that gets you all aspirational and full of ideas. They have new shipments coming in every week, which makes it well worthwhile to traipse moonily through on a regular basis.
The shoot was with Mark of Captivation on Schliemanstrasse in Prenzlauer Berg. Laurel’s main instinct in front of a camera is to slouch and emphasize her lack of orthodonture, but somehow Mark talked her out of that and managed to take a really nice picture. He is an excellent photographer.
This was Miguel’s first time at Fine Bagels. He’s an art director for movies and television. Miguel is even responsible for a lot of the beautiful stuff in The Grand Budapest Hotel. See how we just name-dropped that movie into this? That’s because we’re very impressed and can’t think of a casual way to mention that. You can see his work on his website and on his vimeo.
It was the hat that caught our eyes and encouraged us to barge in with our camera, but the more we ignored this gentleman’s personal space and right to privacy, the more we noticed. Such nice little details. The withered flower in the rope hat band. The safety pin on the coat sleeve just above the tortoise button. And the outfit on the whole, it’s a lot of well-chosen vintage. The coat. The hat. The shoes. An outfit that, in theory, could slip into the realm of preciousness and affect, but that doesn’t at all.
Miguel was a very good sport so we gave him a candy bar.
Mandel bread. Mandelbrodt. Jewscotti.
The recipe we use at Fine Bagels is the oldest family recipe we have. It goes back at least a hundred years and is credited to Gertrude Cooper Klemens, our great-grandmother. Mandel means almond in Yiddish and German and so no big surprise that the most traditional version of this sliced cookie has chopped almonds. We add sultanas but you can mixed anything into a mandel bread batter…cranberries, chocolate, pistacios, prunes, dates, hazelnuts…rainbow sprinkles?
It starts with a very sticky egg and oil batter. Honestly, we hate to make mandel bread because the bowl is such a pain to wash. We’re almost not sure why the family bothered to make it a century ago. They didn’t have a KitchenAid.
There are as many different recipes for mandel bread as there are Jewish grandmothers. If you feel so compelled, Bubbie Ruth and Grandma Annie are less secretive or at least better at sharing than our Nana Klemens.
Maybe the initiating event of the aging process is that time when you watch a trend from your youth reemerge among all the new cool kids. And you’re all cranky about it because they are pretty sure that they just invented the wheel. Then you give it some thought and realize that that was you the last go-round, self-satisfied in contextual unawareness. The good thing about Doc Martens showing up everywhere again is that we still love them. So we’ll forgive our staff for making us feel old. We might even get a new pair ourselves.
Wenhui in blue and black