Warm Sesame Bagels
Here’s a satisfying Vancouver afternoon. Take a walk along the seawall from Granville Island, by Vanier Park, along the beach, up to Kits Pool. It’s a pleasant stroll, but you deserve a post-exertion treat. Circle back to Siegel’s Bagels on Cornwall and order a Montreal-style bagel to go.
Are there bagels baking in the wood-burning oven? Those are the ones to order. If you’re lucky, they might be warm sesame or rosemary rock salt. But, you can’t go wrong with garlic, onion, plain. The hot ones are good unadorned, ripped piece by piece, right out of the bag. Then again, you might want to go all out with fresh cream cheese, Montreal smoked meat or lox.
Joel Siegel started his business in 1990. Having worked in the bagel business in Montreal, he was surprised to find that no one in Vancouver was making these boiled and baked bagels that are crispy on the outside, dense and chewy at the heart.
When you visit Siegel’s, you can watch the staff pulling bagels in and out of the oven on long wooden planks called ‘shebas.’ “I had to bring someone from Montreal to build them,” Siegal said in an old interview with the Vancouver Sun. “No one here knew how to build the ovens and the shebas…no one had even heard of those.”
The secret is out, but walk fast. The smell of your warm bagels in a newly cracked paper bag might attract a peckish crowd.
Written by Elizabeth Newton