after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

knead bagels – like a caterpillar waiting to pupate

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t says:  Sooo, I was a little bored-and-hungry after work the other day, and, having read all about the coverage on foobooz, decided to venture on out to Knead Bagels.

November 2014, Thursday Morning, All by Myself.  It was a quaint little operation they had going on there.

a several-person operation

the counter-person in action …

Now, there is some be some sort of bohemian anti-efficiency clause in Philadelphia – like you can’t open up a cool-but-quick place to eat – it must be the least efficient, most confusing process ever.  Now, I realize that this was only their secon day open, however, I foresee an operation very similar to Spread Bagelry and Rotisseur.  You go in, place an order; they work on the order, and then when it’s ready, it comes back out to you.  Simple, right?  Kinda.  But this arrangement is fragile.  Take Spread for example – you walk in and place an order.  That order gets put in line while some suer-cool dude with his hair tied back takes his sweet time cooking eggs whilst singing along to whatever’s playing on overhead.  But of course, your order then needs to be proof’d by the person who took your order before it goes out … but that takes away from her ability to continue taking orders … oh and did I mention the pick-up and order-taking occurs at the same place?  The result is a giant cluster-storm, as the line extends out the door.  Oh – and because the customers tend to be quite the self-entitled Rittenhouse type, the idea of a “line” eventually breaks down and it’s a free-for-all with people huffing-and-puffing, rolling their eyes, coppin’ ‘tude, and placing orders out of turn).  If only Spread’s bagels weren’t so damn good, I would have written them off a long time ago (btw – be careful – their inefficiency at keeping track of fresh vs. not-fresh bagels means I got a super-stale most-likely-day-old one – I would have gone back to exchange, but the ginormous line of Lululemon gear and tight-jeans made me too self-conscious about creating too big a scene).  Ok, so we’ll see if Knead Bagels also has the same systems issues.  I will say that Rotisseur, after many-a-months, did manage to streamline their operation – they can keep up with the lunch rush without issues now – so there is some hope!

Now, as for the bagels.  What did I think?  Well, I tried the togarashi-scallion-lime as well as the black-sesame-kimchi.  You know – I can say they were “ok”.  The flavors were great!  But ultimately, I was underwhelmed.  I couldn’t figure out why.  So I thought: these flavor combinations are something that I’d expect in a small plate of some sort at a restaurant – not a huge bagel.  Consequently, to have the staying power to last through a full bagel, balance is more of an issue.  While they were tasty at first (probably because of the novelty), I grew a bit tired of them after a few bites – there’s just something about having that much cream cheese that was distracting.  If only there was a way to put more flavor in the bagel, and let the cream cheese be more of an accent.  For example, what if instead I had a scallion-onion bagel with togarashi-lime cream cheese?  Or a garlic-kimchi bagel with a sesame spread?  I don’t know if it can be done, but if it could, I’d totally get those again.  Now, there is a bagel that was on my radar that needs to be sampled because it sounds awesome (spiced apricot, lemon-goat-cheese spread) – so I’ll be back.  We’ll see how they fair on round 2.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

14 November 2014 at 12:59pm

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