Food Focus: Bagels Better Bagels at the Bin By Tamsen Butler My grandfather was always very particular about bagels. If you handed him a bagel that he didn’t consider authentic, he would grumble something in Yiddish and start talking about what bagels were like in New York, where he was originally from. Heaven help you if you asked for “just a little cream cheese, please,” because when it was time for bagels with my Papa, you had a thick shmear of cream cheese. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit of a bagel snob because as you can see, I come by it honestly. I’m guilty of more than once turning my nose up at generic bagels and trying to explain the difference between a real bagel and a big puff of white dough with a hole in the center to my friends. Instead of lamenting to you about how difficult it can be to find good bagels in the Omaha area, I’m going to do you a favor and direct you to the places where you can go and eat a “real” bagel around here. Bagel Bin Honestly, I could probably end the article right here after having told you to go to Bagel Bin if you’re looking for an authentic bagel. This place is at the top of my list because it’s a kosher, New York style bakery that doesn’t kid around when it comes to bagels. Whether you’re looking for a simple plain bagel with a flavored cream cheese like strawberry or garlic herb, or if you’re heading in to try my personal favorite of an onion bagel with chive spread, you’re likely going to be pleased with what you get at Bagel Bin. A word to the wise: if you do indeed eat an onion bagel with chive spread, you may want to have some gum on hand to freshen your breath before you walk into your morning meeting. Trust me on this one. Bagel Bin offers many other menu items that are quite good, but believe me when I say that this is the best place for bagels in town, hands down. 1215 South 119th Street www.bagelbin.com Sunday 5:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday 5:30 am to 1:00 pm Tuesday – Saturday 5:30 am to 5:00 pm All the Others Not that I like lumping a bunch of other places into one big mess of bagel recommendations, but if you’re not going to take my first bit of advice and head to Bagel Bin, or if you’re on the other side of town or need a quick bagel fix so you want a drive-thru, there are a few other places that I would recommend. I’m not usually very keen on including big chains within my recommendations, but Bruegger’s Bagels is a good choice when you need to quickly get a bagel and get on with your life. One thing I will applaud Bruegger’s Bagels for is their impressive selection of cream cheese flavors. While I usually go for the onion chive flavor, I’ve always wondered if the bacon scallion cream cheese might be worth a try, although I’m not entirely sure what type of bagel would go best with that flavor of cream cheese. Whole wheat? Sesame? I don’t know. Another option if you want a decent bagel but can’t make it over to Bagel Bin is Panera Bread, although I don’t recommend ordering something like a “cinnamon crunch bagel” and think that what you’re eating is really a bagel at all. Sure, it’s tasty if you like that sort of thing, but if I handed one of these to my Papa he would have certainly denounced it as a bagel fraud and called it a pastry instead. Some of the coffeehouses in town offer some pretty good bagels, but I find that these are relatively hit-or-miss, so if you’re going to buy a bagel with your morning latte I’ll just advise caveat emptor on that one. So while there are other places you can stop for a quick bagel fix, when you’re ready for an authentic, tasty bagel, head over to Bagel Bin. Or, as my Papa would say, go get a little nosh.