Monday, October 18, 2021

Bubbe's Bagels

JannyLou saw the review in her inbox.  A New York transplant's search for a real bagel in Tucson led to the creation of a new shop - Bubbe's Bagels.  It's on the other side of town, but, as she said, Sunday morning is a good time for a drive - so off we went.

Bubbe is Yiddish for Grandma; it's what Taos Bubbe's grandkids call her and what I adapted for her blogonym.  The shop definitely channels a Bubbe like mine.  On a shelf in the storefront was a red and white plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, a paperback Hadassah recipe collection, silver Shabbat candles and a wine cup for Elijah, as well as small coffee cups labeled shuguh and cawfee..... just like we said it in New York.  There are no personal touches in the chain bagel emporia.  This felt special.

The line was out the door at 8:45 this morning, but it was moving fast.  There were pretty yellow cafe tables and chairs in the small courtyard just outside the bagels.  JannyLou and TBG sat and rested their achy bones while Fast Eddie and I stood in line to order.  

We got bagels to go and sandwiches to eat there and when we went to pay I saw a bag with Taos Bubbe's name on it.  There aren't that many people with her exact name, and she lives in that neighborhood; Fast Eddie and the cashier and I had a fine time speculating about it.

I waited for the food, looking at the shelf and listening with half an ear to the cashier as she engaged each and every customer in a quick conversation..... and then I heard her say somewhere on Long Island.... I think he's from..... Oceanside?

I grew up in Oceanside, home to some of the finest bagels in the land.  I shared my surprise with the general public; the cashier apologized that he wasn't there.

It didn't matter.  I had a smile on my face before I took a bite of food.  

Fifteen minutes later,  as we chewed our way through bagels and lox and cream cheese with thinly sliced onions and tomato and a smattering of capers, there was Taos Bubbe, saying Hi! and pulling up another yellow chair, because that is what old friends do when they randomly run into one another.  

There were introductions and conversations and then she went her way, with her bag of bagels and white fish instead of lox, and we went ours, with our bags of bagels (and no fish).  

I'm trying to think of the descriptor for how I felt.  Hamish* comes closest.  The bagels had character, weren't doughy or crusty, had the little holes that three days of fermentation creates - they felt right.  Sitting with our friends, running into a friend, eating what I always ate on Sunday mornings - that felt right, too.

For sure, I'll go back.... if only to meet the man who created the space which brought the joy.  After all, we're lantzmen.**

*homelike, in Yiddish, connoting warmth and ease and familial comforts 

**from the same town, in Yiddish


  1. Please take us here FIRST when we come back to visit. Thanks. Love.

    1. Done! South Bend sorely needs a bagel shop!!
      a/b (mama)


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