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Stone

H&H v. Tal

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For those of you who don't know, the historical stereotype is that the "West Side Jew" was the poorer immigrant from Eastern Europe (Poland, Russia, Etc.), and the "East Side Jew" was the more affluent immigrant, mostly from Germany. (O.k., I don't mean to start a discussion on that, so if you disagree, let's not fight, it's not important.)

I was in Tal Bagels (86th & 3rd) yesterday morning waiting in a long line to pick up some bagels to bring to friends in Westchester. My sister went to grab two little pints of orange juice from the cooler, no doubt at $5.75 each. I said, "why don't we just pick up the orange juice in Ardsley. We can get more for cheaper. And why don't we just buy the bagels up there, so we don't have to wait in this line."

"But these bagels are soooo much better," she said.

"Ahh, nice to see you've become the UES snob you detest. You grew up on Ardsley bagels. And if you want good bagels, why don't we go down the street to H&H."

"These are much better than H&H," she said. "They're lighter, and not so chewy."

"That's a roll," I said, "not a bagel. And what the hell is a 'flat bagel.' I'm sure they didn't have those in the shtetl."

"What's a shtetl?" my goyisha sister asked.

Then the guy standing in front of us chimed in, "Tal is much better. H&H are for people who like heavy bricks."

I was going to pull Marshall McLuhan out of my pocket, but I just sighed, "ooh, you East Side Jews. Shouldn't you be sitting in front of the tree opening your Christmas presents this morning?"

Then I proceeded to order a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese, and we all had a hearty ho ho ho.

So, which is better Tal or H&H?

(I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it.)


Edited by Stone (log)

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I do feel impelled to respond to your characterization of Upper West Side Jews, since you made it: The Upper West Side is where Jews moved when they were wealthy enough (with the emphasis on "wealthy") to move out of the Lower East Side. It's also where they kept their mistresses (remember the line "sexy ladies from the eighties who are indiscreet" from "Forty-Second Street" of 1932?). Upper East Side Jews were German Jews, so they were older money, but it's historically inaccurate to think of the people who moved into those big doorman buildings as in any way poor.

OK, back to bagels...


Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan

 

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Then I proceeded to order a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese

I hope that was artistic license, Stone!

Seriously these types of bagels are an abomination... I once saw a "pannetone" bagel once at one of these shi-shi bagel places... I wanted to take a flame thrower to the place!


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I once saw a "pannetone" bagel once at one of these shi-shi bagel places... I wanted to take a flame thrower to the place!

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

It's amazing what kind of stuff gets passed off as bagels around the country. Jalapeno bagels, cream cheese bagels with the cheese baked into the bagel, even bagels with ham and cheese baked into them. Abomination indeed!


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I still love Murrays bagels on 6th and 12st, and it makes me laugh whenever someone gets mad that they wont toast them. multi grain is the best there,,,,,,,,,,,,,


"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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Stone, to be clear, H&H Bagels East on Second Avenue near 81st is not related to H&H Bagels on Broadway on the UWS or to the H&H Bagels factory near the West Side Highway (the latter two are co-owned).

Tal has substantially better bagels than H&H Bagels East, because H&H Bagels East's bagels aren't particularly good at all. As for Tal versus the West Side H&H, I think Tal bagels are better because they're denser and less sweet. H&H bagels are too cakey to stand up to strict bagel scrutiny. They are an enjoyable treat especially when warm, but as bagels they fail. This was always the opinion of old-timer UWS Jews -- as someone who lived on 69th and Columbus from birth through age 18, we almost never ate H&H bagels. We utilized a variety of other places, most of which are now gone. H&H in my opinion owes its dominance to the later arrival of an undiscriminating upscale clientele. Those who grew up understanding bagels are on the whole not particularly fond of H&H.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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New York…For Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, it was a Solomanic decision to force the East Side H&H Bagels to go by the name in the bankruptcy proceedings of the mid-80's and to allow the Westsiders to use the name H&H Bagels. As a result, the East Siders, owned by Perry Alexiou, will be known as H&H Midtown Bagels East while the larger well-known West Side business, owned by Helmer Toro, will be known simply by the name H&H. But the judge's decision also contained a romantic reference to the bagel which he said rose "from the obscurity of the tenements to become an American icon." He described the Bagel as "crisp, mellow-brown skin and a delectable, chewy interior."

--from Kosher Today


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Putting an end to a long-running dispute over naming rights between two Manhattan bagel stores, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ruled last week that H&H Midtown Bagels East, on Manhattan's East Side, may continue to do business under its very well known name. Its cross-town rival on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has long claimed exclusive rights to the name and attempted to persuade Hellerstein to bar competition between the two. The East Side store prevailed on both counts. Both bagel stores, which sell nationally, must indicate in their promotions that they are not affiliated with each other. "This is a victory for my clients, who can now get back to providing New York and the world with their product under a name their customers know and love," says RICHARD A. SPEHR of MAYER, BROWN & PLATT (New York), attorney for H&H Midtown Bagels East. Spehr is available for interviews and the decision is available.

--from Jaffe Legal News Wire Service


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Stone, to be clear, H&H Bagels East on Second Avenue near 81st is not related to H&H Bagels on Broadway on the UWS or to the H&H Bagels factory near the West Side Highway (the latter two are co-owned).

Well that explains a lot, doesn't it?

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I'm also not sure one can characterize Tal as an East Side bagelry. Isn't there one on Broadway and 90th? Do we know the chronology?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm also not sure one can characterize Tal as an East Side bagelry. Isn't there one on Broadway and 90th? Do we know the chronology?

Well, that stuff was all atmospherics. I can't even say that I have a strong opinion about H&H v. Tal.

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I'm going to throw a wrench into this -- Tal Bagels has a branch on the West Side -- B'way btw 90th and 91st.

Edit: Oops, I see FG already mentioned this. Guess I should read things more closely.


Edited by bloviatrix (log)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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For those of you who don't know, the historical stereotype is that the "West Side Jew" was the poorer immigrant from Eastern Europe (Poland, Russia, Etc.), and the "East Side Jew" was the more affluent immigrant, mostly from Germany.  (O.k., I don't mean to start a discussion on that, so if you disagree, let's not fight, it's not important.)

Not to fight - just trying to understand - are you referring to the Upper East and West sides, as Pan suggested?

The lower East side was home to immigrants from Eastern Europe without a nickel to their name, garment workers, sweatshops, shift sleeping, and tenaments - at least for the first generations like my grandfather. This is well documented by Jacob Riis and others. Who knew those classes in Urban American History would come in handy someday?

Back to bagels, please. Wish I had some to compare.

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I was going to pull Marshall McLuhan out of my pocket, but I just sighed, "ooh, you East Side Jews. Shouldn't you be sitting in front of the tree opening your Christmas presents this morning?"

Then I proceeded to order a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese, and we all had a hearty ho ho ho.

Every time I read something on this site, I end up spitting food and drink at my computer screen. :biggrin:

I've never even heard of Tal bagels. Now, of course, I'll have to give them a try. Probably this weekend. H&H bagels are sort of ubiquitous. They're okay, but I don't think I'd call them especially good. It would be nice if Tal bagels fit that description. My benchmark for comparison: the bagel place on Mosholu Parkway in the 60's. They don't make 'em like that anymore. :sad:

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I can't help the visual that pops into my head when I read the title to this thread.

Highly motivated bagel fans stoning each other with stale bagels and yelling in exaggerated accents about their favorite doughy, boiled and baked treats and insulting each other with barbs about ancestry and neighborhoods...............

It would make an excellent cartoon. :wink:


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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What we are all HURTING for in the recent threads, about Katz's, New York Chinese Food, Schmaltz, Brisket, Ruggalah and especially Bagels and Knishes, Appetizer Stores and Dairy Restaurants can be said in one word repeated 3 times for effect.

TRADITION ! TRADITION ! TRADITION !

This is become so true that it almost hurts. It's also why I'm sure that the next money making restaurant food success will be in what I like to classify as NURSERY FOOD will esculate.

Looking over the posting during the previous few months I personally feel that to many diners have become infactuated with contrived food, tapas [grazing?], ethinic mixtures. [fusion] fussiness [contrived overdecorated plates] and also shock effect.

To me the reality of the dining experience is related to the success of the business.

Based upon the actual cost of putting together so many of the Menus being served there are unnecessary labor and costs of food expenses that will lead to business failure in the future especially since it's now the landlords custom to offer short leases at high rent based upon percentages of sales.

That is the reason so many truly good restaurants , bagel bakeries or any food related business were able to sustain business for generations. The were often set up and operated Traditionally.

I still don't feel that a machine made bagel is in the same class as a traditional hand made bagel. In my tummy there no comparrison. I also tend to shudder when looking at all the varieties offered, not only in bagels but also in cream cheeses.

Funny thing is I don't feel i'm getting older, or wiser. Maybe i'm developing "Thum".

Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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The Upper West Side is where Jews moved when they were wealthy enough (with the emphasis on "wealthy") to move out of the Lower East Side.

For some of them, that's true. But the Upper West Side is New York's dominant Jewish community because Jews came there from all over for a variety of reasons. Many Jews moved to the Upper West Side from Yorkville (aka the Upper East Side), many moved from Harlem when Harlem went into decline, many moved there directly during the post-WWII wave of immigration, and many came on account of the arts and academic culture in the area. Many followed the flow of synagogues and other Jews in all of this. All one needs to do is walk up Broadway and look at the stores and the people to see that the Upper West Side has a culturally rich Jewish tradition encompassing everything from Orthodox to non-observant, and rich to working-class.

On some of the other points that have been mentioned here: though the luxury buildings on Park and Fifth Avenues tend to house the richest people in the city, on the whole the real estate on the Upper West Side is more expensive and desirable than on the Upper East Side, so it is not necessarily the case that Upper East Side Jews are better off than Upper West Side Jews. I don't know of an average-income statistic, but I bet it's not all that different. Also, while the Upper East Side has a smaller Jewish population than the Upper West Side, there are many strong Jewish institutions on the Upper East Side, most notably the 92nd Street Y. Only with the recent opening of the JCC on the Upper West Side is there a comparable institution over there, whereas the Y has been around since 1874. Temple Emanu-El is the largest synagogue in the world and the largest reform congregation, tracing its history to 1845. The Fifth Avenue Synagogue is among the leading Orthodox synagogues in the world. And Kehilath Jeshurun, dating to 1872, is a very significant Orthodox synagogue.

(Edit: corrected to indicate that Fifth Avenue Synagogue is Orthodox not Conservative)


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Good article about Jews and the UWS:

http://thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=6312

I think I got most of it right.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Tal has substantially better bagels than H&H Bagels East, because H&H Bagels East's bagels aren't particularly good at all. As for Tal versus the West Side H&H, I think Tal bagels are better because they're denser and less sweet. H&H bagels are too cakey to stand up to strict bagel scrutiny. They are an enjoyable treat especially when warm, but as bagels they fail. This was always the opinion of old-timer UWS Jews -- as someone who lived on 69th and Columbus from birth through age 18, we almost never ate H&H bagels. We utilized a variety of other places, most of which are now gone. H&H in my opinion owes its dominance to the later arrival of an undiscriminating upscale clientele. Those who grew up understanding bagels are on the whole not particularly fond of H&H.

I think H&H bagels were excellent until around the time they renovated. Everything slid downhill at that time. That was the late 70s, I think.

We lived around the corner, and they were the best bagels in walking distance, anyway.

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on the whole the real estate on the Upper West Side is more expensive and desirable than on the Upper East Side,

I always thought the UWS was more expensive because there was less inventory than the UES, which for the most part has larger, taller buildings. And because the UES is filled with arrogant rich people and post-college frat parties. But that's just an observation.

(On an aside, I know work at 81st and Madison, and I've never seen so many bad face-lifts in my life.)

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all i can say is that my impression from others was that UES was more stuck up.

personally, i found both Usides equally as stuck up. :raz:


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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has anyone ever been to Ess a bagel?

it is on 52nd and third and it is great. The bagels are hung but they are the perfect balance of chewy and doughy and soft.

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The bagels are hung? :blink:

by the chimney with care

in hopes that st. nicholas

soon would be there.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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