Monday, November 9, 2009

Bagels and Lox in West Philly

On Sunday morning, a group of students gathered in Hillel to have a time-honored, traditional Jewish brunch. Two students, Alex Winters and Andrew Roberts, organized the brunch, ordering lox, bagels, and cream cheese from three eateries. The suppliers were Cream & Sugar, Metropolitan Bakery, and Koch's Deli. The goal: to see who had the best lox and bagels in West Philadelphia.

There were three tables, each numbered, with loads of fresh bagels, lox and cream cheese sitting on tables (a.k.a. stations). However, Station 2 decided to prepare the sandwiches ahead of time, taking away the opportunity for us to make it with our own proportions. I took half of a plain bagel from each table, slathered it with cream cheese, and laid on some lox, and then sandwiched it. After eating all three, we reviewed the bagel, lox, and cream cheese from each place on a 1 to 10 scale.

Station 2 had the typical greasy lox (which I enjoy) but unfortunately didn't put enough of it on the pre-made sandwich. Station 3's lox was just a little on the meaty side, and the lox at Station 1 was a nice in between. The flavors of the bagels from station 2 (I also tried their everything) was a little too strong, and the bagel itself was also a little bit hard, making it a little too chewy. Station 1's bagel initially also felt a little hard on the outside, but softened up on the inside and didn't take away from the sandwich. Station 3's bagel felt and tasted closest to a New York bagel and added to the sandwich. Station 2 initially didn't put enough cream cheese on the bagel for me to get an accurate idea of how their cream cheese was, but they provided a slightly runny chive cream cheese to add on. The taste was good, but the texture wasn't right. Station 1's cream cheese was similar to Station 3's (both traditional cream cheese) except that 1's was a touch sweeter.

The participants received  the results of the voting a few hours after eating along with what the number of each station corresponded to. Metropolitan Bakery (Station 2) and their prepared sandwiches finished third in all 3 categories, all at least one point behind the 2nd place finisher. Station 1 corresponded to Cream & Sugar, and they had the distinction of having the best cream cheese and best lox. However, this wasn't enough to finish first overall, as they only won those 2 categories by a slim margin over Koch's (Station 3), which had the highest overall score due to their large margin of victory in the bagel category.

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