The bagel you see in the picture above is the result of Twitter. To wit: I announced on my Twitter feed that I was in Boca Raton for Thanksgiving (that’s where my family lives) and Shuna of eggbeater responded: “You’re in Boca?! Will you make a stop at Way Beyond Bagels? Have an egg onion for me? and Veggie schmear?”
Bagels are my madeline; one bite and a lifetime’s worth of poppy seeds and bad breath spill forth. I’ve written much about bagels on the web–this tribute to Bagelworks in Boca Raton, a bagel love letter for Serious Eats–but I’ve written very little about a bagel topping that’s been a constant in my life and in the lives of many Jews who I hold near and dear: whitefish salad. What’s whitefish salad? Let me tell you all about it.
Comfort of comforts–the white fluorescent lights, the angry senior citizens shoving in line–is there a taste more sweet than the taste of a Bagelworks bagel, shmeared with lox spread and whitefish salad, topped with sliced tomato and onion and washed down with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice? Welcome to Bagelworks in Boca Raton, the locus of my happiest eating from ages 11 to 18: from middle school through high school, with several visits between college and now. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I asked mom to take me here before going to my dad the dentist for a cleaning. The past flooded into the present as I entered that sacred space: a space that knew me as a gawky teenager, a first time driver, a failed candidate for student council president. There among my people–New York Jews transplanted to Florida–I eat the way I was meant to eat: with my hands, unafraid of bad breath, wiping cream cheese off my lips with a napkin and eyeing the waitress to refill my water. When I’m at Bagelworks, I’m at home