While you need not be Jewish to appreciate a good bagel, you certainly don’t expect to hear the words bagel and Mexican cultural heritage in the same sentence. And if by chance those words are spoken together, they rarely refer to “guac and lox.”
Unless, of course, you are at Los Bagels in Arcata ordering the you-wouldn’t-think-so-but-it’s pretty-darned-good smoked salmon and guacamole bagel of the same name.
Yes. Los Bagels. Founded in 1984 in the heart of Arcata by Dennis Rael and several partners. Rael was raised in a Jewish-Latino household and after a story way too long for this write up, started a bagel business that “combines a Jewish ethnic tradition with the customs and tastes of Mexico.”
Admit it. You want some examples. OK. Let’s start with the best jalapeno bagel you are ever going to taste.
Not multicultural enough? How about Huevos Los Bagels? Maybe you’d like the sushi bagel. Or empanadas and potato knishes. Or a garra de oso (bear claw.) All on Los Bagels’ menu.
But way down here at the end of this recommendation is the real point. These folks make some of the best bagels you will find anywhere. They are the real thing, no matter what culture you use as a measure.
Los Bagels are a little chewy, slightly sweet, and look and taste nothing like the pale, blond, air-filled imitations you find in most coffeehouses and chain store bagel outlets.
They also have something they call a slug. It’s a torpedo shaped bagel, without a hole, encrusted with toasted seeds and spices. Put your guac and lox on a slug and you have just found a reason to drive all the way up the north coast.
The wild caught smoked salmon and albacore are first rate, as are the baked goods, soups, salads and scrambagels. So: live and be well…and try Los Bagels bakery and café.