Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bantam Bonanza

The first time I saw Bantam Bagels, I thought they were genius: I mean, it was a bagel you could eat like a donut hole, filling and all. Any possible bagel flavor, suddenly it's yours in bite-size, reducing calorie count and increasing novelty factor! Big wins all around. 

Bantam Bagels was founded by Nick and Elyse Oleksak, two former Wall Streeters. The idea came to Nick in a dream one night, and now there's a full-fledged storefront in the West Village. Bantams, as they're known, come in all manner of flavors and fillings, from Hot Pretzel (salt bagel with cheese filling) to Cookies and Milk ("brown sugar walnut bagel with sweet chocolate chip cream cheese"....oh yes). 

Bantam was kind enough to invite me to sample some of their delightful offerings, fresh from the toaster and to take home! I felt like such a lucky girl, choosing from shelves upon shelves of flavors to make my baker's dozen of bantams. I nibbled on some, and also shared with my dear roommates. My favorites were The Hangover ("cheddar cheese and egg bagel topped with melted cheddar cheese filed with bacon cheddar cream cheese and a drizzle of maple syrup" --even upon writing that my mouth is watering. Not to mention it is probably perfect for a hangover) and the aforementioned Hot Pretzel, which actually tasted like its namesake. Wild. 

Should you find yourself Bantam-bound, remember to bite the hole! Say what?

Yep. The hole in the bagel where all that yummy filling goes. If you don't bite it, it'll squeeze everywhere but your mouth and you don't want that. Also try the bagels toasted if you so desire! Bring them to a party--they stay for about 4-6 hours without being refrigerated. Their menu also changes seasonally, so there's always something interesting and new to try. 

It's amazing to see the ways creativity blossoms here in New York. Because really, if you're looking to try something new, this is the place to do it! Open minds and curious tastebuds make for a great combination, which Nick and Elyse clearly recognize. But you don't really have to worry about trying bantams--they're just bagels, with stuff in or on them that you'd probably eat them with anyway. For the  most part, anyway; I mean, I had never eaten a bagel with bacon cheddar cream cheese before, but man I'd sure love to do it again. 

If you want to check out Bantam Bagels, they're in the West Village at 283 Bleecker Street, just before 7th Avenue. Happy Bantam-ing! 

The Box Lunch: "Plain bagel topped with crushed, roasted peanuts filled with peanut butter and sweet strawberry jam"
The Hot Pretzel 
The Hangover 
The Bleecker Street: "Pizza dough bagel topped with a thin slice of pepperoni. Filled with marinara mozzarella cream cheese"