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         I live in Madison, WI. You know, home of The Revolt. I've always found the attitude of restaurant owners in this city to be very strange. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and was brought up in a family that ate out all the time. I had the only Jewish grandmother who couldn't cook. When she made a meal, we prayed after we ate. Needless to say I know a thing or two about restaurants, and particularly about how a customer should expect to be treated. Like I said previously, a lot of Madison restaurant owners have this strange attitude, like you should be happy they're serving you, rather than being thankful for your business. It's why I'm willing to drive to Sun Prairie to eat at Salvatore's. They treat you like family there. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from Salvatore's is Gotham Bagel. A quick trip to Yelp will bear this out. My story after the croissant.

    I live fairly close to Bruegger's Bagels on Madison's West Side. They make a decent enough bagel, but they are so skimpy on their cream cheese, I just could not bring myself to do business with them any longer. I started to drive down to Gotham Bagels on Saturday's, since it's really easy to move around Madison early on a Saturday morning. For the first few months the bagels were excellent. Than sometime in September, I began to notice that all the bagels were overcooked. The garlic bagels had black garlic on them, The onion bagels had black onion on them. In addition, the everything bagels had nothing on them except sesame seeds and poppy seeds. I also noticed the same thing at my local supermarket that carries their bagels. After 3 or 4 weeks of this I stopped going. About a month ago I noticed their bagels in the supermarket started to look good again. 3 Saturdays ago I went back, ordered a garlic bagel with cream cheese, and it was delicious. Just like they used to be. Last week I went back again. This time the owner was in there. I complimented him for getting the quality of the bagels back up to their previous standards. Instead of a "thank you", I got an argument. The owner, who a week earlier had told the Wisconsin State Journal that his retail business was flat, is actually arguing with the only customer in his store at 7:45 AM on a Saturday, when it used to be busy. I said to myself "What a jackass", but didn't think any more about it.
     Today I went back. I arrived there at about 7:30 AM. The door was locked, even though they are supposed to open at 7 AM. The owner comes to the door, opens it about 3 inches and tells me "The bagels are burnt", and closes the door. I told him to "Fuck off". I got back in my car and started to drive off when he comes running out the door challenging me to a fight. He's lucky I didn't get out of my car, because I had my dog with me, and he hadn't eaten yet, and like most dogs leg-of-the-schmuck-starting-a-fight-with-my-owner is probably one of his favorite meals.
      Unbelievable. Now I know how Gordon Ramsay feels when he deals with these egotistical jackasses with empty restaurants who swear everything is great.


What is your favorite bagel?

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| 80 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for courteous service (26+ / 0-)

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:07:55 AM PST

    •  Only courteous customers are entitled ... (0+ / 0-)

      to courteous service.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:39:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then where ddoes it begin? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt, Iron Spider

        Customer says, "Be courteous to me first."
        Owner says, "No, be courteous to me first."

        With those attitudes, no one will be courteous to anyone.  How about everyone try to be courteous to each other first.  Then, if the other is discourteous, we can say, "I won't return here," or, "Sir/Ma'am, I have to ask you to leave."

  •  Great story. Well told. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, jhecht

    Hope you find a different breakfast place!

    "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

    by nzanne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:15:47 AM PST

    •  I'm going to learn how to make my own (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tinfoil Hat, Mr Robert, emeraldmaiden

      A man with a Kitchen Aid mixer and the internet is a dangerous thing, but I'm confident I can navigate this mine field. If I can make a New York pizza dough in Madison, I should be able to perfect a New York bagel.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:53:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remember to boil them. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jhecht, emeraldmaiden

        Any recipe that doesn't call for a boiling water bath before baking should be discarded out of hand.  It's the only way to get the texture right.

        By the way, what are the "goyim flavors"?  Two I didn't see mentioned are pumpernickel onion and marble rye (a mixture of pumpernickel and light rye dough).  Both delicious.  

        •  I left out pumpernickel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bill W

          I was always told bagels should only have things on them that come from the ground, like seeds, onion, garlic, and salt. Goyim flavors would be asiago cheese, or blueberry.

          I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

          by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:36:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, that makes sense. (0+ / 0-)

            I've got a fantastic place within walking distance that I hit a few times a week.  Owned & run by Russian immigrants and they do terrific bagels.  I'll sadly admit, though, that they do succumb to one of the greatest crimes one can commit against the bagel-making art -- green bagels for St. Patrick's Day.  

          •  Cinammon raisin. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Margd, Bill W, emeraldmaiden

            Otherwise known as "shiksa bagels" because no self-respecting Jewish woman or New York female would touch them..

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 01:03:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My wife is partial to those. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara, emeraldmaiden

              She's not Jewish or from New York, so I guess it's okay then.

            •  to be a bagel, it must... (0+ / 0-)

     appropriate as a vehicle for lox.  Or pastrami.  Or thick slices of beefsteak tomato and Bermuda onion.  (All with cream cheese, of course.)

              Clearly, the round bread with a hole called "cinnamon raisin" or "blueberry" or similar atrocities is not a bagel.

              Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

              by N in Seattle on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:36:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  At least he didn't try (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bladed edge, jhecht, Hastur

    to sell you a burnt one and tell you it was "good" that way . . .

    Restaurants in decline follow the law of gravity . . . faster and faster.  They cut corners in all the wrong places.  The big egos don't help . . . it's always someone else's fault.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:22:45 AM PST

  •  I'm a biyali guy myself, but your story reminds me (12+ / 0-)

    of driving to Nashville when I was in college. Just a bunch of guys in a car, and we stopped for dinner at a Mom n/Pop. I ordered the chicken and dumplings, and the dumplings were literally the lightest, I said so to the waitress, as a compliment to the chef.

    She rolled her eyes and said, "Yes I know! They're always that way when the cook is drunk."

    Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church. (-9.00,-8.86)

    by Jonathan Hoag on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:23:08 AM PST

    •  I love bialys too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jonathan Hoag

      Manna Bakery in Madison actually makes some pretty decent ones, but they're on the opposite side of town. I can't even tell you how many Sunday mornings I had a bialy with whitefish salad and a Coca Cola for breakfast after a 5 AM or 6 AM hockey practice in Prospect Park or Abe Stark Rink. Those were the days.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:49:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I get great bagels and service (4+ / 0-)

    OK, the bagels are not as good as in NYC but pretty darn good for the middle of Oklahoma.  I love the irony of gettng the bacon, chives and onion on an everything bagel.  I'm pretty sure the place would not get a Kosher badge << LOL >> but the service is great.  They know my order as I walk in the door but they always hope that I will venture on to a different order.  At Christmas, we exchange food gifts ... they give me Christmas bagels and I give them tamales.

    Hope you find a better place.

  •  I love plain bagels (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bladed edge, Jonathan Hoag, Mr Robert

    with lots of cream cheese on top, and lox.

  •  My husband and I were having brunch (9+ / 0-)

    at a small local restaurant for the first time. I ordered Eggs Benedict which were topped with stone cold Hollendaise when they arrived. I called the waitress over and asked her to have the dish corrected. She looked at me and said "No." I said "What?" in disbelief and then she said "Okaaaaay . . . With great reluctance she took my plate and literally dragged herself back to the kitchen. About four minutes later the kitchen door is kicked loudly open and the female chef comes running out  to our table. She is holding a hot saute pan full of quivering yellow blobs floating in translucent goo which she shakes in my face and screams "THIS is what happens when you reheat Hollendaise!!!"

    Needless to say we never went back. Not surprisingly, the restaurant closed not long after.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:44:39 AM PST

  •  lox, cream cheese, thick slice of red onion on an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, meg

    onion bagel.....heaven in my hands, then heaven in my mouth.

    "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." Dick Cheney –April 30, 2001

    by bladed edge on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:45:11 AM PST

  •  It's still Wisconsin. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarbonFiberBoy, jhecht

    Standards are a little different than NYC. They fry cheese. They put pickled brussels sprouts in bloody mary's. It's a zen thing.

    Ever heard of The Old Fashioned? My kid wants to take me there.

    The revolution will start when somebody starts it. Well, somebody started it. OWS. It's on.

    by lexalou on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:01:47 AM PST

    •  The Old Fashioned is really good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Great burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches, plus an awesome selection of beer.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:39:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. I don't trust my son's taste in (0+ / 0-)

        restaurants. He'd be as likely to suggest the Iron Skillet. Maybe his standards are getting better, lol.

        The revolution will start when somebody starts it. Well, somebody started it. OWS. It's on.

        by lexalou on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:48:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Heh... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, ZappoDave

    Yeah if the food is REALLY good, I can deal with bad service. But otherwise I do expect that people I am spending money with are courteous.

    Just went to Ess-a-bagel yesterday. Whitefish sandwich on a bagel. WONDERFUL! Service is brusque, but okay but they do such a good business and have such a good product who cares if they don't smile so much.

    Don't know if/where you can get a good bagel in Wisconsin. Not exactly the bagel capital of the world. Still, enough Jews have passed through there you'd think there'd be SOMETHING.

    For a price, when I go to the C. elegans meeting in Madison I could bring you some Ess-a-bagel bagels...

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:02:08 AM PST

  •  Ha! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, skohayes

    Yeah, I know the owner of Gotham Bagel.  Not personally, just from going there a few years back when they first opened their shop on Mifflin (I no longer live in Madison, sadly).  The guy totally prided himself on being a New York hardass -- loud, boisterous, super-friendly, or a super dick depending on circumstances.  I saw him tell off a few customers.  It's almost comic 'cause it's hard to take the guy seriously.  He's like a character out of Seinfeld.  

  •  Sounds like... (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like you might want to complain to company headquarters:

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:08:50 AM PST

  •  Buy'em frozen from Brooklyn (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, ZappoDave

    Was amazed to find great bagels and bialys at my supermarket. Turns out that they get them frozen from B&S Bialy in Brooklyn and heat them up. Maybe they can ship to you?

    •  They look like a wholesaler (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but I can find out if they're selling to anyone or if they have a distributor in Wisconsin. Good to know, but I'm still confident I can learn to make them.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:45:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, ZappoDave, meg

    Two places have decent bagel in Seattle. We drive down and buy a couple dozen at a time. Service is always very good. Thick schmear. Beautiful young people with tattoos and rings and studs. Ringless moms with small children. What is the world coming to. I love it.

    People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:35:35 AM PST

  •  My son made up a joke (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, farmerchuck, ZappoDave

    when he was 6 or so

    What kind of bagel can fly?
    A PLAIN bagel!

    Bagel nirvana to me is a plain bagel with scallion cream cheese and sable.

    •  right with you there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I can't find a decent bagel up here in western MA, so first stop when I get down to NYC about once a month is exactly what you specified.

      "I took a walk around the world, To ease my troubled mind. I left my body laying somewhere In the sands of time" Kryptonite 3 doors Down

      by farmerchuck on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:48:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oregon here .. (0+ / 0-)

    and about an hour from Portland at that, so ... I learned, through a recipe on this site. How to make my own bagels. And you know what? They are pretty damn good. Really just making a really hard dough, letting it rise - forming bagels - and then boiling them in water with a tablespoon of sugar - then put on rack and put your kosher salt and garlic on and bake.

    At any rate -- then you bake them any way you like, I DO like mine, with the garlic a little burnt and cream cheese? I can use as much as I please.

    No lox though ... not my thing.

  •  A contrarian. Well, what can I say. (0+ / 0-)

    Agreed that it's bad to be an asshole, whether you are an owner or a customer or the schmuck in between who had the misfortune to works there.  

    It is curious to me that you wanted a "thank you" from a man whom you have clearly thought of as a "jackass", and to whom you said "Fuck off".  While I appreciate that bad services and a bad attitude are never a good idea, my guess is you aren't the easiest customer either.  

    What Gordon Ramsey does, as a culinary and restaurant business professional, is offer professional advice and direction gained from his years in the business.  There is a world of difference between that and someone who has eaten a bunch of bagels for many years, and knows what he likes.

    You are entitled, as we all are, to respectful treatment, even in the face of provocation, I would suggest you might have applied that entitlement even to the "asshole" who yelled at you.  

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:37:26 PM PST

  •  I live in the wilds of Indiana (0+ / 0-)

    So bagels here are from Panera's. I haven't had one yet altho I like them toasted with a smear. Once we had a small place here called "Big Apple Bagle" and while they had lots of goyim bagels, my favorite "smear" from them was salmon mixed in cream cheese with the toasted bagel. (They got swallowed by a corporation and only had fruit cheese afterward and eventually went out of business.)

  •  H&H Bagels deliver overnight! (0+ / 0-)

    Great stuff!

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