I spent 2 years living in Manhattan, and have many vivid memories of my early days there – visiting a deli to order a bagel and coffee – and being intimidated by the frenetic pace and quick fire questions of the counter staff. The get-’em-in get-’em-out – “wadda-u-want?” approach to customer service took a bit of getting used to, especially since I was fresh off the boat from jolly old, gentle-paced England.
I knew I’d transitioned from “visitor to NY” into “local” – when I could order my bagel and coffee during the daily quick fire challenge, and got annoyed with “visitors” who fumbled and umm’d over what they wanted to order.
Bagel places in LA just don’t have the NY edge. Most of them are Californian watered down, sanitized versions of their NY counterparts. So the bagel experience just isn’t complete.
I was in on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica yesterday. Not a usual haunt, but as I walked to my car, my senses were assulted by the smell of fresh coffee and toasted bagels, and I was drawn, hypnotically, to the outside of New York Bagels & Deli.
It’s an unobtrusive store front, and truth be told, a little dodgy looking. But the aroma’s lured me to the front door, and that one step over the threshold transported me 3,000 miles, and once again I was in Manhattan.
The interior decor and ambiance was classic NY, and the bagels and coffee didn’t disappoint! And for that extra touch – all the staff wore, classic blue NY Police Department tee-shirts – with the shop logo – NYBD. I left there smiling, vowing to return.