SF is not good at making bagels. In fact, we're really pretty awful at it, which might be why we inspire two-hour waits to sample just one bagel flown out from New York City, the holy temple of circular carbohydrates. Even BuzzFeed reporter Jessica Misener knew what she was getting into when she set out to sample the many bagels that SF has to (but probably really shouldn't) offer. An NYC-dweller who lives between Brooklyn stalwarts La Bagel Delight and Bergen Bagels, Misener spent a week on our coast sampling the worst and, uh, worst of SF bagels, and she knew it setting out. "An earthquake struck Napa Valley 10 minutes before my flight took off, a clear warning from Mother Nature to stay in flour paradise on the East Coast. But I could be stopped by no act of God."
The misery that followed Misener on her journey was predictable, but no less humorous. She started her eating at Noah's Bagels, where the "shoddy" offerings are "flatter than me in middle school," and didn't have any more luck with the "pasty and white" wares of Russian Hill's The Bagelry, a specimen from Katz's in the Mission that "loung[ed] uncomfortably in my abdomen," and the "small and flat" sun-dried tomato bagel at SOMA's The Bagel Bakery. By this point, "just thinking about the word 'bagel' is starting to give me the dry heaves."
Misener found the only two (relatively) good bagels of her journey at the spots generally considered to be the Bay Area's best: House of Bagels in the Richmond (the best she can say is it's "pleasant," though she likes the cream cheese), and Beauty's Bagel Shop in Oakland, which is the clear winner of the entire journey. "I think I have found Bay Area bagel heaven, or at least purgatory. The bagel is crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside," she says. But overall, she's unimpressed: "This week I ate a couple decent bagels; some borderline questionable bagels, and some that made me question my own existence as a human being and eater of food. I wonder if I could ever live in a land where bagels are indistinguishable from chewable hockey pucks. Here's an idea: DISRUPT YOUR OWN BAGELS, TECH PEOPLE." We're in agreement with that request—and with the one that follows it: "Please, never come to New York and rate our Mexican food."