Friday, October 31, 2008

The Best Bagel Restaurant: Toronto's Bagel World

I hope that there are no holes in this story. Last week I was in Toronto, Ontario for 10 days. My family took me for brunch at Bagel World which has been a Toronto tradition for 45 years. They had great grilled cheese bagels, but not great service. The bagel restaurant has great nosh, a full menu, but what I want to describe to you was the scene.

Although I was born and raised in Toronto, I think I was too young to really understand the Jewish Bagel Scene. Let me try to paint the picture for you. I could hear the Seinfeld music in my head as my aunt, best cousin and I walked through the doors into the restaurant. We walked through the Bagel World restaurant doors and I could feel all eyes on me. The customers were trying to see if they knew me or if they knew who I was with. The restaurant had no color on the walls, was packed and we combed the room to see if there was an empty table to sit at.

While walking through Bagel World, to the back empty table, someone grabbed my Aunt's arm as if they knew her. Turns out my Aunt hadn't seen this lady for years. I felt that since I had left Toronto and Canada at the age of fourteen, there was no way someone would know/remember me. I was wrong.

We sat down at the table, took a look at the greasy menu and all ordered coffee and orange juice. Every time the front door opened the restaurant customers seemed to stare at the fresh meat walking in. My Aunt asked my cousin " See that not at that table at the table by the window. Isn't that Mr. Cohen and you went to school with his son?" My cousin looked over at the man. "No ma. But they do look alike."

I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on a bagel and orange juice (can you hear the the Seinfeld music?). The good news is that the bagel was wonderful. I commented on how good the bagel was to my family and was told "of course it's great. Bagel World has been here for 45 years."

Then my Aunt tells me to look over at a table two tables away from us and asked me if I recognized the woman sitting there. "Come on Auntie. I moved to California a long time ago I am sure I don't know her!" My aunt told me that the woman knew my mother. I suggested that I should go over and say hello or kiss her on the cheek as my mother died 11 years ago and this could give her a fright.


We finished up our meal and asked for the check. An elderly man walked past us and said, "Oh what lovely ladies." Bagel World a tradition, packed full of customers and I would go back to the restaurant just for the scene. Do you have the feeling that maybe they know something that we don't?

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