Dining Reviews

Boil Before Baking

dining MainStBagel2Main St. Bagels offers traditionally made, unforgettable breads

I was a lucky teenager during the time my mom was earning her degree in food sciences. Her homework assignments included perfecting pâte à choux, the pastry basis of cream puffs, and making bagels.

I was intrigued when she tossed the shaped bagels into a saucepan of boiling water before baking the eggless yeast-leavened dough in the oven. A minute or two in boiling water serves to set the crust, which not only contributes to its chewiness, but also constrains rising to achieve the familiar dense interior.

At Main St. Bagels, in the shopping center where OSH is located, they boil their bagels daily, and then bake them on stone to crisp their crusts. I counted 22 varieties ($.99) plus four topped with cheese in the oven ($1.45). You’ll also find bagel dogs ($3.50), muffins ($2), cookies ($1) along with both plain ($2) and flavored ($2.50) croissants, all baked in-house.

The company was founded in Silicon Valley by Cambodian immigrants who had previously operated a Chinese restaurant. The word has it that a customer from Capitola urged them to open a branch here.

Main St. offers numerous spreads for your bagel, from regular or low-fat plain ($1.99) to white fish ($3.99). I enjoyed both the tahini-flavored hummus and the salty lox on a Parmesan-encrusted bagel. Many are also packaged to-go in the refrigerator, which also houses a very wide selection of beverages.

There are breakfast bagels beginning with egg and cheese ($3.25) and increasing in complexity to egg with bacon, avocado, tomato and pepper jack cheese ($4.95).

We stepped up to order lunch before seeing a movie as a tray of just-baked chocolate croissants was being loaded into the pastry case. As each sandwich was ordered, the cashier put our chosen bagel into the slicer and then the toaster to save time.

The Turkey and Avocado ($5.25) with pepper jack cheese ($.75), served on a crisp sourdough bagel, was layered with Boar’s Head brand turkey breast, cucumber, delectably sour pickle slices, red onion, tomato and lettuce. The delicious BLT ($4.45) was sandwiched between slices of a pretty green-tinged spinach bagel which was topped with crisp shreds of flavorful Parmesan. The bacon was nicely chewy, and the summer tomatoes delightful.

Hot, cold, frozen and espresso drinks are also freshly made. The iced chai latte ($3.50) was sweet and refreshing. Decadent is how I found the Banana Split Smoothie ($3.75). Within the whipped cream-topped ice cream-based treat, I could taste the flavor of bananas and strawberries interlaced with chocolate.

Main St. Bagels & Co., King’s Plaza Shopping Center, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola, 477-9919. Visit mainstbagels.com. ★ ★ ★

On Tap Aug. 10
Santa Cruz County Beer Week concludes with a beer festival at the grassy Aptos Village Park where 70 craft beers will be available for tasting. Live music genres range from a Michael Jackson tribute to the blues. Although beer has been called liquid bread, other forms of nourishment will be available for purchase.

Presented as part of the California Beer Festival, proceeds benefit the Gen Giammanco Foundation which provides financial assistance to local scholar-athletes. 

Santa Cruz Beer Festival, Saturday Aug. 10, Aptos Village Park. 12:30 until 5 p.m. Adults 21+ only. Tickets $45 or $70 for VIP early admission available at californiabeerfestival.com.

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