Bagels & Brew: Where Great Food & Friends Come Together!
Check out our listing on the Lake Forest Catering Directory: http://bit.ly/2kWOx4F
Bagels & Brew is a family-owned business created to offer great food, exceptional service and reasonable prices in a neighborhood atmosphere that encourages people to come together. Our fast-casual eatery specializes in traditional bagels made on site with fresh ingredients, as well as a variety of other home-style breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert fare including our piled high sandwiches and crisp fresh salads that are sure to satisfy any appetite. For freshness and quality with exceptional value, made your way every day.
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over 1 yearThanksgiving Bagels are here!!
Brighten up your day with our Thanksgiving Bagels!! For a limited time only come on in and enjoy these super cute bagels!
over 3 yearsTurkey Sandwich on a Thanksgiving Bagel!
Nothing like a Cranberry and Turkey sandwich made with our limited time Thanksgiving bagels to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving next week, right!? 😉🦃 #bagelsandbrew
over 3 yearsPsychedelic-colored unicorn bagels are the best of a yummy menu at Bagels & Brew by Sarah Bennett
No, you're not having acid flashbacks: 2016 really was the year that all our favorite foods became psychedelic-colored swirls of their former selves.
Since the beginning of the year, I've seen a do zen once-bland-colored go-tos showing up on Instagram as edible rainbows. Everything from sushi and doughnuts to grilled cheeses has been subjected to the rave-space dye jobs wrought by amateur photographers and blog-bred chefs.
And even though most of these so-called "unicorn foods" live on Pinterest boards more than in reality (where many belong, to be honest), there are a rare few that have crossed over into retail sale.
The most prominent, the Unicorn Melt, originated in Hong Kong and debuted Stateside at Chomp Eatery in Santa Monica last year. It's a grilled cheese with a bevy of food coloring added that I've watched draw lines of attendees not only at Chomp but at local food fairs like OC Night Market and Oozefest.
But it's the unicorn bagel — the other unnaturally multicolored dish that's made itself more publicly available this year — that's been tugging at my heart. A take on the beloved hunk of breakfast carbs that's been fueling my mornings for as long as I can remember (what can I say, my dad was a Jew and I'm a sucker for them), the unicorn version turns its ordinarily yellow dough into mesmerizing twists of blues, purples, reds, yellows and whites.
Perhaps appropriately, the creation first appeared at a bagel shop in Brooklyn, which still sells more than 800 a day and has a shipping program for fresh batches that currently has a months-long wait.
Thankfully, Orange County residents don't have to fly to New York or wait for another shock-food festival to come to town to try one of the most talked-about new food inventions of the year. As I discovered this summer, the only unicorn bagel on the West Coast is just another reason to rekindle your love for South County staple Bagels & Brew.
Since 1994, the three-deep coffee shop, bakery and café have earned its reputation as the morning version of "Cheers," where locals stop in for a breakfast sandwich, a cup of caffeine and some chit-chat with familiar faces on their way into the day. It doesn't hurt that they've always made no less than 30 different kinds of bagels every day — from basic (poppy, whole grain) to esoteric (vegetable, French toast) — that you can cover with more than 15 different kinds of cream cheese, from sweet honey walnut to herb-infused.
When I lived nearby, I'd stop by the original in Mission Viejo for one of their boiled-and-baked everything bagels loaded up with lox-laden cheese (can they just make pillows out of that stuff?) and a cup of serve-yourself coffee. If I knew I'd be skipping lunch like a good office drone, it was all about the Sunrise Bagel, with fluffy egg, smoky bacon, and melted yellow cheese, or a hearty scramble, which comes with its own bagel and schmear on the side.
In its salt shakers alone, it had more personality than any other bagel chain in OC. And with an expanded menu of salads and sandwiches, it won me over from anywhere else trying to peddle bagels on the side. It's the kind of place that's easy to take for granted when it's your everyday stop, but damn do you miss it when there's nowhere around to get a decent bialy stamped with garlic and sesame seeds.
Bagels & Brew has since added a spot in Lake Forest and another in Aliso Viejo, replicating its success as the neighborhood coffee shop while expanding its kitchen's reach into Angus burgers, tacos and (at the Aliso location, anyway) bowls of pasta, wholesome steak dinners and sweet griddle breakfasts (that cinnamon swirl French toast!).
Somewhere along the way, the company decided it needed to reach out to the next generation of future regulars and created a social media presence, including a well-followed Instagram, which over the last few years has been cluing the world into this homegrown bagelry's new wave of creative baking.
Around Valentine's Day, they post photos of their red heart-shaped bagels. On St. Patrick's Day, they make batches of green ones. Before Fourth of July, they make patriotic bagels out of red, white and blue stripes. When the Golden State Warriors play, there are limited-edition blue and gold bagels for sale. New menu items include baby back ribs and a pepperoni pizza bagel, draped in tomato sauce and cheese like a grown-up Bagel Bite. And instead of concocting more savory cream cheeses, this year's seasonal spring flavors included sweet-as-frosting Oreo cream cheese, toffee caramel crunch, s'mores and more.
In the context of this young, hip, Instagram-posting, dough-dying side of Bagels & Brew, a unicorn bagel was almost inevitable. That the already trippy bagel is given a kiss of vanilla and the recommended schmear is the so-called Birthday Cake Cream Cheese (let's be honest, it's basically cheesecake with sprinkles) is just a dessert-for-breakfast bonus.
For now, unicorn bagels are only available Thursday through Sundays and, even though you'd think the novelty might have worn off after six months on the market, they still sometimes sell out. But don't worry. Even if there aren't any unicorn bagels left, there are still baskets full of normal-colored classics that — whether covered in plain cream cheese or used as the bun for a mushroom Swiss burger — will never go out of style.
posted October 27, 2016, LA Times
SARAH BENNETT is a freelance journalist covering food, drink, music, culture and more. She is the former food editor at L.A. Weekly and a founding editor of Beer Paper L.A. Follow her on Twitter @thesarahbennett. ... Read more
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