APPETITE Bagels and doughnuts in their many iterations — beignets, malasadas, bomboloni, etc. — are two of the more comforting breakfast or anytime foods. It's tougher than it should be to find proper bagels, but alongside notable SF sources, the East Bay welcomes a few new arrivals. Here are some tasty spots to hit for an epic morning pastry quest. (When in the East Bay, I recommend fueling up at Berkeley's just-opened coffee and wine bar Bartavelle — 1603 San Pablo Ave, Berk. www.facebook.com/BartavelleCoffeeWine — with a well-executed Sightglass Coffee cappuccino in the tiny-but-charming former Cafe Fanny space.)
First, bagels. Like anyone who has ever lived near or in NYC, I miss New York bagels. There's nothing like properly boiled and baked bagels, with dense, chewy insides and cracklin' exterior, topped with excellent schmear and lox. We get little here comparable to Manhattan favorites Barney Greengrass, Ess-A-Bagel, and Russ & Daughters. The short-lived Spot Bagel got close; now in San Francisco the excellent Schmendricks pop-up in Fayes Video and Espresso Bar (Wednesday and Friday mornings, 3614 18th St., SF. www.schmendricks.com) takes me back. The Schmendricks family — Brooklyn native Dave Kover, his wife Dagny Dingman, lawyer-turned-baker Deepa Subramanian, and her husband Dan Scholnick — know their stuff, and I anticipate a permanent storefront in the near future. Until then, the excellent bialys at nearby Wise Sons Deli (3150 24th St., SF. www.wisesonsdeli.com) will have to suffice on off days.
Then there are Montreal-style bagels, less chewy than a NY bagel, slightly thinner yet dense, with a touch of char from wood-fired baking. Beauty's Bagel (3838 Telegraph Ave, Oakl. www.beautysbagelshop.com) has been the rave of Oakland since opening this summer. The bagels are hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, then baked in a wood-fired oven. Yes, it's NY prices: $9 for closed, $12 for an open-faced bagel sandwich, or $1.65 per individual bagel in a few choice flavors like sesame, poppy, onion, or everything. But the quality is significant. After apprenticing at a Montreal bagelry and working as a chef at Delfina, Blake Joffe (along with girlfriend Amy Remsen) made roughly 800 bagels a week at Addie's Pizza Pie in Berkeley before opening Beauty's. Serving Healdsburg's coffee king, Flying Goat, they also craft chopped chicken liver, deviled eggs, cream cheeses/schmear and pickles in house, sourcing smoked trout and lox. It's a fresh lox, scallion schmear, tomato, red onion and capers bagel sandwich that makes me smile.
On to doughnuts. SF masters the best in both at old school Bob's Donuts (1621 Polk, SF.), particularly at 1 or 2am when they're pulling those gems out of the oven, or the newer gourmet wave at Dynamo Donuts (2760 24th St., SF. www.dynamodonuts.com), with beautiful Campari or spiced chocolate doughnuts. Oakland gained two doughnut newcomers this summer, Donut Savant (1934 Broadway, Oakl. www.donutsavant.com) and Doughnut Dolly (482 B 49th St., Oakl. www.doughnutdolly.com).