THE BAGEL, LOX AND WAR   🥯



THE HOLE WARS  


THE HOLIEST BAGEL IN THE BAY

CUTTING UP WITH A BAGEL

BAGEL HEROS IN HISTORY

BAGEL WAR IN THE US 

 HONG KONG BAGELS


TAMPA BAY BAGEL WARS  

Einstein Brothers —  Just 40 percent of US customers choose to return to eat a “ Gourmet” bagel for breakfast at Einstein Brothers.   They are not gourmet, they are run of the mill and machined commercially made at a central plant and finished at the store by delivery.  To put it nicely, the coffee is awful, and the service lacks accuracy,  or timeliness, and the bagels suck. 

So what does a good Jewish kid do, when instead of a teething ring , gets a day old bagel ? You become addicted to good bagels, where we have a long history with —  And I went on a quest to find better bagels —   in the Pinellas side of Tampa Bay or Goyem-land  —  


 FOR THE REAL BAGELS ASK A JEWISH KID FROM BROOKLYN NY  —   

 LARGO, FL  —  Stew’s House of Bagels IN Largo, FL, -- In Plaza de Sunus Ulmerton and Belcher —

CLEARWATER FL   Clearwater Bagels located on Gulf to Bay near Clearwater High School 

I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY on Bagels, mit a smear of LOX—   Unfortunately for those that did not grow up in a neighborhood ethnically tuned into bagels causes some to think if it is round and tanned they are great bagels.  Not true, no thats just flour and water.  One must go deeper 

 Bagels have a life, the water, pre-cook, the kind of flour and the preparation —  Here in Pinellas County we are fortunate to have two stores that know real bagels. 

There are  plenty of places on both sides of the bay that claim a lot, made in house, for decades,  finest ingredient's, from Ny,  again the bagels are the real thing,  big difference.   And some of the concoctions would not work in a Kosher environment, and an egg sandwich is something Mickey Dee and Jimmy Dean dreamed up.   Real salmon and Philadelphia cream chesse is N.Y.

Two great Bagel Chefs  with followings for authenticity not corpo-guano fast food crap.  I buy from both — strictly based on where I was driving, both are great —  I also worked four years during college in restaurants in New York City and went from Busboy to Manager —  Places mentioned are the real thing. 


BAGELS AND TAXES —  Albany Ny  — The financially distraught State of NY has been enforcing a bizarre tax law which requires delicatessens and food peddlers to impose a tax on sliced bagels. Not, may I mind you, on unsliced bagels.  Thats correct, there is no tax when the bagel is sold whole.  What meshuganas!

Many in NY are calling this the "circumcised bagel law". "If the bagel had  a snip, you get taxed for the tip". Bagel aficionados are up in arms.


Hollywood Jumps Into It !  —  "This is war", said Charlin Hashton, who said, "I will never pay tax on my bagel, and if they want my bagel, they'll have to take it from my arthritically cold dead hands”.  He is dead after joining the NRA! His last move was a stupid one supporting the Child Killers —  

So carry a knife or better "The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer", bring your own favorite Philadelphia cream cheese, regular or "whipped lite" and make it happen outside the store. No slicing tax. Say a short prayer and cut.  Disclaimer: Please be careful, habitual bagel cutting can be dangerous to your waistline and health, with or without cream cheese, not to mention your fingers!


Sliced Bagel Taxation  —  What's the tax on a bagel?  It depends how you slice it—or in the case of New York, if you slice it. The extremely brilliant State tax officials, under orders from the anti-bagel league in Albany have begun to enforce “ taxation without representation”  on one of the most crucial dietary creations in the world. 

In New York, the sale of whole bagels isn't subject to sales tax. But the tax does apply to "sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings)," according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. And if the bagel is eaten in the store, even if it's never been touched by a knife, it's also taxed.  

Many bagel lovers, were caught off guard, they were not aware of the law.  One New York bagel-store owner, when confronted by the "Bagel Police", the BP found out he was out of compliance with the policy this summer when the state audited his company and threatened to jail him if he didn't come up with the "dough".   He thought they were from BP and had a check for him from the oil spill.


The Insider Solution —  The solution is the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer. It fits in a purse, a briefcase, or a bowling ball bag. You bring it to work with you. Let's be honest, more fingers have been lost to bagels than any other types of bread even the feared English Muffin.  And more teeth to day-old scones, so much you think concrete mix was within them.

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer was co-invented by a father and son team, Dr. Dennis S. Moss of Rochester NY, formerly Brooklyn and  Michael D. Moss. Michael currently lives in Brooklyn, NY which claims to be the home of the first Bagels.

The father and son combined their skills of Radiology, Medical Management, Media, Design and Innovation for over twelve years and produced the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer. The idea is now an award winning product garnering national attention, and has won numerous awards. 

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is saving fingers and limbs throughout the nation. The Classic Knife™ from Brooklyn Bagel Slicer® allows users to slice bagels and rolls without the worry of cutting yourself on an exposed blade. 

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is the ONLY Bagel Slicer that will not schmoosh or crush hot, fresh bagels! Hands down (or up!) Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is the best bagel slicer!  http://ezbagel.com/brooklyn-bagel-slicer-classic-knife.html

So we are going to put the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer to the ultimate test as soon as we have a sample for testing and can find a Sushi Samurai Warrior and see if he can do a better job using a $125.00 Santoku or Sashimi knife made in Seki Japan on a fresh made Brooklyn Bagel. My bet is with the Moss boys.  They use their noodles, they just don’t hang on trees!  Granted, English Muffins and Scones are no easy task either and present other problems like slicing your palm open, bleeding, stitches and worse walking away hungry after eating one. Bagels are more "fur-filling".


Approved By The NBA   —  The device shown gets a five out of five approval rating by the NBA, "the National Bagel Association".  Actual studies of strictly Jewish bagel addicted people, those used to eating two a day, after trying it out, voted six out of four. 

Four Jewish critics can have six opinions.  Noted also was a comment based on the movie, "Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye" who kept saying, “ on the other hand", thats because he cut his hand so often he switched and got two more cuts. Now we all know what he meant.

The rate is estimated at about eight cents a bagel based on the average cut bagel cost of a dollar, so far the jury is out on a cream cheese tax or worse, they'll go after the LOX!  Oy Gevalt!

A noted bagel chain shop owner added: “ the extra charge, filled his customers with boiling rage. It was hotter than Momma's chicken soup".  "They felt we were nickel-and-diming them, charging them to slice a bagel," he said.


Noted Historian —  Mr. Gorgan Zola commented, "this is a travesty"! "The bagel is a symbol down through the ages and doesn't deserve this tariff. Whats next, Matzo balls?  How do you tax a matzoh ball?  The size of the balls, how much schmaltz was in the soup you used, whether the balls were kneaded longer than others"?  That will need Solomon.

Our bagel is well represented in Jewish History:  Moses had all the Pharaoh's chariot wheels secretly replaced with hand molded Bagel dough replicas. When they hit the Red Sea the bagel dough got wet and soggy and the Egyptians were trapped in the mud. You know the rest of the story.


There's even a statue by Mikel (pronounced Me-kell) De'Angelo, called the Bagel Thrower.  A classic in Greek History, it survived the ages and it went on to become the bagel throw (looks like a disc) in modern Olympics. 

And the inspiration for the bagel came in 1610 from Galileo Goldstone who turned his telescope to the heavens and was astonished to observe a bright star with rings. 

What Galileo had discovered was a strange new world, a planet with rings. He turned to his Jewish housekeeper and said, “ Look at that“.   Two days later, his housekeeper created the bagel, sliced to replicate the two rings, with a Matzoh ball stuffed in the middle. Great Idea but somehow it didn't sell. He canned the ball and used cream cheese. A star was born. Quite the satisfying discovery.


"Give Me Bagels, Or Give Me Nothing”  —
 
 Was the battle cry of Patrick Horowitz during the revolutionary war and when desperate for ammunition for his cannons, he took stale bagels and loaded them to the muzzle. When fired the bagels flew further than the steel balls inflicting heavy casualties on the British who found out tea is not as good as coffee with a bagel.   They suffered horribly from eating non-nutritional "scones".  I use the scones for targets at our skeet range when we run out of clay pigeons. 


It Could Not Get Stupider  —  One source of confusion is that the rule isn't spelled out in the tax code. And while sliced bagels are subject to sales tax, a sliced loaf of bread at a bakery isn't, according to tax officials.

A spokesman for the tax department said the state "will provide additional guidance via our Web site and publications in the near future." Guidance? What guidance? Over slicing, cooking bagels, famous bagel jokes, bagel abuse protection, such as serving with pizza sauce and cheese, or bagels in beef gravy  —  or are they just getting into something they don't belong in? 


—  BAGEL TRIVIA  —  

BEGINNERS -  Should stick to sliced bread, more their speed... and butter with salt... and work up to bagel delights,  “ Bagels mit a smear of cream cheese and good LOX “  requires training and should not be attempted by anyone with dentures.

SMOKED SALMON  -  is a blanket term for any salmon: wild, farmed, fillet, steak, cured with hot or cold smoke. Simply means its not raw.  

LOX  - refers to salmon cured in a salt-sugar rub or brine (like gravlax). Nova is cured and then cold-smoked (unlike lox or gravlax). There’s also hot-smoked salmon, which is cured, then fully cooked with heated wood smoke.

TRUE AUTHENTIC LOX - Now, to acknowledge the purists. Real, authentic lox is made from only the belly portion of the salmon. Yup, like pork, the belly of the fish is typically the richest, fattiest and most succulent portion. Cured and smoked, it’s saltier and more " Aromatic” than its milder non-belly counterpart, and if you’re lucky enough to try it on a bagel with cream cheese, it’s hard to go back. 

REAL vs UNREAL -   When you buy lox anywhere other than an old-school appetizing counter, even if it’s clearly labeled “ LOX”  what you’re almost certainly getting is simply smoked salmon. And frankly, that’s fine by us.  Lox vs. Smoked Salmon, better than missing out.

REAL LOX - is always made from salmon.  It is very expensive. In this regard, it is different from many other iconic Jewish foods, like gefilte fish and herring, which are made from ingredients that are available and cheap.  While LOX may be delicious, the term is quite confusing — what we now call lox, derived from the German word for salmon (lachs), is in fact smoked salmon.  The true - true  lox is brined in a salty solution, which cures the fish, but also leaves a strong, salty taste. 

NOVA LOX  -  Today, lox is cured with a light salting and then cold-smoked, which provides the typical “Nova” smoked salmon flavor. The word lox is now used interchangeably with smoked salmon, and the most popular Sunday-morning item in New York City — over 2,500 pounds per week–is not real lox actually, but smoked salmon.
Unfortunately, lox has become an even more complicated issue with current fishing trends. As wild salmon becomes increasingly scarce, the use of salmon farming has increased dramatically. 

Over 80 percent of salmon sold in the United States comes from farms, which raises health and sustainability issues, as documented in this 2003 article in the New York Times, “Farmed Salmon Looking Less Rosy.”

However, it is now easy, while still not cheap, to purchase sustainable, wild-caught salmon at specialty stores, or at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and Costco.  Though you’ll spend on the fish, you can save money by learning to cure it yourself.


HOMEMADE LOX  —  The easiest way to make homemade lox is to follow the Scandinavian form of Gravlax, which is cured salmon in a salt-sugar solution. This process skips the smoking step, an unrealistic task for most home cooks unless you have desire to burn your house down.

Follow this recipe and in just a few days you can enjoy delicious lox that you made yourself.  Start the fish Thursday and by lunch on Saturday you will have the perfect showpiece for your friends and then claim the title of  “ LOXMASTER”

1 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 - 2 lbs salmon filet, boneless, with the skin on
1 cup sugar
1/2 bunch dill, stemmed and leaves washed


Directions  —  

  • Rinse salmon filet and make sure all pin bones are removed. To do this, take small pliers or tweezers and pull the small bones out in the same direction they face. There are pin bones more often in wild salmon than in farmed salmon.  Cut the salmon in half, to make two equal-sized pieces.

  • Mix the salt and sugar in a bowl. On a plate or in a shallow dish, pile half of the mixture onto each half of the salmon. It will seem like there is extra mixture, but just pile it on. The salmon will absorb the mixture during the curing process. Next, place the dill on top. Sandwich the two pieces of fish together and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

  • Place the fish into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag and push out all of the air. Now place in a shallow dish, such as a Pyrex baking dish.  Refrigerate, with weights on top, which is crucial. Use another heavy dish, bottles of wine–anything to weigh down the fish.

  • The lox will take 2-3 days to cure. At the end of each day, drain any liquid that has been extracted from the salmon and flip the salmon over, so that both sides are evenly weighed down. You can begin tasting it after 2 days. When it is cured to the desired taste, remove fish from plastic and rinse well.

  • To eat, slice thin on a bias, leaving the skin behind. Eat with your favorite cream cheese and bagel, and enjoy.  The cured lox freezes very well. Simply wrap well in plastic and place in a freezer bag to keep.

  • Errata  —  Next time, you can change the flavor–make it Mexican with chili powder and limes; Greek with lemon and oregano;  Israeli with Zaatar… the possibilities are limitless!  Zaatar is a mix of herbs available at Amazon, Za’atar as a prepared condiment is generally made with ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt, though other spices such as sumac might also be added. Some commercial varieties also include roasted flour.


THE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE OF BAGELS AND SALMON — 

Rob Eshman - The FORWARD — On the rocky western coast of Vancouver Island, I watched a massive black bear use her front legs to flip a boulder the size of a dorm room fridge, searching for crabs and barnacles to eat. Suddenly, out of the screen of firs and spruce, her cub appeared, hungry for lunch. It was a pristine, dreamlike scene — until the captain of the Ocean Adventures tour boat we were on pointed to a football-field sized rectangle of floats bobbing nearby in the water.

“Salmon farms,” he said. “Don’t get me started.”  But he launched into a tirade anyway, saying the farmed, non-native Atlantic salmon infected local stocks, created dead zones of salmon feces, tangled marine mammals and were helping to send native wild salmon stocks into free-fall. 

“Lox,” I muttered, not meaning for him to hear.  But the captain heard and shot me a look of utter disdain. If you want to get wild salmon people angry, talk about how much you love your lox.

The lox I buy, the lox you buy, is farm-raised. Mine is usually from Brooklyn-based Acme Smoked Fish Corporation, the largest supplier of smoked fish in the United States. Smoky, salty, sweet, silky, it drapes over an artisanal bagel and cream cheese like a peach-colored Hermes scarf on a plush white sofa. But like all commercially made lox, it comes from farm-raised salmon.  

In Tofino, the small town from where we set out to look at bears, the best restaurants, like Wolf in the Fog, make a point of using only the native local salmon. But thanks in part to those salmon farms, there’s less and less of it. The town’s dockside fish market had one single filet of wild salmon for sale. “We sell it when we can get it,” the clerk told me, standing about 50 yards from waters that once teamed with the fish. In fact, the picturesque town is in the midst of an intense, neighbor-against-neighbor fight to deny the aquaculture farms their licenses, which come up for renewal this year.

Salmon that are raised in open-ocean pens are problematic, for all the reasons the captain said. The worst farms are depleting native fish stocks to manufacture feed. They use antibiotics, growth hormones, and orange dyes that turn a salmon’s naturally white flesh into something vaguely Trump-ish. Acceptable farms, which are certified by the independent Aquaculture Stewardship Council, forgo antibiotics and don’t overcrowd their pens. Monterey Aquarium’s well-regarded Seafood Watch program recommends ASC-certified salmon as a “buy” option, and that’s what Acme tries to use. 

There are advantages to the farmed stuff: Iit is consistent in size and flavor and its fat-streaked flesh absorbs smoke, contributing to that silky mouthfeel. But most of all, there’s plenty of it, 2.65 million tons in 2020. Farmed salmon production surpassed wild catches in 1999, and has been growing 7% annually since. Today, wild salmon accounts for just one-fifth of all salmon consumption.  

But the success of open ocean salmon farming comes at a cost — which the environment pays. 

“The industry has reached a production level where biological boundaries are being pushed,” it said, which a fair reader might interpret to mean: Warning, ecological collapse ahead.  Biologists, regulators, and community members, like in Tofino, are realizing that there’s only so much damage the ocean can sustain to supply endless lox. 

Experts say the long-term solution might be, for lack of a better phrase, land salmon. Two years ago, Acme made a major investment in a tank farm in Miami. There fish are raised in a series of giant above-ground tanks where their effluent, feed, medications, dyes, diseases and sea lice can’t harm native stocks. The closest they’ll ever get to a natural body of water is when they are smoked, sliced and served in a beach cabana.

At that point, I have to wonder, will lox be lox? Not so long ago, after all, our great-grandparents ate lox that began life in rivers. Now we are careening toward a world where the solution to the demand for salmon, smoked or otherwise, is to build oversized wading pools stuffed with listless fish.

Coasting through the almost-pristine waters of British Columbia, I wonder why we don’t stop to consider an alternative future: that instead of inventing odder and odder ways to force feed tons of Frankenfish, we invest in protecting wild stocks and the oceans, rivers and streams they depend on?


“THE END IS ACTUALLY THE BEGINNING” — LIFE LESSONS FROM LOX —  

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. In California and Alaska, a lot of people work hard to help wild stocks thrive.  “If it wasn’t sustainable, then there would be no fisheries,” David Goldenberg, executive director of the California Salmon Council.  ( His remarks ) 

Goldenberg calls California wild salmon part of a “boutique fishery,” carefully managed to sustain harvests despite dams that obstruct salmon migration, warming oceans, and drought. The people who fish for salmon, either commercially or privately, must buy a $180 salmon stamp, the proceeds of which go toward habitat restoration projects. In other words, to save wild salmon, it actually helps to eat it.

“Consuming it keeps the industry alive, keeps the fishermen alive,” said Goldenberg, a Brooklyn native who grew “ tired of concrete” and moved west to work in animal science. “Also it is the best tasting, most nutritious salmon we have.”

It glistened a deep orange and smelled faintly of the wind coming off the ocean. It was $43 a pound, easily the most I’ve ever paid for a piece of protein.  

Seasoned it with salt, pepper and olive oil, grilled it until medium rare, and served it with a squeeze of fresh lemon. The first bite combined salt, fresh water, ocean, citrus and smoke. Nothing I tasted all year quite matched up to the flavor of this first salmon. 

I bought another slab and cured and smoked it. It crowned a Nicoise salad that evening, but it would also have been pretty spectacular on a bagel.

The Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest actually held elaborate First Salmon ceremonies to welcome this fish, to thank the Creator for its return to the rivers, and to thank the spirit of the fish for coming into their nets. The closest I can come is the SHEHECHEYANU **, which I said under my breath as I chewed and swallowed my smoked wild salmon.

We were blessed with this majestic fish, and before we give up entirely, let’s at least support the efforts of those working to save it, and serve it, wild.


THE BAGEL WARS 


A BITTER BATTLE “ HOLEY WAR”  BETWEEN TWO BAGEL SHOPS BOILS OVER IN COLUMBUS

Block’s Bagels has taken former business partner Fox’s Bagels to court in Ohio, alleging breach of contractBy Andrew Lapin  —  October 20, 2022

A feud between two Jewish bagel shop owners in Columbus, Ohio, has spilled out of the oven and into full public view, resulting in a lawsuit and restraining order.

The Columbus Jewish News reports that the owner of Block’s Bagels, a local Jewish deli mainstay since 1967, last week sued former business partner Jeremy Fox, owner of the Fox’s Bagels & Deli chain, after the latter moved to rebrand two shops the parties had been operating jointly.

In court earlier this week, the judge in the case ordered two Fox’s locations to continue purchasing products from Block’s, saying the latter “has met its burden to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it is entitled to a temporary restraining order,”  the Columbus Jewish News reports.

The Fox’s locations, which opened in 2017 and 2020, had been jointly operated and branded as Block’s Bagels shops until earlier this month, when Fox announced on Facebook that all locations would be rebranded under the Fox’s label and that the Block’s shops would be “closed.” 

According to the lawsuit, this change — which the Block family said they only learned about from Facebook — also meant that Fox would be sourcing his bagels and other food products from a different supplier, sticking Block’s with $10,000 in nonreturnable perishable goods and violating their supply agreement in the process. Fox had purchased another local bagel maker, Sammy’s Bagels, earlier this year.  The 10-count suit names more than $800,000 in total damages, including unpaid performance bonuses, equipment costs and sales losses.

“Jeremy Fox’s actions as it relates to the Broad Street bagel shop formerly named Block’s Hot Bagels risks the livelihoods of my employees,” Hal Block, the 89-year-old owner of Block’s Bagels, told the Columbus Jewish News in a statement. “I cannot sit idly by and watch this happen.”

Block further alleged that Fox purchased a competing bagel production facility “behind our backs” as Block’s son Steven, who had taken over the business from his father, was dying of cancer earlier this year.

“Originally our license agreement was intended to be a short-term solution,” Fox had told the Columbus Jewish News about the rebranding prior to the lawsuit. “It’s been nearly six years now and it was time for us to go our separate ways.” Fox said the change would give the chain “more freedom to operate and expand our menu to better fit the community and its ever-evolving needs.”

The Block family has long been active in Columbus’ Jewish community. Steven was a board member of Congregation Agudas Achim and the family are supporters of the Columbus Jewish Center, known for donating bagels to various Jewish events. Both Steven Block and Jeremy Fox had their bar mitzvahs at Agudas Achim, according to CJN.

“I’m 89 years old,” Block told the CJN. “My plans at this stage of my life didn’t include a legal fight to try and obtain what is owed from a business partner who we helped establish and set up for success.”

Columbus isn’t the only place where bagelers have feuded recently. A Jewish deli in Hong Kong was at the center of a social media uproar this summer. And to come full circle, a Hallmark Channel movie this Hanukkah will center around warring Jewish deli owners who fall in love.


THE CHINESE BAGEL WARS

A BITTER BATTLE OVER BAGEL RIGHTS CREATEs  A “ HOLEY WAR”  IN CHINA

In Hong Kong, there’s a little slice of Manhattan — an area called Kennedy Town, which features not just one but two New York-style bagel shops. And in true New York fashion, they are at each other’s throats.

Founded by Rebecca Schrage, daughter to a Hong Kong native mother and a New York Jewish father, with grandparents who ran delis in New York, Schragel’s Bagels bills itself as the “first and only” New York bagel shop in Hong Kong. But a second Jewish bagelry, Mendel’s, opened in April of this year — and has accused Schrage of hiring security guards to stand outside Mendel’s doors harassing workers and customers alike.

Mendel’s posted a video to their Instagram page showing men in black polo shirts blocking entry to the store and telling customers that entry is forbidden, even as an employee at the deli tries to tell the customers that the store is, in fact, open. A masked woman social media users have claimed to be Rebecca Schrage is often visible in the footage.

In the caption, Mendel’s apologized for their erratic hours, explaining that they are embroiled in a “complex commercial dispute.” Subsequent posts accuse guards of more disruptive tactics such as assaulting the store’s general manager and turning off the power.

The hubbub caught fire on social media, generating copious memes. Comments on both delis’ pages telling each business to be ashamed of their behavior, and advocating for their preferred bagel store.   Of course, plenty of people also weighed in to say that there are no good bagels in Hong Kong, as is tradition outside of New York.

The underlying dispute between the stores, however, is not about competition but instead about ownership: Schrage claims she is “the majority shareholder with 60% of the equity, in addition to being the director and liquor license holder of Joy Lox Club Ltd., of which Mendel’s Delicatessen is a branch.”

“Michael Mendel is my father’s name, and who the deli is named after,” said Schrage in a lengthy post on Schragel’s Instagram page. Schragel then went on to accuse Mendel’s minority owner, Michael Watt, of more than doubling the costs she was expected to pay as an investor but refusing to show any documents listing expenses or profits. “It would appear that sales generated are being diverted into other businesses that I am not a part of,” she added.

Though she denied any harassment, Schrage took responsibility for hiring the guards. “There was a need for security on the premises. It seemed appropriate to take steps to protect the business, my concept and prevent any potential illegal activities,” she wrote.

Mendel’s, however, disputes these facts. Their own statement, also posted to Instagram, said that Schrage had only paid for 15% of the business and that “Mendel’s was created, developed and executed by us. Rebecca had little to no involvement in the project.”

The only thing the two businesses, or their leaders — Watt for Mendel’s and Schrage for Schragel’s — agree upon is that this whole thing is going to court. Clearly confident that they will come out ahead, at least in the battle for public opinion — which, based on the plethora of nasty Instagram comments and the surge of one-star reviews for Schragel’s seems true — Mendel’s has even posted a countdown timer for the court date, which will take place in approximately two months.

But since Hong Kong’s bagel wars took social media by storm, a few Hong Kong residents have accused both stores of “ offensive Jewish cosplay”  thanks to the delis’ liberal use of bacon and pork products and their schtick behavior" marketing.   “Grab life by the matzoh balls” adorns the walls at Mendel’s and they serve “ Schmuck you bagels, while at Schragel’s, “ sch” begins every word — schmenu, schmoked whitefish, schreuben sandwich.

The restaurants are “ part of a Hong Kong genre of restaurants that use sex and race to mock and mimic authentic ethnic food cultures for expat, wealthy local and finance bro customers,” tweeted Elizabeth LaCouture, a Hong Kong-based historian. Admittedly, New York bagel shops are also quite likely to bastardize the bagel, whether with bacon or funfetti cream cheese.  But they don’t usually send hired muscle to intimidate their competitors. At least not anymore.



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