Alexander Nham writes about breakfast for City of Ate. It's not his full-time job, though. Although that would be a sweet full-time job.
Moving from north to south has been tough, no way around it. Some things I take as a birthright are nowhere to be found around Dallas: Italian beef, salted road ways, spring (the season), water and multiple legitimate ethnic neighborhoods.
So it's no surprise that one of my delicatessen favorites is harder to find in Dallas than a Smart Car. Everyone knows bagels, everyone loves bagels, so why is that I have to go to some chain "bakery" to buy some concrete inner tube that passes muster to get my fix?
My pursuit for a proper bagel led me to Deli News on Preston Road in North Dallas. Walking up, I was a little put off by the large, cartoon Guido holding a plate with a pastrami sandwich stacked taller than his face. It's a smaller restaurant with a combination counter and refrigerated case spanning one wall holding lox, cream cheeses, cured meats, pastries, all to take home.
The rest of the restaurant is all tables, chairs and weird kitsch knickknacks, all about as visually impressive as a motel commissary. It didn't look the greatest, but once I opened up the menu I realized where they were focusing all of their efforts.
Of course they've got the usual suspects, but I came for one thing: an everything bagel with lox. It doesn't sound like much -- halved bagel, some cream cheese, a deconstructed garden salad and a pile of cold salmon -- but one bite of this traditional deli favorite took me back home, or close to it.
The toasted bagel was crisp but giving in the middle, and the firm salmon wasn't overbearing and had a nice subtle smoke. With all the components tasted at once it was briny, creamy, fresh, smoky. The star of the dish was the bagel: It was strong enough as a canvas for all of the toppings, but it gave way once my teeth started making their way through. The crunchy brown bits on the cut side proved a perfect textural contrast to the pillowy interior, a sensation I'd long forgotten about All surprising when considering my seat faced a standard issued Olive Garden statue of an Italian chef caricature.
Deli News bakes its own bagels daily, and cures its own salmon for the lox, and this Old World effort resulted in probably the best bagel and lox I've eaten since I've been in Dallas.