So you’re ready for your first Los Angeles bagel. Congratulations! Buying a bagel in L.A. is an exciting adventure and one of the few legally permissible ways to consume bread here. But hold on—if you’re coming from, say, New York, and expecting a simple exchange of money for goods, think again. Half the charm of a Los Angeles bagel is the long, byzantine process of attempting to acquire one. Before you jump in, consult this brief Los Angeles bagel-buying guide.
What should I expect from a Los Angeles bagel?
The first thing you need to know about a Los Angeles bagel is that it is going to blow your fucking mind.
What if I think that I might have had a bagel before?
You haven’t. In Los Angeles, a bagel is a rare, Jewish folk art, crafted as slowly as possible, and distributed with the rarity of a Rhodes Scholarship. Think of it like a Wes Anderson movie—something that takes an insane amount of time, focus, and precision, and leaves you feeling like it was almost worth it.
Can you tell me a little about the history of Los Angeles bagels?
The first Los Angeles bagel was baked more than seven years ago. Made from yeasts available only at the Venice Erewhon, and heirloom wheat harvested from weevil poops, it was lovingly formed by the calloused hands of a lesbian Silver Lake bike mechanic and then boiled by her business partner, Los Feliz Dad Who Used to Be an Account Executive at Saatchi & Saatchi but “Decided to Give the Bagel Thing a Shot.” Today, bagel shops across L.A. continue to employ these ancient methods, on a modern scale—in a single day, an L.A. bagel shop might make enough to feed the passengers of one whole Tesla Model S!
Wow, sounds amazing! When can I get my bagel?
Roughly every two months, a dozen Los Angeles bagels are ready for purchase. The lucky few who are horny enough to reserve a bagel twenty-four hours in advance on Postmates will have the privilege of consuming a transcendent, Los Angeles bagel inside a hot car in a Gelson’s parking lot.
Hold on. Twenty-four hours to reserve a bagel? You’re exaggerating, right?
I am not. But that’s part of the fun of Los Angeles bagelling! You just set your alarm for three-thirty the morning before you want your single bagel with one piece of lox (if available) on it; submit your request with all the relevant forms attached; pass your blood test; and, BOOM, thirty hours later, you get to line up for a bagel!
Wait, wait, stop. I have to get on a line for a bagel I’ve already reserved and paid for?
Well, sure, you’ve paid for your bagel, but there’s no way to know whether they’ll have enough bagels, so you still have to wait on line.
Couldn’t they just count the number of bagels and count the number of bagel reservations?
Los Angeles bagels are not subject to numerical valuation.
It’s fun! This is fun! Think of procuring a bagel in Los Angeles like getting HAIM tickets! Exciting!
I don’t think I want this bagel.
Look, I get it. It’s frustrating that you’ve been waiting on line for two hours for a single goddam bagel, and the guys behind the counter would rather chat with one another about skin-contact wines than actually sell bagels, but please know that making bagels is harrowing work.
That’s patently untrue.
Well, the part-time bolero-hat models who work here are exhausted, O.K.? This bagel shop is open for almost twelve hours every other week! Can you imagine working that much?
Actually, I’m good. I think I’ll just get some eggs or somethi—
L.A. HAS GOOD BAGELS. LISTEN TO ME. L.A. HAS THE BEST BAGELS AND YOU WANT THEM! YOU WANT OUR SPECIAL BAGELS!
Whoa, chill out.
Oops! Ha ha, no, no, I’m totally chill. Did I not seem chill? Anyway, you have everything you need to maybe someday in the future get a Los Angeles bagel. Now come on, let’s go on a hike between a golf course and a freeway!