No One Can Find a Good Bagel in the RFV


Sara Kershow

A fresh bagel from Plotskys in Carbondale.

I have loved bagels for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Colorado, the highlight of my trips to the east coast was always getting bagels and bringing them home. When I once again was destined for bagged Colorado bagels, I was crushed. These days my family orders bagels straight from New York so that we can enjoy a satisfactory bagel. These extreme measures should not be the only way to enjoy a bagel in Colorado.

The origin of bagels is not confirmed, but according to a 2009 Atlantic article, they came to 14th-century Poland from Germany in the form of pretzels and soon became a staple food in the Jewish community. Hundreds of years later, bagels ended up in New York City. As they moved west, the integrity of bagels changed. Once they were officially discovered the packaged bagels became a mainstream phenomenon.

It might seem dramatic and nitpicky that I think bagels taste different depending on their geography, but I am not the only person to observe variations in bagels throughout the country. According to a May 1, 2019 Eater Article by Monica Burton, water plays a large role in the bagel-making process. In New York, the water is very soft and this affects the texture and taste of bagels during the boiling process. When making traditional New York-style bagels, they are boiled before they are baked. This gives the iconic crackly crust on the outside and soft inside that is vital to New York style Bagels. Another reason bagels may differ from place to place is that bagels are a tradition passed down many generations, so an inexperienced bagel maker may not make the classic bagel.

I will be traveling around the Roaring Fork Valley and tasting bagels, to find the best bagel in our valley. I will rate all of the bagels in 4 categories, Taste, Texture, Outside Looks, and Toastablity. I’m on a quest to find the closest bagel to a New York bagel that is accessible to locals in Aspen. I will base all of my ratings off of a Bagel from Bagel Boss, a company that ships bagels from New York across the county.

City Market Bakery
★★☆☆☆ – Taste: Tasted very sweet, but could barely taste anything else (Bland)
★★★☆☆ – Texture: Nice Crunch, But too soft doughy, and dense inside
★★★★☆ – Outside Looks: Consistent color, no bubbles signifying the boiling process
★★☆☆☆ – Toastablity: Burned very easy

To me, this bagel was no different than any other bagel I could buy at the grocery store. The City Market bakery bagels are easy to find and affordable, if those are the qualities you are looking for in your bagel this is the one. This bagel seemed overly sweet, it burnt easily and was obviously steamed instead of boiled. I would not recommend this bagel to a friend.

Open Sesame
★★★☆☆Taste: Tasted very sweet, not a normal bagel flavor closer to an English muffin
★★☆☆☆ Texture: Soft, dense, and almost doughy inside. Had a nice initial texture(outside crunch)
★★★☆☆Outside Looks: Dark coloring but had the signature bubbles on the top
★★☆☆☆ Toastablity: Was not toasted on the inside
This bagel was nothing like I expected it to be. I won’t say that this was a bad bagel because it wasn’t. It was just not the bagel I was searching for. This bagel read more like an English muffin with a bagel exterior. It was sweet and the texture was doughy, in a way I had never tasted a bagel before. The workers were very nice and they had great coffee. I recommend this shop but do not go in expecting a New York style bagel.

★★★★★Taste: Not sweet, not bland had a perfect bagel flavor
★★★★★ Texture: Great density, initial crunch, not too soft on the inside
★★★★☆Outside Looks: A little lighter than I was expecting, with great bubbles on the top
★★★☆☆ Toastablity: It was not very toasted when I got it, had potential (the edges were toasted)
The Ploskys bagel was exactly what I was searching for while writing this article. It checked all the boxes of the iconic New York bagel. It had the right texture, density, taste, and look. Nothing will compare to a bagel actually from New York, but this is the closest you will come. The ambiance was very nice and they also had good coffee. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for an authentic New York style bagel.

Louis Swiss
I was not actually able to taste a Louis Swiss bagel so I have no opinion on the quality of the bagels they make. I attempted to try a Louis Swiss bagel two times and both times I was told that they did not make bagels on that particular day. I would not count on getting a bagel from Louis Swiss because it is quite possible that they will not have any.