It is official. We are living in a bagel-free zone.
Of course there are no bagel shops, no “bagels” in the supermarket, nor at the bread shops. But you used to be able to get a bagel at Gatsby, one of three eating options at the Santiago airport before you go through the gate. The others are Le Fournil, downstairs in arrivals which has amazing bread/focaccia, and giant lockers in which to lock up your luggage, should you feel so inclined. Also flirty oldman waiters, if that’s your style. Another café opened less than a year ago, an interrogation-bright spiffy little café right before Immigration, the better to dose yourself with overpriced sodas, tiny lattes (that’s cortado to you), and some snackity items before your perusal through the amazing duty free shop (which, due to someone’s marketing genius, you must walk through to get to the gate, though the part where you actually take out your credit card and buy something is all on you).
But if you want more of a meal before you bid your peeps a good flight, (no pun intended, but wouldn’t that have made for a good where my peeps at entry at National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog? (contest is over, as far as I know), you’ll have to go to Gatsby. There’s nothing particularly great about it (boing, literary joke falls flat), they’ll sell you salads and sandwiches and such. What they will not sell you is a bagel, despite there being one on the menu. Mamaj and I decided to split a bagel (a bagel! here in Chile?! impossible!) before heading off to the great culinary unknown on our trip to Uruguay. Imagine our surprise when the sandwich came on a baguette. I called the waitress back over to explain the mistake. “Oh no,” she said, “the bagel comes on a baguette.” Interesting. I wonder if I can get it with a side of bread. We ate it. It was good, though decidedly un-bagel-like.
There used to be a place where you could get bagels, up in El Bosque Norte, a part of prettypretty Las Condes. The place was called New York Bagels, and it was on the street Roger de Flor, which I never really understood why the first word is pronounced Royer, but we can talk about that and Llewellyn Jones some other time). New York Bagels was kind of a little satellite city within a city, all English media and foreigners, a bulletin board advertising used fridges and rooms for rent. It was darn decent. And then, like The English Reader, a former used bookstore over on Los Leones in Providencia (just a few blocks from the former bagel shop) where they occasionally had bagels and where my kindof ex nephew (following that?), now an accountant, but then an itinerant baker and Chilena heartbreaker used to work, it closed. Shuttered. Disappeared.
So as far as I know, Chile is now a bagel-free zone. Except it turns out you can make them yourself quite easily, and that they come out amazing, and you can put as many sesame seeds on top as you like, and no one will look at you strangely when you cut up olives to lay atop the cream cheese, in an attempt to get as many carbs and as much fat into your diet as possible. Because remember in Poland/Russia, how it was cold? We’re going to need that extra layer (of subcutaneous fat).
Oh, and winter’s a-coming in the southern hemisphere. I could fire up the estufa (space heater), or maybe I’ll just put the kettle on for a spot of bagels. Can you say that? I just did.
(in the interest of full disclosure, I am eating a hallulla with cream cheese while I eat this. A bagel it is not, but remember the fat ‘n carbs talk? Mission accomplished. And delicious).
Someone feel free to pop in and correct me if you know where bagels can be found here in Santiago (aside from in my kitchen). And remember, I’m from Brooklyn, with roots in the bagel mothercontinent. Not that that makes me picky or anything.