(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Archive for June 15th, 2009

There will be bagels. In Beirut?

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This, is a bagel

This, is a bagel

There are bagels in Beirut. Well just a few of them. By my calculation just over 100 a day.

I got assigned to do this story about a new bagel shop in Beirut. A run of the mill sort of quick story, and not one I’m particularly proud of (slash I’m hesitant to even link it). But while researching bagel shops in Beirut I found they are a bit of a rarity here. Theres actually a fascinating story of how before the Civil War there used to be lots of bagels in Beirut that were made by the Jewish population. The Civil War starts the Jews leave and so do the bagels. What bagels are left, according to Robert Fisk in his book Pity the Nation, are poor quality. And what I found was that is still the case today. The bagels are either very bread like, or hard as a brick. I also found, slightly surprisingly, that many people here were not aware of the Jewish Bagel connection. And those that are, are hesitant to talk about it.

Unfortunately I was on deadline and couldn’t find any sources on this for the article (I was told calling up a Jewish person and asking them how the bagels are is offensive). So it had to go without mention in the story. But maybe one day I will write a heart wrenching 2000 word feature on Bagels in Beirut in some trendy magazine. (Maybe erinn connor will write it and make people cry)

Some more info on each bagel shop:

Tribeca: Decent place to go and study or read a newspaper, quiet atmosphere. Try the fresh apple juice. A little pricey

Bread Circle: Its like a bagel shop in a phone booth. This place is TINY. But go in and sit down and eat, its cramped quarters but its makes for a great place to meet people, especially the owner Carla. Ask for the fresh watermelon juice.

Euro Deli: One of the top hang-out spots on Bliss street for western locals, students, and tourists. The “specials” are pretty decent prices and the free wireless is clutch when traveling.

Written by stephenddockery

June 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm