Bagel, Replaced

Sandwich to crave

So I live in France. Country of baguettes, steak frites, champagne. Country of 267 different kinds of cheese. (Yeah, made that number up.) A gourmet’s paradise, where the only dilemma each meal should be what delicious thing to select from many, many options.

And yet.

I was craving bagels. Chewy, dense, glorious bagels. Which I could not get, because no bakery I know carries them and surely those long shelf life impostors at the supermarket taste nothing like the real deal. It was a quandary, and ever since the craving started I kept reading about bagels. Bagels and schmear, home-made bagels, bagel, bagel, bagel.

Worst was the descriptions of bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion. I am not even sure I approve of the combination of salmon and tomato, but by golly did I want one.

Which is where dark, crusty rye bread came in:

Dense, dark bread

Nothing like a bagel, but a traditional accompaniment to smoked salmon in many a place. And 6 million Irish people can’t be wrong, right? (Except about potatoes. There they are delusional.) So I got me a tourte auvergnate from Le Quartier du Pain, some fish, a bit of tomato, a few shallot slices and a little avocado. Piled them high, took a bite…

I win. Ladies and gentleman, a rye sandwich with salmon is a fine, fine substitute for a bagel and lox.

Take that, Paris and your bagel-less bakeries.


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