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Surpise and Delight: How a bagel can make your day

It's a great feeling when one of your favorite local food places manages to surprise you . i have been to Aux Delices in Greenwich many times before. It was my place of choice to stock up on freshly made fruit salads, small baguettes, and uncommonly packed cold cuts, a few bottles of gourmet iced tea, just before heading out to one of the local Connecticut beaches. My good Spaniard friends certainly remember those relaxing beach afternoons. They certainly remember my version of the beach picnic and the look on peoples faces as we opened up a wave after wave of sealed containers, and dished out my gourmet salads - they always came in pairs.-  and they  they instead shared buckets of fried chicken, unwrapped cardboard containers that bore the symbols of golden arches,  or just reached out for the warm, preserved salsa with soggy corn chips.   Of yes, and our cranberry juice, wasn't really cranberry juice.  But let's keep that little secret between us.

This morning I chose to have a bit of breakfast at Aux Delices in Riverside CT, while I waited for the Mini Coop to be serviced across the street. The "run flats" had struck again, this time with an untimely and costly bubble. Ouch to my pocket, and chi ching to my tire dealer.

My breakfast order was simple. A toasted bagel, and a large iced coffee. Nothing out of the ordinary, as you can see. So what about the surprise? A bagel? An iced coffee? Well it turns out that bagels can surprise and delight when you least expect  them to.

The first thing I pleasantly noticed was that the bagels were still warm. Warm not because they were toasted, but because they were fresh.  Aux Delices did not carry a large selection of bagels.  Just a a few kinds, the ones you would expect, plain, whole wheat and poppy. For a minute, I wondered if they would taste like the mass produced ones that I too often end up with in NYC, bagels that have a slight moldy taste. Do not ask me why. Must be something in the water. Or maybe, as I like to imagine, a flavor infusion that is imparted by some damp, underground basement at some NY underground bagel factory? Space in NYC is at a premium;  you either build up or dig deep into the bedrock and hope to stay away from the aquifers.

The second thing that delightled me was the fact that the staff warmed up the my cream cheese. Just a few seconds in the microwave, just enough to soften it up to ensure an even smear. Bagels can be an art, but not every person behind the counter realizes it. So far warm fresh bagels, and cozy cream cheese. What's next?

It turns out that the Bagels at Aux Delices really toasted well. In NYC, I always ask for a double toasting just to get that extra flavor, and crunch experience. Rarely do they get it right. This morning instead, as I sat and bit into the bread, it was the crusty and crunchy explosion that hit me. Sound , falor and texture all packaged into one morning delight, a surprise in its own right.

So when In town, pull into one of their locations. Sit outside at one of their tables under the shade of a few big red umbrellas. Sip away and enjoy the music of your crunchy morning.

I do not know Debra Ponzek who created Aux Delices, but I do want to thank her and husband for one of the few places I truly enjoy in town . And yes, many thanks and thumbs up to her staff because that's where the rubber meets the customer.




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