There's always debate about who has the best pizza — strong (and oftentimes loud and impassioned) arguments are made for New York City, New Jersey and New Haven, Connecticut being tops. Even Chicago and Detroit get mentioned.
However there's typically been less debate regarding bagels, as the five boroughs takes that crown pretty easily by most standards.
But not so fast, says one food critic.
The west coast food reviewer for the New York Times — who is from Brooklyn — recently celebrated California bagels, even going as far to suggest that the Golden State has the best bagels in America.
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Nick Beitcher runs Midnite Bagels in San Francisco, and is enjoying the praise that came from the article. He and a few other bagel shops were mentioned by name as having some of the beloved baked goods that top the best of the Big Apple, according to the food critic.
Like most of the others named in the article, Beitcher does have strong East Coast ties. He told NBC New York that he grew up in New Rochelle and that his mother is from Woodmere, Long Island.
That's among the reasons he's dodging the Times' online comments section, where thousands upon thousands are blasting the idea that the West Coast can best the city' cherished doughy commodity.
"I'm just trying to make something that feels right for California. Not saying it's better or worse than anything else," Beitcher said.
Most in New York considered it borderline blasphemous to give the title to California, insisting the city does it perfectly — and it can't be beat or replicated.
"Something about the water. It's the myth, the legend," said Mia Fitzgibbon at Murray's in the Village. Margaret Chu described what made the Murray's just so satisfying: "It's fresh. Doesn't need to be toasted. Not too dense."
Fellow bagel behemoth Ess-a-Bagel, in midtown, also rejected the food reviewer's claim as a shmear campaign.
"Nothing compares to Ess-a-bagel. We are known nationwide and internationally," said manager Maria Farfan. The shop said it ships about 600-800 orders across the country every day (some of which on Tuesday were seen in boxes being shipped to California).
NBC New York reached out to the writer of the Times article that made the bold and controversial culinary claim, but she said she was unavailable for an interview.
Safe to say, if she's busy on a piece about pizza ... well, good luck with that.