music in the park san jose

.Poppy Bagels

music in the park san jose

Classic New York bagels have arrived on Telegraph Avenue 

On Poppy Bagels’ opening weekend, East Bayers lined up for hours to nab one of Reesa Kashuk’s bagels. When I drove by on Saturday morning, the 9am line looked exactly the same as it did at 11am when I passed by a second time. Like Emily Winston of Boichik Bagels, Kashuk is an East Coast transplant who started making bagels at home. “I’m a native New Yorker, and I was really missing bagels,” she said. “I was used to having a delicious bagel around the block, wherever I was.”In that respect, coming to California was a culture shock. While she was growing up, her family ate bagels for breakfast. “They were always there, for big celebrations, at brunches and birthday parties,” Kashuk recalled. Longing for that taste of home, she started experimenting with a bagel recipe and fine tuned it for a couple of years. Although she’s not professionally trained as a chef or baker, both her mother and grandmother were great cooks. 

“I didn’t have kitchen experience. I just focused on this one product,” she said. “I had a really good idea in my head of how I wanted the bagel to be. It just took me a really long time to figure out how to do it, a lot longer than someone with experience.” Eventually, she landed on the recipe that she described as a “classic” take on the bagel.     

Poppy Bagels offers seven flavors—plain, sesame, garlic, everything, poppy, onion and a salt and pepper one, which, Kashuk said, is “our most experimental bagel.” She isn’t interested in making novel flavors such as blueberry or rainbow. But when it comes to the toppings, that’s where the “California essence” comes through. “We’re trying to have seasonal and really fresh toppings, but the bagels are pretty simple,” she said.

The menu features several different cream cheese flavors made in house, but the base is from the Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, located in Willows. “We have a classic scallion, a jalapeño serrano, a “chivey” lemony lox and sometimes one with beets and poppy seeds,” Kashuk said.  

When it comes to sandwiches, Poppy Bagels serves an array of mostly cold sandwiches with cream cheese and toppings. There’s always a vegetarian one on the menu. When Kashuk had a stand at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, one of their most popular sandwiches was the spicy and sweet combination of jalapeño serrano cream cheese with honey on top. At the shop on Telegraph Avenue, Poppy Bagels will also be serving sandwiches with whitefish salad and a classic New York lox bagel, with cured and cold-smoked lox.     

I spoke with Kashuk a couple of days before her opening. She said she was feeling good, coupled with a certain amount of nervous anticipation. “It’s a new frontier. The bagels are looking really good, and the team is awesome,” she stated.

“We’re opening with a more limited menu, but we’re definitely going to add on to it,” Kashuk said. “We’re going to do an egg and cheese down the line, and I think people are pretty excited about that one.” She’s planning to add tuna and egg salad as well. 

Kashuk also loves butter on a bagel. “One of my favorite things to order is whatever’s hot or warm out of the oven with butter on it. That’s what I do when I go home,” she said. “I think I’m putting that on the menu. Like, you get the dealer’s choice of whatever just came out of the oven. You can have that with butter.” 

Poppy Bagels now occupies half of the old Doña Tomas space. The other half and the outdoor patio in back will be taken over by an oyster bar. Most of the 1,250 square feet of Poppy Bagels’ side is a production space, where the staff makes the cream cheese, sandwiches, and boils and bakes the bagels. “But we do have some casual seating,” Kashuk explained. “I wanted to make sure there was some seating here because I feel like a lot of bagel shops don’t. We want to be a place where people come and hang out regularly, to be a part of the neighborhood.”  

Poppy Bagels, open Thurs and Fri 6:30am–2pm (or sold out) and Sat to Sun 7:30am–2pm (or sold out). 5004 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

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