Hot Bialys: Because this Queens Boulevard bagel shop is on the next block from the Union Turnpike E/F station, all throughout high school I would stop in before getting on the Q46 bus for the half hour ride back home to my parents' house. When I had enough change, I would get my everything bagel with butter on the side; if I was feeling especially hungry, I would ask for cream cheese. Most days, though, I simply had my bagel toasted, which is good enough for these fresh, chewy, excellent specimens.
The goods at Hot Bialys are baked not by Jews but by a Thai couple who have been owners of the place for over twenty years. While the pedigree is a bit incongruous, the crusty boiled-and-baked orbs are the real deal; the place was even praised in this New York Times article for making "terrific bagels, far superior to the large doughy orbs that many New Yorkers have come to think of, incorrectly, as 'good bagels.' " Though the article was published back in 2003, after one bite into the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese I ordered recently, I still couldn't agree more.