Philly is having its bagel moment (finally!) with a handful of distinctive new artisan shops.
Most, though, have been on the east side of Broad – until the arrival of Chestnut Street Philly Bagels last month. Yes, there are the sweeter, breadier, Montreal-style rounds at Spread (which I love). But this west-side sibling to South Street Philly Bagels (a.ka. "Hot Bagels") is a true New York water-boiled round, as co-owner Aaron Wagner descends from five generations of bagel-bakers in Brooklyn and Warsaw before that.
One novelty I've not seen since New York: the "flagel," an overboiled and inflated round that gets flattened like a tire and baked to a super-chewy, everything-spiced crunch. Is the pretzel in trouble? Maybe not quite yet. But Philly's bagels are definitely rolling in the right direction.
Flagels, $2 each, Chestnut Street Philly Bagels, 1705 Chestnut St., 215-299-9920; chestnutbagels.com.
Matzo balls for the gluten-free
A Passover Seder menu is already fraught with restrictions - but add one or more gluten-avoidant guest to the mix and things can get really complicated. Now, Manischewitz is offering gluten-free matzo-ball mix, a passable alternative to accommodate those guests. (Note: Be sure to cook briefly and then drain according to package instructions, since these modified matzo balls aren't as sturdy as the conventional version.)