The bagel game just got crazy

Remember that time a couple of weeks ago when I ate that weird bagel with seaweed and salmon roe and I tried to tell you it was awesome and you just kind of thought I had lost my fat mind? Well brace yourself. Things just got weirder but SOOO much more delicious. Be open minded, will you?

Yup, this bagel is black.

Yup, this bagel is black.

So I went back to Black Seed Bagels for this week’s special collaboration guest bagel, and man was it everything. From the evil genius minds of Mission Cantina’s Danny Bowien and Angela Dimayuga, (Mission Cantina, in case you don’t already know has the best burrito I’ve ever had. Ever.) this week’s special is a squid-ink bagel with anchovy butter and Iberico ham.

Go ahead and marinate on that for a minute.

First of all, yes, this bagel, flecked with white poppy seeds like reverse freckles, is black as a piece of coal. At first glimpse, it looks like a charred, burnt bagel. But it’s not, it’s just squid ink, which I have to tell you, gives it the dark color but not much of the weird, inky, fishy flavor you might already be imagining and scrunching your nose at. Inside, the bagel is smeared with a delicious, salty anchovy butter and layered with thick ribbons of Iberico ham, that beautiful, fat-marbled sexy Spanish cousin of prosciutto. Yes, you can taste the anchovies (for me, not a problem since they were on every pizza my dad ever ordered when I was a kid, making me grow to actually like them) but it’s not an overpowering taste. The buttery, melts-on-your tongue, slightly chewy quality of the ham was more dominant and tied everything together, making for a really decadent, rich, fatty (in a good way. A very good way.) start to the day.

I mean, c'mon! Look at this ol' pile of deliciousness!

I mean, c’mon! Look at this ol’ pile of deliciousness!

I get that some of these special bagels at Black Seed are just novelty items, things you have once, Instagram them, and then go back to your ol’ everything bagel with plain cream cheese routine, but maaaaaan, I wish they’d keep this one around (past April 5th).

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Mission: perfect burrito

I’m not sure how I’m ever supposed to eat burritos again, not after the absolute-perfection-in-burrito-form I had for lunch today.

All other burritos will live in the shadow of the delicious one I had at Danny Bowien’s California style taqueria, Mission Cantina, in the Lower East Side, not far from his short-lived (but hopefully soon to be resurrected) Mission Chinese Food.

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Mission Cantina’s carne asada burrito

Before bringing his restaurants to New York, Danny Bowien was a big deal in San Francisco, where phenomenal tacos and burritos are easy to find, and clearly he picked up a thing or two and brought it to the east coast, cause the burrito I had today was a 10 clear across the board.

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So much awesome in just one handful

For starters, instead of being filled with tons of gut-filling rice, sad wilted lettuce and mushy tomatoes, this bad boy (easily shareable between two people if you don’t have a the bottomless pit of a stomach that I do) was stuffed, generously and evenly throughout, with  carne asada, beans, guacamole, crema, queso blanco and salsa fresca. The carne asada, which I went with on the server’s recommendation (other choices were lamb, carnitas, fried skate, veggie, chicken and al pastor) was oh-so-soft and juicy, tender and full of flavor. The guacamole lent a creamy freshness to balance the hearty, rich beans, and the cheese did what it always does, made everything better. It was a wonderfully messy, saucy affair with juices running down my hands and my cloth napkin working overtime, and I loved every minute of it.

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Even the chips are delicious!

The tortilla which let’s be honest, no one ever cares about was more than just a vessel for burrito goodness. Tortillas are made in house, and it shows, because instead of being bland and rubbery, this one actually tasted like something you’d want to finish, or to use as a sponge for all of the burrito juice run off. And to really push itself into the realm of greatness, the tortilla had a slight golden crisp to it, from where the burrito had been lightly seared for a perfect finish.The burrito alone was enough to make me an instant fan but Mission Cantina really sealed the deal with its accompanying tortilla chips. Usually an afterthought or distraction, these were anything but. Each one was thick and crunchy, fried in house and dusted in a punchy, colorful blend of spices that made it impossible not to each every last crumb of them. Two salsas, a tangy, avocado filled green sauce and a thicker, smoky red one were served with them, but almost not necessary because of how good they were on their own.

Burritos of New York, I’m not sure things will ever be the between us. Mission Cantina, I’m all yours.

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