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Back Buzz - June 22, 2013

pumping heartBeauty's Bagels, 3838 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, California

Last month I took another trip to America to visit my mother in Southern California. While there I flew up to Oakland to spend a few days with my friend Mistah Rick. We started our first full day with coffee and breakfast at Beauty's Bagels.

Opened in 2009 by Amy and Blake from Philadelphia, this cafe produces what are known as Montreal-style bagels. The definition of "Montreal style" is bagels that are "hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, and baked in a wood-fired oven." Sounds all right to me. Apparently a large number of Jews who emigrated to North America in the late 1800s ended up in Montreal, hence the bagel style.

The cafe is small and simple, and the bagel flavours are traditional: plain, salt, onion, wheat, sesame seed, poppy seed, and the popular "everything" -- in other words, nothing outlandish like raspberry stilton bagels or lamb chocolate bagels. For breakfast I had The Classic Closed, which was a nice chewy poppy seed bagel with lox, cream cheese, onion, and capers, and Rick had a lox and caramalised onion omelette with sesame seed bagel. The bagels reminded me of the ones I used to bake: nice and chewy and flavoursome.

The coffee is super smooth, buttery smooth as opposed to robust, but very nice. My double macchiato had a lovely rosetta on top in the shape of buttocks. This is the first callipygous macchiato I've ever had. As I sipped my smooth coffee the buttocks gradually evolved into a deep rich brown disk with a halo of white.

As one would expect the cafe's menu is based around bagels, with toppings including cream cheese, smoked salmon, hummus, chopped liver, tofu, and Nutella, and sides including homemade pickles and beet coleslaw. There are some interesting sandwiches including Smoked Trout Salad, Chopped Liver and Swiss Cheese, and Organic Fried Chicken, and they offer a catering menu for Passover.

As Rick and I dined on our breakfasts and sipped our coffees, we both agreed that there should be a Bagel's Beauty shop next door to Beauty's Bagels.

Speaking of words (while coincidentally writing in words) reminds me of a recent Facebook posting session with an American friend:

Is it OK to like the film Trainspotting? Every time I watch it, I always start out not understanding the language and then getting better. And I always find myself wondering if I'm very different.
I forgot how much I liked the film, even though each time I watch it I understand more of it. Much of that is the difficulty in translating the dialog into English.
But Howard, they are speaking English. You speak American.
I don't accept that (it's so 19th century)! Everyone around the world knows what English sounds like. That stuff from the United Kingdom is British!
And the stuff from America is American! Nobody really speaks English anymore.
More people speak Mandarin than any other language, yet English is a very desired language in China. Parents teach their children way before they even enter school. And they teach them English with an accent that I understand. QED.
Where are you getting that information from? From personal experience I can tell you that of the small percentage of Chinese children who are learning English at all, there is a much smaller percentage that are learning in an accent you would easily understand, and a much smaller percentage of that that are learning before they even enter school. QEDon't...
Not to beat a dead QED, but there are quite a few "American" accents but virtually hundreds of so-called "British" accents, including all the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish variations, not to mention all the different Yorkshire accents, Northumbrian accents, West Country accents, Kent accents, etc. If you want to hear how my neighbours speak "English", gerr tha ont' next flight to Sheffield!
Remembering trip to shanghai and the demo of that 4 year old singing alphabet, etc. I should have said "children who matter", but I'm also influenced by stories of parents spending a weeks worth of restaurant money to have their kid eat one Macdonald meal. The official English (or "American" if you must be pedantic) is the Midwest one. Boston, Texan, etc. are, as you point out, the Cockneys of American English. Definitely not high English. And I still have no idea what that last quote is trying to say!
Translation to American: "Get yourself on the next flight..." (Your first lesson in Sheffieldese, aka Dee-Daa)
Good lord... That's as bad as a Boston accent!