Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lox of Bagels

It's easy to overlook this place. I should also add that the exterior doesn't do Lox of Bagels justice.

In most cities, a post about bagels would seem downright silly. After all, a number of well-known bagel shops, especially chains such as Einstein Bros. and Bruegger’s, are ubiquitous almost everywhere now. Here in Hawaii, however, it’s surprisingly hard to find a good bagel shop (and good pizza, but that’s another post). Most people buy them at grocery stores, and one bite will tell you immediately that no love has gone into the baking process. There are a few locally run bagel shops, but in my experience there is only one worth going to. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit out of the way from where I live, but now and then it’s worth making the fifteen-minute drive to get a nice bagel sandwich and stock up on bagels for home.

The Manhattan was unreal good. I love the fact that they're generous with
the veggies and don't slather on the cream cheese.

If you’re anywhere near downtown Honolulu, Lox of Bagels is, in my opinion, the only place to go to satisfy a bagel craving. Generous with their help, and even more so with the ingredients they pile on to an order, I just don’t see how you can go wrong with anything here. They have more than twenty varieties of homemade bagels, and that doesn’t include seasonal bagels. Their bagel prices are reasonable – at least for Hawaii – and go for $1.09 each.

While their selection of bagel sandwiches is fairly standard, they take the idea of standard and make it special. You can make your own bagel sandwich from ham, salami, roast beef, smoked turkey, tuna, pastrami, or chicken salad, or you can order a veggie ($3.99), a BLT, a Club, or a Manhattan Delight (lox, cream cheese, and capers). All sandwiches come with “the works,” a piling-on of lettuce, tomato, sprouts, onions, mayo, and mustard. You might not notice it in the photo above, but that bagel sandwich, which I’ve squeezed down to make it easier to eat, has a veritable salad inside. It is absolutely worth the $8.49 price tag. If you arrive for breakfast, you have a choice between a bagel with eggs and butter ($2.79); eggs, cheese and butter ($3.29); or eggs, cheese and butter, and ham or bacon ($4.49).

Chocolate bagel puff -- great with coffee

Another thing I like about Lox of Bagels is their bagel-based desserts. For example, they have several pretty amazing “bagel Danish” options as well as “bagel puffs,” which are innocuous-looking, dinner roll-like concoctions that are much better than a glance might suggest. The first time I tried these I worried that they’d be too dry and bready and overwhelm their individual dessert aspects. But not to worry. Good lord, they were excellent – and perfect with a hot cup of strong Vietnamese coffee (yes, another Trung Nguyen victory). Cinnamon raisin puffs, which have cream cheese inside, are only 99¢, but you may want to splurge an extra 40¢ for a specialty puff whose center is filled either with chocolate and cream cheese, peanut butter and cream cheese, or adzuki beans. I went with chocolate and cream cheese, which is delicious eaten warm, and if I didn’t feel like such a pig ordering all this (along with four bagels I’ll be freezing) I would have also ordered the adzuki bagel puff. How's that for fusion?

As with the exterior of Lox of Bagels, the interior doesn't do the place justice either

Lox of Bagels also sells homemade cream cheese spreads: plain, chive, garden vegetable, honey, strawberry, jalapeño cheddar, guava, lox, cinnamon walnut, cucumber onion dill, and spinach herb. Two-ounce containers range from $1.29 to $1.99, and eight-ounce containers will run you between $3.99 and $5.99. They also carry salads, bagel pizzas and melts, bagel dogs, and sweet and savory bagel chips.

They were short on bagels when I arrived. But more were being made in the background.

They were short on bagel puffs and bagel Danishes. But for good reason.

In the two-and-a-half years I’ve lived in Hawaii it’s been difficult to find really good bagels. Well, suffice it to say that bagels are no longer on my list of hard-to-find eats in Hawaii. Lox of Bagels is the real deal. I just wish it were closer to where I live.

A colorful variety of spreads

Lox of Bagels
111 Sand Island Access Road
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 845-2855

Mon - Fri: 5 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday: 6 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Catering is available.

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  1. We have at least one pretty good chain of bagel shops in Dublin - or at least so I thought until I read the range of items available from Lox Bagels. Our local Itsa Bagel shops seem extremely limited in comparison! I'd certainly love to wrap my chops around one of those adzuki bagel puffs, not to mention the chocolate puff, along with that Vietnamese coffee...

  2. So great to see a new post! And about bagels, one of my faves (but something I've all but given up - do you know how many kcals are in one bagel?!) Does Lox of Bagels have a 'Hawai'i' variation? I'd be interested to know what that might be. I could go for a pineapple-cream cheese (or is that to obvious?). Hope all is going well for you!

  3. I say when in Hawaii, stick to the malasadas! :)

  4. Daily Spud: Sometimes a limited selection works better than a great many options! I tend to be wary about chains, too, though some can admittedly be quite good. I was surprised by how much I liked those bagel puffs, and I’m with you on your craving…which includes Vietnamese coffee, of course. :)

    Tangled Noodle: Thank you! I inadvertently gave them up for a while – none in Vietnam for three years and then none here in Hawaii for over a year – so I’ve had some catch-up duty to carry out. But yes, it’s no surprise to hear that bagels are loaded with calories. And as a matter of fact, Lox of Bagels does have “Hawaiian bagels,” which I believe include pineapple. Pineapple cream cheese sounds pretty great, too! I might have to check for this the next time I drive past the Dole plantation on the North Shore... :)

    Epicurean’s Market: No worries there! I did a malasadas run last week, and I’m likely to do another soon. While I enjoyed the change of pace that the bagel puffs offer, there’s still nothing better to me than Leonard’s malasadas.

  5. Nice to hear from you! We missed your lovely posts!!!
    What a cool place this is!

    the chocolate bagel puff looks excellent!!

    We, in Belgium, have no bagels! a pity!

  6. What a long time we`ve been waiting for
    your new news , Dav !!!
    How`s everything going on there ???
    Here is so cold in Hn now ....
    Miss U & HW so much , dav !!!

  7. Sophie: Nice to see you here again, Sophie! I'm surprised you can't find bagels in Belgium. It's a pity, indeed. And yes, the chocolate puffs are addicting -- a good thing the shop isn't close to where I live!

    Hanoilife: I owe you a long email, M&T! I left a message on your blog recently -- so funny to see the security man sleeping on the job...Jya, mata ne!

  8. I was looking for udon recipe ideas and found your blog. I love it! It is great to see others so enthusiastic about making / eating delicious, interesting, adventurous food!!! It is making me really hungry. Can't wait to cook now. Keep up the great work!

  9. I like your blog! I also love this place. I used to stop there often when my husband used to work in town :)

  10. Welcome back Sapuche!!! How perfect for you to show up just in time for the holidays. I take it your food blog sabbatical has ended and we'll see you around here more often. Well, actually that's a question.

    I've never heard of a chocolate puff bagel, but I sure want one.

  11. Gabrielle: Funny how one looks for one thing in the blogosphere but finds another! I’m the same way myself. Thank you for spending time on my blog, and also for your kind words. I hope you cooked something great after reading my blog!

    Kim: Hi Kim! Thanks for your welcome back. I guess my “sabbatical” has ended, though that’s mainly because I’m on my way to South America – literally, I’m in an airport hotel in San Diego as I type this – and will have lots to post! It’s been hard to find the time and energy to post consistently, unfortunately, but traveling always helps alleviate that. :) Thanks again for dropping by, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    Elilai: Thank you! It’s great to find someone who knows the places I like and write about. Yes, isn’t LoB a great little bagel shop? If you know of others on Oahu that compare, I’d love to hear about them! I appreciate the comment!