Lox on a bagel from Toasted, based in Napa.
Lox on a bagel from Toasted, based in Napa.

Another reason to spend the weekend in Marin: bagels

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Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

We wrote recently about baker Alex Tishman, who sells his Fire Swamp Provisions bagels and baked goods at Novato’s Tuesday farmers’ market. Now lovers of fresh bagels who live elsewhere in Marin are in luck, with more options available on Saturdays and Sundays in Mill Valley and on Sundays in San Rafael.

BagelMacher, Jeff Krupman’s latest venture, is located in a Tam Junction space in Mill Valley called the Junction Beer Garden & Bottle Shop. It opened last summer with a beer garden featuring live music at night and excellent pizza by PizzaHacker (aka Krupman). Bagels are offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings starting at 8 a.m.

Krupman’s bagels are sourdough, with a several-day process of cold fermentation; they are then boiled in water treated with a bit of lye. He first began making bagels under the BagelMacher name in 2018 at his PizzaHacker store in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, where he invented bagel flavors like a ras al-hanout, a Moroccan spice blend. (He stopped production due to oven troubles.) For now he is keeping his bagels more traditional.

Jeff Krupman outside BagelMacher
Jeff Krupman outside BagelMacher

In addition to using organic cream cheese from the Sierra Nevada Cheese Co., he makes a salad with smoked McFarland Springs trout, standing in for the more traditional whitefish, and cures his own gravlax. A family-size bagel feast with both kinds of fish, cream cheese and jam plus six bagels is called “The Whole Megillah,” and “Everything Everywhere” is an everything bagel with everything seeds mixed into the cream cheese.

Krupman is from Bexley, Ohio, a heavily Jewish suburb of Columbus, and he has a fondness for Yiddish, dropping as much of it as he can into his bagel menus. (The BagelMacher sign on the building is in a Hebrew-looking font). For instance, a bagel sandwich with the works — cream cheese, fish, tomatoes, onion, capers, etc. — is called “The Big Macher,” and he once had a bagel sandwich with uni (sea urchin — definitely not kosher) that he called “Oy Vey.”

Krupman is in the midst of renovating PizzaHacker in the city and hopes down the road to begin making bagels there once again. Meanwhile, Marin customers can get their BagelMacher bagels to go, or buy them to eat in the beer garden (they’ll have to get their coffee elsewhere, though).


The other new kid on the bagel block is Toasted, based in Napa and owned by Ariella Wolkowicz, a pastry chef who started her own bagel

Ariella Wolkowicz of Napa-based Toasted
Ariella Wolkowicz of Toasted

business at the end of 2016. The bagels are available at the farmers market in San Rafael on Sundays. She also offers babka and challah, and makes her own gravlax in house.

Wolkowicz grew up in Plattsburgh in upstate New York, not far from the Canadian border. For her, a Montreal-style bagel is more in line with her taste (they are smaller than New York’s, usually wood-fired and boiled in water sweetened with a bit of honey). But her bagels are entirely her own. They are rolled by hand, left to cold-ferment for 18 to 24 hours and baked in a convection rather than wood-fired oven.

“The Montreal bagel is where I got the basis for mine, but mine is more of a hybrid,” she said.

After attending pastry school on the East Coast, Wolkowicz came directly to Napa, working at Bouchon Bakery and then a number of resorts and fine dining restaurants. In 2017, she was burned out from fine dining. And she noticed that despite Napa’s reputation as a food mecca, there were no decent bagels to be found.

In 2017 she started selling her bagels wholesale to a few places, slowly gaining new customers while she worked part time elsewhere. But Covid actually helped Toasted grow.  “I was surprised, too,” Wolkowicz said. “No one knew what was going to happen, but it was a good thing for us.”

In addition to the San Rafael farmers market, she sells at the Napa farmers market on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and in St. Helena on Fridays. Selling at the farmers markets has helped her make connections with wholesale buyers. Eventually, she hopes to have her own bagel shop.


We recently wrote about food from L.A.-based Canter’s Deli being available for pickup or delivery in Redwood City, in a partnership with DoorDash Kitchens. A second location has now been announced, this time at San Jose’s Westfield Oakridge mall. Food can be ordered to be picked up, or delivered in San Jose.

 

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."