Los Bagels—A Local Institution Embarks on a Sustainable Path (& GIVEAWAY!)
If you ever find yourself on highway 101, in Northern California heading toward the Oregon border, this is a must-stop destination. The colorful decor, día de los muertos paraphanelia, and delicious smells that greet you at the door will confirm you made the right decision. Los Bagels has been a fixture in Humboldt county since 1984, treating people to high-quality products that blend Jewish and Mexican cultural food traditions. In 2003, I was a grad student at Humboldt State University and, prior to my gluten-free days, Saturday meant a visit to Los Bagels. I loved their famous “slug” shaped bagel slathered with thick cream cheese, topped with lox, and then sprinkled with “slug slime.” It was the perfect way to tell your tummy you loved it!
Fast forward 10 years to 2013. I find myself teaching second grade for the first time in my teaching career. Imagine my surprise (and joy!) discovering one of my students’ stories was Jalapeño Bagels. It is the story of a young Jewish-Mexican boy seeking the perfect food to represent both sides of his cultural heritage for his school’s International Day celebration. I shared with my students how this story reminded me of a fabulous bakery I ate at in college…and then I turned to the back of the book. I was shocked to read it WAS based on that fabulous bakery! Specifically on the background story of one of the bakery’s founders, Dennis Rael.
This year, I approached Los Bagels as a teacher-foodie-blogger and begged —I mean, asked— for some complimentary products to enrich the literary experience of my students as they read and analyzed this story. I was amazed at all of the goodies they agreed to send. Even more surprising was a question I received from one of my students: “Do they have gluten-free?” Until that moment, I thought the treat would be only for my students. However, when I contacted their marketing director (thanks Brandon!), he informed me there WOULD be GLUTEN-FREE bagels!! I’m not joking when I say I practically heard angels singing! My son would get to taste his first bagel in more than 3 years. Yay! The week the treats arrived, we had a Tasting Tuesday celebration with bagels and cream cheese. And while everyone was able to choose their own bagel flavors, they all had a taste of the famous “jalapeño bagels!”
Tasting Tuesday is an established celebration in my classroom where I provide real food goodies for students to taste. This year they’ve sampled sprouted chips, herbs, olive oil/balsamic vinegars, coconut water, granola, coconut flakes, raw sauerkraut, popcorn, and bagels. While it’s not a weekly event (just when I can afford it or convince manufacturers to share their goodies!), the kids greatly look forward to it. We discuss organic, sustainable, pesticides, probiotics, digestion, and many other nutrition topics.
While Los Bagels has long been committed to supporting its local economy and sourcing ingredients from the community, the nutritive side of the products is experiencing a make-over. As of July 1st all bagels at the bakery will be made with organic flour, and become CCOF certified Organic by September 1st. Los Bagels works with many local farmers sourcing organic strawberries, peaches, basil, chives, lettuce, tomatoes, and is pursuing organic options with more of their products in the future.“We have a very high standard of quality that our customers have come to appreciate and that is our number one priority.” —Dennis Rael, co-founder Los Bagels, expert bagel-maker
And now YOU have the chance to win a DOZEN bagels (they have a GLUTEN-FREE bagel!) and their famous SLUG SLIME (toasted onion, garlic, and sesame seeds)! Enter BELOW!
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