In the realm of little food pleasures, I feel passionately brand-loyal about only a few places. With Vietnamese food, I can't decide whether to recommend King Wok (jackfruit shakes and amazing summer roll sauce) or Saigon (awesome vegetarian bun with grilled tofu) to friends. With Thai food, my loyalties are divided all over town. Ditto Indian food. Ditto pizza. Ditto semi-foodie lunch spots. Ditto local coffee places. But there are two food outlets to which I am absolutely loyal: Yats! and, today's little pleasure spotlight, Bagel Fair.
There is no bagel-based little pleasure so heavenly as Bagel Fair. Tucked away in its unassuming Nora Plaza location on Indianapolis' northside, the overhead sign reads only "BAGELS." Is the simple, one-word sign demonstrating humility or hubris? Based on the cheeky counter guys, I'd say that it's a good balance of the two. Humility factor: no fancy pants interior, no uniform for employees, simple in-store signs, no branded bags. Hubris factor: you can tell that they know that Bagel Fair is the only real bagel place in town.
But lets get to the point: these bagels are truly delicious. Perfectly chewy, generously seasoned, not overly sweet, and with the occasional crunchy edge, they are also very reasonably priced. You'll pay 80 cents for one or $8.50 for a dozen. Bialies and flagels (flat bagel) are $1 a piece. With toppings, they're a bit more. I've only ever had savory bagels, because that's what I enjoy, but I have enjoyed sesame, poppy seed, garlic, and onion bagels from Bagel Fair. My absolute favorites are the bialy-flavor and everything bagels.
Bagel Fair bagels are all good enough to truly enjoy without the smooshy "shmear" of toppings you'll find at every other bagel place. If you're anything like me, though, you'll probably end up getting cream cheese on your bagel. Thankfully, the good Bagel Fair folks don't overstuff - you'll get enough to add creamy tanginess to each bite, but not enough to have cream cheese leaking out the side. If you're feeding a crowd, you can also get little tubs of plain and flavored cream cheese, as well as drinks, from the cooler.
That's a bialy-flavor bagel above, eaten Saturday before playing Guitar Hero with Ben's cousin. Yum! Ben's favorite way to eat Bagel Fair bagels: toasted everything bagel with peanut butter and sliced tomatoes, served sandwich-style. Do you have any bagel serving suggestions?