For years, mostly on Sunday mornings, we've been mindlessly debating whether Moe's or Bruegger's makes better bagels.
The Jew at our breakfast table, my father Manny Salzman, favored Bruegger's. He's got good bagel credentials, having been fully Bar Mitzvahed and born to a Jewish mother in the Bagel Capital of America, New York City, or more precisely, Brooklyn.
My dad's original name was Moses, but when he was a baby, an uncle came through Brooklyn and said that Moses was not a good name for a Jewish boy in America. So my grandparents changed his name to Emanuel.
The Catholic at our breakfast table, my wife Anne Button, favored Moe's. She was born in the New Jersey town of Merchantville, an easy drive to a nice Jewish deli in Cherry Hills, where Anne picked up her own bagel credentials. Her parents, both loyal Catholics, found the New York-style deli in Cherry Hills in the 1970s, and they wouldn't let their kids eat a bagel from anywhere else.
Anne was a faithful attendee of Catholic Mass as a child, and she still likes to recite select prayers, if properly prompted. She was a star student at her Catholic school, where she got the top grade in her required Eschatology class, which dug deep into the apocalypse.
It was impossible for me to say whether my father or wife had the most discerning bagel palette, so we decided to collect data to settle the dispute about which type of bagel tastes better.
So we purchased fresh batches of bagels from Moe's and Bruegger's, and administered a double-blind taste test.
Both Jew and Catholic, as well as a handful of onlookers, were blindfolded and given chunks of sesame and "everything" bagels.
In the first round, we cut off the tops and bottoms of the bagel, and just served the interior meat.
Each taster held out their hand to receive a piece of bagel meat, prompting Anne to say, "I feel like I'm back in church and I'm starving, and all you get is a little piece of bread in your mouth."
Meat-wise, our contestants liked their competitor's bagel more, with the Jew enjoying Moe's and the Catholic Bruegger's.
Then we tried chunks of toppings. We cut out most of the bagel meat, and gave our contestants pieces of the tops of the bagels. (Moe's got kudos for putting toppings on the top and bottom of their bagels.)
Again, our Jewish contestant, who thought he liked Bruegger's originally, favored Moe's, and the Catholic enjoyed Bruegger's.
The observers mostly came down on the side of Bruegger's in all categories, except they noted that the bottoms of the Bruegger's bagels had a chlorine-like taste.
On the macro-level, everyone liked the name "Moe's" more, and the fact that it's not a national chain. The shapely hole of the Bruegger's product was deemed superior, as was the less puffy density.
But all of us, the observers as well as the Catholic and the Jew, agreed that while both Moe's and Bruegger's are serviceable, there has to be a better bagel out there in Denver.
So our search will continue.
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