FROM one Frank to another; we departed the land of Frank R. Lautenberg Station and arrived in the land of Frank Sinatra. That we were greeted by a neon signt instead of government-erected concrete sign was indicative of these municipal differences. Hoboken Hot Bagel, another storefront among the dynasty of Hot Bagels in the tri-state area (NB: related in name only). We arrived to find a classic hole-in-the-wall, NOT, however, in a strip mall, but on a store front along a quasi-urban main street. Kim Guadagno couldn’t blackmail us enough to say a bad thing about this Hoboken carbohydrate repository. Soft-baked goodness broke with a crunch and steam filled our nostrils (more on that below).
The town, once home to a Chicken Emergency, displayed similar chaos in the wheat ‘n cream order line. Orders were criss-crossed, several servers offered service to a single customer, single customers paid (deliberately) for dual orders, and orders were received with +1 more bagel than expected! Behind the counter, energy with a buzz like that of the neon HOT BAGELS sign up front. Nothing wrong with this, we quite enjoyed basking in the neon-kinetic energy of Hoboken, just helps to have a little idea of what you’re getting yourself into beforehand…
Now, for THE BAGELS: We settled on the friendly Amigo Bagel (featuring salsa, jalapenos, and cheddar, all baked into the baked good) (see first bagel in photo for example). The subtle salsa flavor and the slight kick make this bagel stand out, and even caused us to say that Hoboken Hot Bagels has made ‘amigos’ of us. While we did forgo cream cheese here, we maintain that it would probably be pretty good. The plain bagel, however, was the star of the show, and it all came down to timing. That’s right, folks! Through some miracle brought about by the bagel gods, we arrived just as a batch of plain bagels had been placed in their plexiglass enclosure. These were no ordinary carb rings! They were lean, narrow, marked with hand-rolled striations, but dense upon palpation, and crunchy upon mastication 😉 Steam billowed out in a way not dissimilar to steam from a manhole cover (an object related by virtue of its circularity #pi). But I digress, the Old World tradition of the thin bagel/large hole and bubbly crust can only be described so far, until you simply must try it for yourself.
WHAT WE LEARNED: Hoboklynites (sic.) like to get their bagels on the go. No seats here, folks (ok, there were two in front of the window, but that hardly engenders the kind of community gathering that we witnessed back in Secaucus, host to major parts of the notably lonely NJ TPK and NJT). Low-carb Hoboklynites can forget about this place too (duh, it’s a bagel shop).
THE BOTTOM LINE: Yes on the bagels, no on the service. But we would go out of our way, say if we were driving to NYC in the morning, to stop here
Hoboken Hot Bagel
634 Washington St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030