Doubtless some people, when informed that there is now such a thing as a "cragel," will think, "OMG, no. Just no," while others will jump with joy at the prospect of maybe, possibly getting to wait in the rain for three hours for something. And they're both wrong. The cragel is imminent, it is delicious and it's not a day-old gimmick flown across the country. It's in the Richmond, at House of Bagels.
They've been working on a gluten-free objet d'manger for eight years, and an organic bagel for five, but they're all set to release unto the world a combination croissant and bagel as soon as this Monday, for $2.95. And because this 51-year-old, family-owned institution is committed to zero waste, they're also making cragel bread pudding (also $2.95 for a slice, $15 for the whole shebang). A buttery, yet firm mixture of two doughs, the cragel is also a marriage of methods: the layers of a croissant are laid down, then boiled and baked on a stone.
A native of Rockland County, N.Y., co-owner Jenny Puente holds Bagel Boys of Suffern, N.Y. as her all-time favorite bagel shop. (After her own, that is). To glib New Yorkers who parrot the myth that California bagels can't measure up because there's "something in the water," Puente notes that because bagels are boiled, any difference in pH or microbes would be neutralized by the heat. So there!
All the same, House of Bagels' dough recipe was initially carried over from Brooklyn, and there were approximately zero bagel shops in San Francisco before they opened in 1962. In other words, even for skeptics unwilling to monkey around with the DNA of a perfectly fine breakfast treat, the cragel has a pedigree and you should give in and try one.
A good way to start would be to post a pic of your favorite item from House of Bagels to Facebook. Whoever gets the most likes wins a free cragel. For everyone else, they'll be available in small batches next week.
House of Bagels, 5030 Geary Blvd., 752-6000.