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Redwood Bark

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Boichik Bagels: A schmear delight

Emily Winston, according to the New York Times, grew up in central New Jersey eating a classic Manhattan delicacy, H&H Bagels. Winston described the taste of this specific bagel as, “…not a muffin, it’s not a cupcake, it’s a sweet-neutral, which works really well with cream cheese and lox.”

This Times article, from 2021, is now proudly displayed in Winston’s fourth and most recent shop, Boichik Bagels in Larkspur. 

Like Winston, I also spent my childhood knowing and loving a good bagel, as I too grew up outside of Manhattan. The incredibly specific doughiness (but not too bready) and sweetness (but not overly so) are something I have not been able to find at home since my move to Marin.

Illustration courtesy of Ava Stephens.

That is, until Nov. 10, 2023. 

A long line looped around the small store. Scents wafted through the crowd. Distinctly sharp everything seasoning coalesced with the warm smell of freshly toasted malty dough. Inside, black and white tiled floor, a man shouting names for orders out of a microphone. Home, again!

At Boichik in Larkspur, bagels and schmears are shipped from their Berkeley factory. Bagels can be ordered in sandwich form or to go.

Winston perfectly executed her vision for a California bagel modeled after H&H’s legacy. A Boichik Bagel’s exterior is not too thick, but substantial enough to provide a crisp contrast to a doughy yet dense interior. I prefer to stick to a simple plain bagel, but other offerings include Sesame, Cinnamon Raisin, Egg, Everything and Pumpernickel. The full menu can be found here.

So, you’ve got a great bagel, but what about the rest? In terms of schmears and toppings, Boichik also checks all the boxes. Their whitefish salad is fittingly salty and their lox is thinly sliced and delicate. Boichik’s ‘Pink Cream Cheese,’ is also notable, a commendable copy of the New York special, ‘Temp-Tee.’ While Boichik’s food choices are quite special, it isn’t the only thing about the store I appreciate. 

A mezuzah hangs next to the entrance to Boichik, signifying Jewish faith.

The significance behind the name, Boichik Bagels, speaks volumes to its place in a community like our own. As Winston wrote on Boichik’s website, “A few years before [my Grandmother] died, I went to visit [her], having recently ‘gone butch.’ ‘Oy, such a boychik,’ she cried, ‘Tell me, will you be having your Bar Mitzvah soon?’”

In other words, Boichik Bagels is a celebration of Jewish culture and identity. As a Jew, I’ve felt the shockwaves from the conflict abroad reverberate into my life. Whether it be seeing an image of protests on a faraway college campus or encountering one right outside my school, I have begun to feel a bit ostracized. People not too far from myself are being held hostage for an identity in which I share.

 So in a time as divisive as this, it is important to stay close to the things that make us who we are. At its core, Boichik Bagels is a glittering ode to both New York and Jewish culture. For me, it’s a reminder of my home and a part of my broader community. It’s a celebration of not only great bagels, but a greater identity.


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About the Contributor
Hannah Herbst
Hannah Herbst, Copy Editor
Hannah is a senior at Redwood High School and a copy editor for the Bark. She loves coxing for the rowing team, backpacking and drinking lots of coffee.