I must admit, I am no bagel expert. Sure, I spent a summer in NYC and picked one up every morning on my way to my internship, but that hardly makes me a bagel connoisseur. Growing up in the Bay Area, donuts (not bagels) were my thing.
However, I have it on good authority -- from New Yorkers who do indeed know their stuff (my husband included) -- that the House of Bagels is THE place to go for bagels around these parts. Jon and I stopped in at the downtown Palo Alto location on Saturday morning. There was quite a selection (all the usual suspects -- plain, everything, onion, garlic, blueberry, egg, etc.) and a variety of cream cheeses in the fridge. The bagels are slightly crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. And Jon says they're made the right way (i.e., the New York way): you boil the bagels before baking them.
Also, the House of Bagels carries another New York treat: black and white cookies. Yep, this place is the real deal, people.
House of Bagels
526 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
Apparently, there are more than a dozen HOBs in the Bay Area, but I've only visited the above location. And Jon claims you can find their bagels in grocery stores, too, but I think it's best to go straight to the source if you can.