Like most people, I winced a little when I first heard about gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon’s now infamous bagel order: lox, cream cheese, capers, red onions and tomatoes on a …. cinnamon raisin bagel? I try to keep an open mind about other people’s food preferences (the exception: well-done steak) but this just sounded wrong.
Turns out, it’s not as easy as you might think to get this combo in Suffolk County. I had to drop in on three bagelries before finding a place that had capers — and finally scored some at the always-busy First Class Bagel Café in East Northport.
The counter guy maintained his best poker face as I placed the order. (It made me think he’s fielded much worse). Then, it took a good 10 minutes to put one together.
I carted the brick of a sandwich to an outside table to examine its innards in natural light (and snap a photo). The café was generous with the lox, and the layering was smart. Even so, I really didn’t want to take a bite of the thing.
I had to, though. More than one. I mostly tasted briny lox, and cream cheese, with little hits of sour and pungent crunch from the onions. Rather than smothering the entire thing in sweetness, though, the cinnamon-raisin bagel served as a sort of low-grade, exotic hum in the background. A sweeter bagel may have ruined it, but First Class’s version is subtle — and the cinnamon even added a pleasing warmth, much the way a cinnamon stick does in a Greek-style tomato sauce.
The naysayers should take a step back — this is just a quirky sandwich, albeit one that messes with long-held precepts about bagels and lox. Can it give you a bit of insight into Cynthia Nixon, and how she thinks, before Thursday’s primary? I think it might — but that's for you to decide.