Friday, May 14, 2010

Your Suburban Bagel Stop: The Daily Bagel

Nestled into a loop of a commercial neighborhood just to the north of Valley River Center lives a little bagel store that badly wants to be your destination for flavored bagels and coffees. The Daily Bagel is attached on one side to The Cleanery, a busy drive-up laundry service store, and boasts a small concrete patio to the other side, allowing four tables to overlook two busy roads and a dentist's parking lot. Inside, there are about a dozen kinds of bagel and a dozen kinds of cream cheese awaiting your order, along with a menu that treats bagels like fancy substitutes for sandwich bread or hamburger buns, and an espresso machine and racks of sugary syrups that can create the coffee drink of your dreams with only a short wait.

All of this is to say: The Daily Bagel wants to be the suburban solution for your bagel needs, and it is a solid success.

IMG_1357.JPGThe bagels are big, large enough that they might not fit comfortably in a home toaster, length-wise, and they come in a wide if predictable variety: cranberry-orange, three kinds of cheese, chocolate chip, salt, onion, etc. The cream cheeses are also typical, though made on-site: plain, berry, lox, veggie, chive, and others. The standouts on this list were the Apple Cinnamon Crunch bagel, which had thin, baked slices of green apples on top, and the impressively rosy lox cream cheese -- a bargain at the same price as the other flavored entries. A bagel with cream cheese will set you back about $2, slightly more when you add flavors.

But The Daily Bagel doesn't stop at self-serve bagels or toasted-with-schmear entries. They offer a pretty substantial list of sandwiches, breakfast and lunch, that they make on demand. I tried the Swiss Cheese bagel with egg, cheese, and veggie sausage, for $5; C went with a cheddar bagel with lox, tomatoes, capers, and plain cream cheese ($7.99). Both were pretty good: mine came with a suspiciously round egg "patty" that answers the question of how, precisely, it could be done that quickly, but it was too much to hope for fresh scrambled eggs. They do, however, each come with a free (albeit tiny) chocolate chip cookie.

You can get any of the deli sandwiches on sourdough, wheat, or rye bread, but it seemed a shame not to keep the bagel involved (until, eventually, we were reminded of the mess that a slippery bagel sandwich quickly becomes). Beyond the breakfast fare, there are pretty standard deli choices: roast beef, pastrami, turkey, chicken and tuna salad, and even hot ham and cheese. Being in Eugene there is, of course, a vegetarian entry (boasting "real avocado"), in case the many variations on the egg sandwich weren't enough. You can also get a bagel burger -- real or veggie -- or a bagel dog -- meat only.

IMG_1356.JPGThe Daily Bagel's coffee was moderately priced -- I had a $3 20oz cappuccino that was surprisingly not bitter. I say "surprisingly," because my usual experience is that any place which offers such a long and featured list of flavored drinks -- they have a Snickers mocha, for instance -- can't be trusted to pull a good espresso. This was the exception -- though it could be the free chocolate-covered espresso bean talking. There are also fruit smoothies ($4 each) and a selection of juices and Pepsi products, along with Stash teas.

The atmosphere is plain suburban café, but done well: the tables (there are about 10 inside, four out) are well spaced, the store is well lit, and there's room enough when the lunch crowd isn't around to linger over a cup of coffee, a newspaper, the CNN being broadcast on their flat screen TV, and, oh yeah, the free wifi.

All-in-all, it's not a bad place to land mid-day when you want to forget everything unique about Eugene and just gnosh in peace. (If you'd rather remember where you are, they happily sell bagels and cream cheese in bulk to go).

Location: 4770 Village Plaza Loop, just off of Goodpasture Island Road across from Kendall Chevrolet.

Hours: M-F 6 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m.; Sat. 7 a.m. -- 4 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m. -- 3 p.m.

Discounts: 1/2 off bags of day-old bagels.

Daily Bagel on Urbanspoon

See also: Sidecar on finding "a decent bagel" in Eugene.

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