>> Courage Bagels | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Courage Bagels

EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (08 March 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:

The stretch of Virgil Avenue through Virgil Village may be the city's current epicenter of history's turnover, what is more properly called gentrification when that term is accurate. Chronicled methodically by Samanta Helou and her somber, reflective This Side of Hoover project, the faces of people and buildings are being systematically replaced, and whitened.
It is certain that the owner of the neighborhood's newest bagel shop Courage Bagels knows this, and has concern for it. This has been expressed by asking the former tenant of the space, a Guatemalan bakery which lasted 20 years but was forced to relocate to South Central, to provide their pan dulce each morning to offer to residents.

In one respect, it makes sense that the prices are not raised and neighbors can get this pan dulce for 50 cents or a dollar like they used to. On the other hand, it is almost as if it is desired to show the value of the new offerings, which are sandwiches upwards of $18, against those of the old bakery. If Super Pan's old clients were in the line, it would mean something, but that does not seem to be the case. It comes off a bit like white savior complex.
These bagels are good, and unique, and deserve a discussion in the city's food landscape. They have been beloved since she was selling them from a basket on her bicycle. She is talented and deserves to be a part of all of this. It probably should just be without an association with the building's past, since after all the landlord kicked Super Pan out knowing full well a tenant like Courage Bagels was much more desirable for the profit they seek.
In addition to the sandwiches, one uncut everything bagel ($3, above) was purchased mostly just to give it a look-over. What was in the takeout bag was possibly the most Montrรฉal-y of Montrรฉal bagels, burnt heavily on one end and chipped away on the other. All in a good way, of course.

A lot of online "backlash" against the shop focuses on the price tags mentioned earlier. But to be fair, a sandwich with quality smoked salmon and some very fresh and delicious vegetables on it is not going to come cheap no matter what. That aspect of the criticism is unwarranted and misses the mark completely.

Half of the hand sliced smoked salmon (above) runs $9 (a whole is $15) and comes on a thin layer of their smooth cream cheese. The toppings are also big punchers, with extra loud capers that pop with sourness and tomatoes so red you will forget they did not come from your garden.

The tomatoes are reason enough for another half of the cream cheese tomato ($5, above), a very simple pleasure that is drizzled with lemon and olive oil before being topped with salt and pepper.
This would most likely be the go to order on most cases as long as the tomatoes are this fresh every time.


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