There are many reasons you might suspect at the outset that you will not like the Bagelrito. Its name, reminiscent of faddish Cronuts, might sound cutesy. And let’s get this out of the way: bagel purists — those scolds who deem all flavors but plain and poppy seed and maybe pumpernickel to be abominations — will never, ever accept it.
More alarmingly, when you first encounter this pastry-crusted unit, your initial reaction might be that of pure intimidation. Mine certainly was. Because it’s BIG. As in, it weighs three-quarters of a pound and is roughly the size of a brick. We’re talking 930 calories of heft.
But like the brawny guy with a heart of gold (in the movie version, he’ll be played by Jason Momoa), it’s what’s on the inside that makes this breakfast dish something you’ll welcome in the morning, albeit one where you crave serious sustenance. The stuffing is an amalgamation of hash browns, two eggs, bacon, turkey sausage, salsa, green chiles and three kinds of cheese.
When I finally worked up the nerve to dig in, the big surprise was the pleasant heat that the peppers and salsa bring — we’re talking some real fire here, which isn’t something you often find in fast food. The bacon wasn’t crisp, but it was smoky, and the combination brought to mind a meaty, flavorful Western omelet. Another standout feature was its compact form, which allows for utensil-free dining — Einstein’s tagline, “big, bold and easy to hold” is no lie.
The one quibble I had with it — aside from its being four times as big as I needed — was that the bagel exterior, which seemed to have fused with the tortilla wrapper inside of it, was pretty tough. (Come to think of it, this layering might mean that the Bagelrito falls into the category of turducken-style concoction rather than true mash-up, but I digress.) The texture might have been particularly leathery because I bought my Bagelrito late in the day, and presumably the whole thing had been sitting around in a warming drawer behind the counter for a while. A fresher specimen might have been more tender.
So instead of seeing the Bagelrito as just another attention-grabbing stunt, perhaps we should look past its eye-roll-inducing moniker and hulking dimensions. If you really think about it, there’s even a certain beauty in this chimera. Symbolically, it represents the merging of disparate food cultures into a delicious whole. The bagel, so associated with the urban delis of New York, meets breakfast burrito, the child of Southwest cookery. And it’s apparently attracting fans — the company tested it in Denver, where it sold out upon its debut.
In other words, when it comes to bastardized burritos, they’re not all bad apples.
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