Let’s Talk Bagels! Toasted Poppy Seed Favourites with Cheddar & Cranberry Chicken Salad

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It’s been quite some time since my last bagel-related post, so here are a batch of photos of three of my favourite things rolled up in one bagel sandwich: poppy seed bagels, cheddar cheese, and dried cranberries in chicken salad!  There hasn’t been much bagel love on the blog (you can check out my two bagel-related posts listed at the bottom here) so I’m determined to change that with a little more exploration on the bagels and great bagel bakeries that are waiting for me in our city.  There was a time when I avoided bagels like the plague because I believed they were ungodly fattening.  Coming from a girl who loves cupcakes, that probably sounds like a huge hoot to everyone.  But it’s true.  For about 2 years I did not nosh on one single bagel.  I didn’t eat toasted bagels when I was out.  I didn’t buy any from the bakery.  And I hated the ones that looked as though they’d been pumped with a steroid gun.  

Then one day I realized that I was missing out on some of the truly good quality stuff and that I actually kind of missed them.  So I snapped out of it, stopped caring about the aforementioned fat, and enjoyed the delightful toasty stuff with my favourite fillings and spreads such as cream cheese (no butter for me!), smoked salmon, chicken salad, and grilled veggies on either toasted sesame seed or poppy seed bagels.  Those two are my favourites with onion and garlic ones coming in at a close third.  And while what you see here is a bagel sandwich, I actually love eating my bagels open-faced because I think they taste yummier that way!   

This bagel in particular came from Bruegger’s Bagels (an American chain that has opened up shop on our side of the pond in both Hillcrest Mall in Thornhill and in the underground PATH near the Dundee Place food court) and the first time I came across their goods was last fall when they had pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese!  Even though I didn’t have any of the special cream cheese because I was taking bagels home as opposed to eating one right away (not getting a taste makes me a little sad now that I think of it!), I really enjoyed theirs and there’s some fab Jewish, Montreal-style bagels I’ve had during my time as icing sugar queen at Le Dolci.  Oh!  And the jalapeño asiago mozzarella bagel from our dear Tim’s is also a favourite of mine!  With cream cheese, it’s exactly like eating a creamy, cheesy, stuffed jalapeño popper.  Indulgent?  Sure.  But life is that much funner with a few indulgent moments savoured every now and then.      

*****

For a look at previous bagel-related posts in Ate by Ate, check out my veggie bagel from Seventh Sister Bakery on Roncesvalles and my delicious smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel brunch from Niche Coffee & Tea Company.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – The Chicken Salad Panini With Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo

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The sun has been shining and it finally seems as though the weather is cooperating and giving us all a giant hug and kiss.  The fall/winter terms at school have ended and summer school has officially started.  And then there’s me, happily relishing in the fact that I finished grad school just a little over a month ago and enjoying all the time that I can for myself.  Having said that, I know it seems weird to see me writing Grad Lounge posts even after I’ve finished school.  The thing is, I’ve had so much fun profiling The Grad Lounge each week that I don’t really want to stop.  And I don’t feel I should have to.  I felt all warm and fuzzy and accomplished when I made my “20-post round-up” last week and it really solidified how special this place has become for me.  The presence of school in my life has no bearing on my ability to eat here, so I will continue to post about the meals here until I have exhausted all options and avenues 😀

I may not be an incredible “bread head” the way my mom, brother, and boyfriend are, but oh how I love grilled sandwiches.  Grilled foccacia, panini buns, ciabatta, whatever; I will eat a grilled sandwich any place, any time.  I love warm grilled bread with grilled vegetables as well as warm sandwiches with a shocking bite of coolness from fresh veggies and dressing.  I’ve been having a lot of fun trying out different breads and vegetarian sandwiches over the past little while and the great vegetarian and vegan sandwich hunt (inspired by my friend Wini) continues. 

So you can say that I was a bit of a sucker when I looked over The Grad Lounge’s daily specials chalkboard menu.  Lucky for me, I am a big fan of sun-dried tomato (plus sun-dried tomato mayo?  Colour me excited!) and I’m always interested in seeing different interpretations of chicken salad, so I took one look at the chicken salad panini menu item and didn’t even need to consider anything else.  Just think, for once I wasn’t completely and annoyingly indecisive about what to eat! 

Although the panini could have been grilled more (I guess I like mine extra toasty?!), the chicken salad dressed in the sun-dried tomato mayo was both creamy and crunchy with chopped celery and peppers mixed into the salad, and some big leaves of romaine lettuce gave an extra bit of fresh crunch to it.  I really loved the sun-dried tomato flavour mixed in.  And you know what the best part was that made the panini extra special?  The sprinkling of parmesan cheese!!  That made me squeal 😀  Along with my juicy dill pickle spear, half serving of salad and half serving of fries (because I wanted both and couldn’t decide, so they humoured me and gave me a little of each, awww).  Yup, it doesn’t take much.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  The Grad Lounge’s summer operating hours are from 11:30pm-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.