For guessing the Room 21 mystery art post correctly last week, local writer and Detroit-native Mark Rumble won himself a guest blog op. He chose his favorite local java spot, Beans & Bagels, and should be commended for masterfully weaving in a T-Pain reference:
“I work in Ravenswood, which doesn’t have the smorgasbord of lunch options that downtown has. I would make the quality over quantity argument for restaurant choices in Ravenswood compared to downtown, but I don’t think random Mexican joints and a Golden Nugget constitute quality, at least not when you’re sober. However, there are a few beacons of lunchtime hope around where I work, one of which is Beans & Bagels, located right off the Montrose Brown Line stop.
Here are three reasons that I think Beans & Bagels is a top shelf breakfast and lunch spot. (I realize lists are to articles what reality shows are to television, but I’ll leave the 10,000 word food treatises on “the best French restaurants located in Tokyo alleys” and other such eloquent features to Alan Richman.)
1. Beans & Bagels serves Metropolis Coffee: Metropolis coffee is made from the finest Central American coffee beans and speedballs. It’s cheaper than coke and unlike meth, Metropolis coffee won’t make you look like a 44-year-old prostitute from Oklahoma after drinking it for a week. Metropolis coffee is perfect for anyone who wants to be too wired to actually be productive, and also wants to take 17 trips to the bathroom before lunch. Metropolis is my coffee overlord.
2. Better Made Potato Chips and Sweet Sandwiches: Better Made potato chips are an award-winning snack made in Detroit. They are pretty hard to find in Chicago, but Beans & Bagels has them. I know this a Vitners city, but Vitners is the Jules Asner to Better Made’s Brooke Burke. I grew up on Better Made’s Red Hot BBQ flavor, so that’s what I recommend. There’s a taste of Detroit in every bite, and they’ll transport you to a magical place where the unemployment rate is always in double figures and the mayor is in jail for perjuring himself about text messages.
As for the sandwiches at Beans & Bagels, I celebrate their entire catalog (at least the ones with meat—there is a whole section of vegetarian sandwiches that I hear are very good). All the sandwiches are under $6, except the 86’er because of its copious amounts of meats and cheese. My two favorite sandwiches are Mark the Bird and the Smoking Winchester, both of which are served on pressed flatbread and contain turkey, spinach and red onion. Mark the Bird is smothered with chive cream cheese, which overpowers the turkey a little bit, but pairs well with red onions and tomatoes. It’s a bit unusual, much like its namesake, former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidyrich. But unlike its namesake, you don’t have to be a baseball historian or someone born in Detroit before 1970 to appreciate the Mark the Bird sandwich. The Smoking Winchester involves real cheese (provolone) instead of cream cheese, as well as big helping of smoky barbecue sauce. It’ll make you want to praise the second amendment and tell people there’s a new sheriff in town.
3. Jalapeño Cream Cheese: I won’t pretend that the bagels at Beans & Bagels are mind blowing. They are not. They’re certainly better than the ones at Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein’s or The Great American Bagel, but they really don’t hold a menorah to David’s Bagels in Manhattan or even those salty bagels I used to get in elementary school on bagel day. But all of this is fairly moot if you get a Beans & Bagels bagel slathered with a jalapeño cream cheese.
Just like adding T-Pain’s silky, auto toned vocals and synthesized beats to a song makes it an instant hit, adding the creamy spiciness of jalapeño cream cheese to a Beans & Bagels bagel makes it about four times as delicious. The jalapeño cream cheese is made from regular cream cheese and slices of jalapeño, and I think a little jalapeño juice is mixed in as well. And it pairs surprisingly well with a cup of Metropolis coffee.” Beans & Bagels, 1812 W. Montrose, 773.769.2000