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A cinnamon raisin bagel from Real New York Bagels. Yes, this picture was taken on our coffee table in the living room with only natural light. (2005)
I originally designed and have continued to manage the web site for The Cristol Group, a gourmet and specialty food distributor in Fort Lauderdale, for years.
Earlier this year, Sam Cristol called me up and asked if I'd be interested in building a simple web site for a friend of his who was starting a bagel company. I said sure and started learning all about the world of bagels, specifically New York bagels.
Real New York Bagels (RNYB) sells par-baked, Parve OK Pas Yisroel, authentic New York bagels and bialys. OK, let me break all of that down for you, but backwards (for dramatic effect).
Authentic New York Bagel — RNYB's bagels are hand seeded and kettle boiled in real New York municipal water.
Parve OK Pas Yisroel — You know what kosher is, right? The super short version is that kosher food is food prepared in accordance with Jewish law. Parve OK Pas Yisroel is essentially super-kosher because in addition to adhering to all Jewish laws regarding food and food preparation, the bagels are actually baked by Jewish people.
Par-Baked — A par-baked bagel is baked approximately 95% of the way to completion and then frozen. After you purchase the frozen par-baked bagel, you pop it in the oven at home for about 5 minutes at 450° and — voila! — a fresh cooked bagel like you'd get in a New York deli.
And in case you don't know what a bialy is (I certainly didn't), it is a chewy yeast roll named for Bialystok, Poland. Some people compare them to english muffins. At first glance it looks like it has a hole, like a doughnut, but it's actually a small depression that is usually filled onions and/or other ingredients like sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Though it wasn't part of the original deal or expectation of the client, the main reason I was excited about the opportunity to work on this web site was that I was hoping to do some food photography utilizing my tripoded, long exposure, natural light technique I've discussed over the past few days.
Sam had them send me some bagels and bialys, and I started prepping for my first food photo shoot. I went to Brown's Restaurant Supply and walked up and down every aisle trying to find the right plates, utensils and accessories for the photos. With a couple bags of stuff, I returned home and got to work in the living room not really knowing if I was going to be able to pull this off.
Imagine my delight when I saw how well the pictures turned out (they are at the top of every page of the RNYB web site).
Since then, my dream has been to go visit my favorite pastry shop, Au Peche Mignon, and pitch them a web site that I'll do for a little cash and a lot of trade. I'm thinking ¼ my regular rate and make the rest up in store credit. They seem to have some sort of web site, but I think we can improve upon it a bit.
Unfortunately, real work has been occupying more than enough of my time, so the pitch remains delayed.
One of these days though...
Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, the bagels and bialys taste superb, especially after you're pulled them out of a hot oven at home. But you have to eat them quick, because without any preservatives they go bad pretty fast (less than a week).
Brief update on other stuff.
Candy is busy packing her overnight bag. We have to be at the hospital in 5½ hours. Wheeee.
Thanks to all of you that have e-mailed and called us wishing us well. I'm sure everything will go fine, but it's hard to not be nervous.
Argus had a fun time at the Lake Bottom today. He actually came when I called his name! That was pretty cool. This weekend we'll try The Greenway.
Candy's got a slumber party at the hospital tomorrow night, so me and The Boys will be bach'in' it.
Time for bed.
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