More Than a Mere Schmear

I've bought my bagels at the Hot Bagel Shop on South Shepherd for as long as I can remember. Not only do they have the best bagels in town, but their breakfast bagels, pizza bagels and bagel sandwiches are legendary in the cheap eats community. When I remarked that I had not seen Don Wicks, one of the owners, for quite some time, I was told that he had opened a second location, Hot Bagels & Delicatessen (3939 Southwest Freeway, 713-850-9058). The new shop, across from Compaq Center, serves the same hot bagels as the original, but it also has an expanded menu that looks more like that of a traditional Jewish deli. And if you're in search of something different, the whitefish breakfast bagel sandwich ($7.95) is a real find. I chose a toasted "everything" bagel, lathered with cream cheese, then topped with lettuce, tomato, strips of raw onion and what seemed like a pound of deliciously smoky whitefish. Fortunately, this bagel is served open-faced; there's no way you could get your lips around the whole thing.

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Paul Galvani