Los Bagels

403  2nd Street

Eureka, CA

When you want a tasty (gastronomical or visual) treat in Humboldt County, the best place in Eureka to find it could be Oldtown. Buildings are quite ancient—ornamental and such—and many seem to relish in antique or bizarre décor. I located a bagel shop here for my coffee review, one that dated from the “good old days” of 1984, and one different enough to feature Dia de los Muertos at this time of year. The place has gingerbread on the structure, and old brick walls inside, seasonally decorated with skeleton art. Los Bagels, it is called. Why the South-of-the-border name for a Jewish product such as bagels? Intrigued, I looked up their website, and legend has it that three wandering Jewish friends—well, at least one was Jewish—found themselves marooned in Mexico, heaving bagels at a calaca, a large, armadillo-like critter, in order to placate it one night. The truth? Locals named them Los Bagels because of the story…and it stuck.  Now they serve Mexican bagels (along with many other types) and Mexican hot chocolate (yum!) and, in order to be eligible for one of my esteemed reviews, coffee, in several forms. To emphasize their multiculturality, they fondly refer to the waitstaff as bageleros. After all, Starbucks has its barristos, so the Los Bagels chain—which includes the first shop in Arcata and one at Humboldt State University—has bageleros.

Los Bagels has pleasant round-top windows to balance the heavy brick, and an abundance of colorful art. Tables  are simple round wood tables with metal bases and slatted chairs. High ceilings give it a good feeling of size, and it has  fans and some haunted-house chandeliers. but the place isn’t especially cozy or quaint. My interest was mostly held by the wall pictures, mural, and seasonal decorations (Dia de los Muertos). They have many items for sale and on display, including mugs, canvas bags (Frida designs and others), and a specialty product called Slug Slime (a popular onion-garlic-seed-seasoning mix). Right now, in October, they also sell some delightful handmade Mexican Dia de los Muertos calacas.  Mexican music improved the ambience.

Fare: I passed on the bagels and instead tried a lime corn cookie. Yum! Best thing yet in the pastry case, I’m sure! Unless it’s sticky buns or Pan de Muerto or . . . (I didn’t actually hone in on anything once I spied the lime corn cookies, but learned of the bread and sticky buns from their website. You can also go to that to see all the bagels). They use many local farm products, and locally-roasted coffee. My small drip coffee was average-priced and tasted fine. I feel as though I should return to sample the official bagels, but, no, I am a coffee reviewer.

Service and clientele: Customers ranged from travelers (us)-to an old-timer nursing his cup at a table-to a young mother with a shy little boy-to a single young man chatting happily with the crew. Saw no laptops; I asked about it and they reported that they do not have WIFI.  No problem with that!

Hours: 6:30-5 M-F; 7-5 Sat; 7-4 Sun

Rating: (eats: 5 of 5 sugarplums);  coffee house in general: 3 (of 5 coffee beans)