When it comes to travelling, I love stumbling upon places that are less touristy and more geared towards locals. While doing my research about the food scene in North Baltimore/Towson, I repeatedly saw references to Towson Hot Bagels as a not-to-be-missed breakfast, brunch, and lunchtime option. While bagel places usually set off a red alert due to the emphasis on gluten-filled bagels and cross contamination, Towson Hot Bagels, or THB as I was corrected by locals, stood apart for their emphasis on providing a gluten-free options for those of us who need it. Now that I’ve been bitten by the breakfast bug thanks to Kouzzina and The Old Spanish Sugar Mill, I knew that I wanted to have breakfast out to break my travel breakfast routine of mini banana oat muffins that I brought from home that were good, but repetitive to eat each and every morning.
What’s so great about THB is that they stock Sweet Note Bagels as their gluten-free bagel supplier. If that name rings a bell, it’s probably because I featured the company’s bagels in a review after a trip to the bakery’s hometown of Philadelphia this spring. Since discovering them on a local food truck there, I have since become a fan of the company’s authentic New York style bagels which are gluten-free and vegan and their positive outlook on life as seen on their social media pages. It’s hard not to get behind the company and I hope someday soon that their gluten-free bagels will find their way onto Central Florida store shelves and/or restaurants’ pantries.
Back to THB, once at the counter to order, I found out that they currently stock the plain and everything flavors of bagels. I personally prefer their everything bagels because they are the most prefect everything bagels I have found to date since going gluten-free. The cashier said that they are prepared in a dedicated area and are toasted using a dedicated toaster. Not able to partake in THB’s fun and funky cream cheese offerings (they contain dairy), I decided to get mine simply toasted and without toppings. Because the store was fairly busy, I wasn’t able to ask about the gluten or dairy free status of their eggs, sandwich toppings and other offerings for breakfast but did note that they have a gluten-free turkey sausage that would be safe. Because Sweet Note Bagels are not something you can find just anywhere, I ordered a half dozen straight out of the freezer to take home with me to enjoy later. There was a small upcharge for the gluten-free bagels, but with a simple bagel starting at 99 cents, the final price is not bank-busting. While waiting for the bagel to come out, I noticed a posted gluten-free disclaimer which you can read above. Basically it outlines the basic risk of eating out at a restaurant that handles wheat products and advises gluten-free customers to consider the risks before dining out. This disclaimer should be posted at every restaurant that handles gluten-free and gluten-filled items but I really appreciate that THB posted this notice because it helps to create a better-informed dining experience for all involved.
When my bagel came out a short time later, I felt like I was reuniting with an old friend because it was so familiar after getting a couple packs to take home from my Philly trip. The bagels were exactly how I remembered them and still as satisfying as the first time I had them. My one complaint was that they were not toasted enough to allow a crunchy outer texture to contrast with the dense, chewy outside but in the grand scheme of things, I was more than happy to once again enjoy a Sweet Note Bagel. My mom loved her gluten-filled everything bagel which was made in-house and definitely worth coming back for. It’s no wonder that they had a steady stream of people pouring in to grab breakfast to go. I’m so glad to have discovered THB and know it’s a viable breakfast option when I need to start my day on a “Sweet Note” or just replenish my mini-freezer supply of bagels come this fall.
Update (1/25/15): I visited THB’s Timonium location today and was informed that they still stock Sweet Note Bakery’s plain and everything bagels. However, they do not have a dedicated toaster at this location so my bagel could only be served defrosted. The cashier did note gluten-free protocols on the receipt (see below). While the bagel itself was edible, it was pretty dry and crumby since it wasn’t even microwaved to make it warm. I still give Sweet Note Bakery a two thumbs up review, but hope that this THB location will get a dedicated gluten-free toaster in the future so that people will experience the magic of a perfectly cooked Sweet Note bagel!
Cuisine: Breakfast (eggs, omelets, bagels, etc.), Lunch (sandwiches, soups, salads)
Ideal For: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
Price: Under $10 per person.
Accessibility: The restaurant was wheelchair accessible.
Special Features: They offer promotions and deals to social media followers so stay tuned to their Twitter and Facebook pages!
Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.