I had a fever of 102 degrees and was supposed to do a food review. Many of you can probably relate to the unpleasantness of being the sickest you’ve ever been in your life and yet having something pressing, and extremely contrary to your fever, to do. As I endured day six of the hell-born temperature that was slowing frying my brain, my mom offered to take me to the doctor’s office.
On the way home, as I waited in the car for her to return from the Raley’s off Mount Rose Highway, I slipped in and out of a daze. I don’t remember paying much attention to my surroundings, but the sign “Truckee Bagel” must have caught my eye because at 4 a.m.—my fever had finally broken the night before—I awoke with the sign glowing brightly in my mind. It was the perfect place to write about; all I ever want to eat when I’m sick is toasted bread with butter, jam or cream cheese. This was such an epiphany that I couldn’t fall back asleep for half an hour. (My most genius moments usually occur between 3 and 5 a.m.)
Galena High School students have known about the Truckee Bagel Company since its start in 1994. (It started out as Pacific Bagel and Juice Bar.) I’m a 1997 Galena grad, so the place holds some nostalgia for me. When I walked in, everything looked virtually the same as it did seven years ago: bright, color photos of Lake Tahoe on the walls, five tables with green and white checkerboard tablecloths and whitewashed chairs that looked worn from many years of teenagers’ abuses.
Although I’d gone with the intention of eating daintily, when I scanned the menu, the sandwiches caught my eye. I ordered the Castle Peak ($6.95): pepper smoked-turkey, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, capers, cream cheese and Larrupin’s mustard dill sauce. The sandwich came in two open-faced pieces on a spinach-Asiago bagel and was surprisingly light, the perfect cooling sandwich for a feverish head. The combination of capers and the mustard-dill sauce gave the sandwich a unique gourmet zest.
I also ordered a smoothie ($3.50). It was a combo of orange juice, yogurt, strawberries and blueberries that was so sweet and creamy I might have ordered another if I didn’t know that overeating while sick is bad news.
“Gourmet but humble” describes almost everything on Truckee Bagel Company’s menu. Both the hot and cold sandwiches are served with some of the fancier cheese and meat varieties: pepper-smoked albacore tuna, black forest ham, lox, brie, and Stella blue cheese. The large variety of specialty bagels (85 cents each, $4.50 a half dozen, $9 a baker’s dozen) and cream cheeses ($1.85 to $2.75 for enough spread for two bagels) are all made in-house. I took some primavera cream cheese to go. With ingredients like broccoli, squash, red and green peppers, snow peas, garlic and basil, it was like having a vegetable garden in my mouth, and it went perfectly with the onion bagel that I also took to go and ate later.
If you live on the south end of town, Truckee Bagel Company is the perfect place to find some morning inspiration in bagel form. With its friendly staff, fast service and light, gourmet menu, it’s also a good place to cool down when your blood feels like it’s ready to boil.