The latest bagel newcomer to hit the streets of Los Angeles (in this case, quite literally) is Courage Bagels, an upstart cottage industry option from owner Ari Skye. The home baker makes and sells her own Montreal-style bagels a few days a week from a bright red beach cruiser, popping up near farmers markets in Silver Lake and Echo Park, and wherever else the road takes her.
Skye is a self-taught twentysomething who turned to baking after getting laid off last year. Initially working simple breads, Skye soon turned to a recipe for Montreal-style bagels by chance, and almost immediately fell in love. “I think about bagels all the time now,” says Skye with a laugh.
In truth, Skye has no particular connection with the city of Montreal (she’s never even visited), but instead fell in love with the dense, chewier crumb of the Canadian bagel style, and the crispy exterior not often found in more traditional hand-rolled New York City bagels. She serves them simply, offering cream cheese or pats of butter, but with a cooking technique that involves a touch of honey when boiling so there’s already plenty of flavor packed inside. Skye doesn’t have room in her one-woman operation for a toaster just yet, but she plans to add one in the very near future to ensure an even crunchier exterior for customers.
The emergence of the Montreal-style bagel in Los Angeles speaks to the growth in the bagel market here overall, with newcomers like Belle’s Bagels, Maury’s, and Yeastie Boys adding to a local scene already dominated by Brooklyn Bagel Bakery and Valley staple Western Bagel. Add in the Instagram element — a new street food take being used with great success by LA’s newest crop of food entrepreneurs — and Courage Bagels has all the makings of an underground hit.
For now, you can find Skye, her bike, and the entire Courage Bagels operation Fridays at the Echo Park farmers market and Saturday in front of Clover Juice, around the corner from the Silver Lake farmers market. She routinely posts up at other rotating destinations nearby as well, and takes bulk orders by request.