Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Perfection at Bruegger's Bagels

How it was great to get invited to check out the "Behind the Scenes" in the making of the yummy Bruegger's Bagels Blog Event.  I got an email telling me that I was invited to try some new menu items and get to hear the whole process of creation to customer service.

I've worked pretty much every position in the restaurant business.  Honestly, it took me back to back in the day of working in the industry.  It brought back great memories of having a blast while working and making some great friend, not to mention the skills I learned in the process.

I was late.  Who me?  Yeah me!  Yeah Yeah, I know....but seriously time is never on my side!  Something always disrupts my schedule.  I just don't get lucky with time no matter how hard I try.  Something always drags me.  Nonetheless, I went, late or not!  I did catch some informative information and got to try some things I never had at Bruegger's.

The last time I've had Brugger's Bagels was back when I worked in Downtown Cleveland for a big Medical Insurance Company and at lunch time, if it was nice outside, a few of us would go on a walk to eat something.  One of the places was Bruegger's.  My favorite was to eat a signature bagel sandwich called, "The Leonardo da Veggie".  It has Light herb garlic cream cheese, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato & red onion. Yum! On a fresh chewy and crusty bagel that has been toasted, well it's just an artistic sandwich fit for an artist named after an artist!

Sadly, as I ventured out of the hectic city work, avoiding deadlock rush hour traffic, paying for parking and gas.  I was glad to let it go.  Along with it I left my love of Bruegger's.  That was the end of it sadly.  There was no other "Bagel Place" that fit the Bruegger criteria.  Then many years later Panera was opened near me.  I can't really compare the two.  They are very different and at the time Panera replaced Bruegger's because that was in my area.  Panera was introduced to me when I would visit my cousin in Columbus, Ohio where I first tried Panera, then when I would go to Canada and it happen to be at a break station.  Then when I worked at another medical insurance company, a competitor of the last company I worked for, we would have a "Bagel Lady" who came in every morning and sell bagels.  The company that I worked for was in the middle of nowhere.  So it was nice someone would bring something for us to purchase.  I fell in love with the Asiago Bagel and then was told it was Panera Bagels.  Well it was cheaper obviously if I bought my own and that is what I did.

This however is not a review for Panera but my first love, Bruegger's!  Which I am so grateful my love has now been rekindled!  Yum!  I also got to meet Bruegger''s Chef Philip Smith.  He's from England and he opened Bruegger's to us and explained the ins and outs of Bruegger's!  It was nice!  I had little Johnny with me and he was definitely occupied with some crafts of the season.  I thought, recognizing  that some of us our moms and basically can't just drop our kid off to go to a blog event, they involved our children!  Major Brownie Points!  Made me feel really connected to the company on a personal level.  Although the craft Johnny had to work with, combined candy and apples both which he rather eat than be crafty!  That's my Johnny!

At this point in the above picture he was put in his stroller because he grew quite restless.  LOL!  Johnny restless?  Never!  =)

I arrived right when Chef was touring the back kitchen.  Very small and not much room.  I never saw a small kitchen like this with a restaurant, but I remembered that they work with a very small menu necessities.  Complexity a little but still humble, but flavor and care in products much bigger!  Here is Chef in the cooler going over some processes that Bruegger's takes.  Very interesting, I could tell he took pride and they are specific on how they developed a product.

The bagels in this freezer are developing until they hit the huge oven.  Chef is holding some Salmon that Bruegger's uses on menu items.  I looked around to judge freshness and cleanliness.  It was all in check.

We then sat down with Chef and talked and I wanted to know where he came to be as a Chef.  I learned that he was in Italy for 4 months and he impressed me with speaking in Italian.  I was taken off guard.  He had asked me in Italian, if I spoke Italian, and although I do, I answered him in English.  I guess I'm just used to talking it with family and friends.  Pretty funny.  We also both had in common that we both worked for the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  Pretty cool eh?  He worked at the one in Washington DC and I was in Downtown Cleveland.  I guess when you work in the restaurant industry, you sometimes end up crossing paths with other people at some point!  Although when I did spend my time at the hotel it was nothing to do with working with the food aspect but more in the business area.  It all ties in together.

I enjoyed how Chef gave us some casual talking time.  Very personal.

So okay I am getting to the food.  Yes it was as good as I remembered it.  I would like to say I am pretty diverse in foods but I have never ever eaten Butternut Squash in any form.  However, we got to have and I took a bowl home o f their incredibly amazing Butternut Squash Soup which is also vegetarian.  I first would describe it with it's flavors as similar to Tomato Soup but better.  It was so good, buttery, creamy and great savory flavor perfect to have with a chewy fresh bagel.  The right thing to have on a rainy October day!  

Some of their signature soups, the orange one is their Butternut Squash Soup.  Photo courtesy of Bruegger's Bagels.

As for the bagels, well yes they are as good as they look!

There is no hiding what goes into these bagels and they weren't afraid to show it on the impressive spread that was laid out for us.  So here are the basic ingredients that go into their yummy bagels.

I got to have their new seasonal items, one of the newer ones being the Cranberry Apple Bagel.  Sweet, tart and chewy, yummy!  Now when you make a great product and you add the flavors of Autumn with it, you get some tasty creations!  For instance the Pumpkin Bagels & Pumpkin Cream Cheese, that's it, you're set!  

Photo Courtesy of Bruegger's Bagels & Bakery.
Pumpkin Bagel with Pumpkin Cream Cheese.

Buuuuuut, I wouldn't miss their Pumpkin Spice Latte!  This is where I say O-M-G!!!!

Okay the Pumpkin Spice Latte was just AMAZING!  Warm, cozy, creamy, topped of with Whip Cream and drizzled with Caramel!  Yeah that did me in!  Mmmmmmm, I was happy!  Perfect to go with this amazing scenery I caught that day....  Perfectly goes together or at least puts you in the mood!  This is when I am so blessed to live in the Midwest and see this amazing leaf color changing experience!

(C) ASM 2012, All Rights to this Photo Reserved By Me, Do Not Copy.

Well, the perfect end to this event was a bag of goodies.  Bruegger's spoiled us with a sack of bagels, plain and veggie cream cheese tubs with cute bagel balloons tied to the bags.  Soon as my Johnny saw the balloons, it was time to go!  See my son has an obsession with balloons and he will stop at nothing until he has one in hand.  Luckily it was at the end and I had to go.  It was all about the balloons at this time!

I just want to thank Becki, Chef Smith, Amber, Tina and everyone at Bruegger's Bagels and Bakery in Westalake for your invite, warm welcomes and great experience and knowledge into your company, hardwork and products!  I am glad to have been brought back to my love of Bruegger's Bagels back into my life!  I am a forever a customer and recommend this highly to everyone to try Bruegger's because I know they will love it!  Now just I wish....  Please open one by me!!!!  =)

Also it was great to meet other Cleveland Bloggers!  I look forward to getting to know all of you more!

So all of you, my readers from everywhere, find a Bruegger's by you!  Try everything, it's all awesome!  Definitely taste the products of the season!  You will not be disappointed!  Now I am craving for Bruegger's!    It's perfect for breakfast, lunch, a mid snack and a light dinner or full dinner!

Go try the TRIO and oh yeah they do Catering!
Photo Courtesy of Bruegger's Bagels &Bakery.

Please let me know if you have any questions!  I'll be more than happy to answer them.

Here is a beautiful little seating area outside of Bruegger's.  Johnny spent an outdoor moment with me and he threw a coin into the fountain!  Then we were off to make some stops at a neighboring city.  That's a later blog!  The fountain was tucked in this little area.  I just love Westlake, The Promenade and Crocker Park.

Bruegger's Bagel Bakery on Urbanspoon

Happy Fall Everyone!


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