If you have ever walked from the new city of Jerusalem to the Old City, you would have passed vendors selling a bread they call, “bagela.” In fact, they are called “simit,” a traditional bread eaten throughout the Balkans and the Mediterranean, primarily for breakfast. The “Turkish bagel,” as it is nicknamed, is much less doughy than its New York counterpart and rarely eaten with cream cheese and lox. Simit rings are soft and light on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
At Simit+Smith, located on the upper west side, in the financial district and in Cliffside Park, NJ, you can buy freshly baked simit. The owners are trying to replicate the experience of buying them from the simitçi (street simit vendors) of Istanbul. The simit rings and loaves come in three flavors: original, multigrain and whole wheat.
At the store you can also buy Poğaça (po-acha), a cross between a pastry and pretzel-like roll. They come plain, or filled with feta and parsley, or kasseri ( cheddar-like cheese) and olives. Other Mediterranean foods and drinks, like Turkish soda or Ayran, a yogurt drink, can also be found at all the locations.
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