Bagels, like pizza, are one of those things that people just love to say you can't get down here. And just like with pizza, that's a load of BS nostalgia for New York. It's not the water and it's not the air, and it's not something magical in that one place that was your favorite spot. There are lots of good bagels in the world, many of them outside of the five boroughs. The one thing that matters most in creating a traditional NYC bagel is that it is boiled. Most of your modern and chain bagel spots use a machine that steams the bagels, rather than giving them a traditional boiling. This actually is hard to find outside of New York, but you will find it at Bagels and a Whole Lot More in Coral Springs, where they give each dough loop a proper boil in the kettle. It's that boiling step that gives bagels their shiny exterior and that soft chew. While you're there, grab some egg platters or sandwiches with Boar's Head meat.
Readers' choice: The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.