hen’s a bagel not just another sad generic bagel? When you get it at Little Red Hen Bakery
(302 G St., Salida), after it’s been baked in a wood oven (at a low temp with residual heat after the fire’s been removed), resulting in a spectacular, crisp jacket. Bagels have rarely if ever caused me to do a double take, but this one pauses my girlfriend and me after our first bites to stare at each other stupidly. We both proclaim it’s the best in memory, possibly the best ever. Our everything flavor bagel ($4.50 with cream cheese, available Wednesdays and Saturdays only) boasts a big beautiful garlic edge, and despite the browned exterior, the crumb’s super soft and airy, gorgeously glutenous and chewy, still holding the oven’s warmth. It’s difficult even for a really nice raspberry-oat fruit bar ($3.25) to get our minds off the now-disappeared bagel, even though the bar’s sticky-yet-granular texture commands attention, sort of figgy and jam-like, dense and damn sweet.