The bagels at Rosemary Rocksalt in Vancouver, British Columbia, are the kind of baked goods that deserve to be courted with fine wine and even finer dining — the kind you would be proud to bring home to meet the parents.
“This is love at first bite,” I distinctly recall musing out loud, as I consumed my order of wild British Columbia sockeye salmon, cream cheese and red onion — hold the capers — on a rosemary rock-salt bagel, lightly toasted on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside. A friend, who had opted for a bagel topped with the establishment’s illustrious Montreal-style smoked meat (actually flown in from Montreal each week), solemnly echoed my sentiment.
Romantic metaphors aside, the bagel eatery has rightfully earned its sparkling reputation. Helmed by Parise Siegel, Ken Sim and Teena Gupta, Rosemary Rocksalt follows in the footsteps of Siegel’s Bagels, its sister establishment owned and operated by Parise’s father, Joel Siegel, for some 25 years. There are two Rosemary Rocksalt locations in Vancouver; the first opened in 2012 and the second two years later.
At Rosemary Rocksalt, bagels are boiled in a kettle before entering a stone-hearth oven, all in open view of inquisitive patrons. While my order was being prepared, I watched wide-eyed at the spectacle. An employee took notice and played exhibitionist, placing a row of bagels on a wooden plank and then into the oven with exaggerated flourish and a smile.