The man behind the counter at Zucker's Bagel & Smoked Fish on Chambers Street in Manhattan did a double take and smirked. He probably had already taken 100s of bagels orders this morning alone, yet, whether it sounded gross or because I was so clearly embarrassed by it, he had to clarify that he heard my order correctly. That's because, in honor of Election Day, I tried Cynthia Nixon's much-contested bagel order.
This past Sunday, while on the campaign trail, Cynthia Nixon stopped by the iconic Zabar's gourmet grocer on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Inside, walking between the bagel and smoked fish counters, the Gubernatorial candidate asked for several classic bagel toppings: plain cream cheese, lox, red onion, capers, and tomatoes. This simple act wouldn't have been newsworthy, except that, instead of opting for a savory bagel for her base, Nixon ordered cinnamon-raisin. Thanks to Gothamist, the moment and Nixon's unconventional order were caught on video, and it didn't take long for New Yorkers and people all over the internet to start talking about it.
Fast-forward four days to Election Day, and the candidate's bagel order is still being talked about. In the last week, internet searches for capers have increased by 600%, searches for the term "bagel gate" is up 550%, and other related terms about Nixon's bagel order are listed as ”breakout search queries” in Google. This is all pretty outrageous because you'd think people would be Googling where Nixon and her fellow candidates stand on the issues.
In order to prove that Nixon's bagel preference isn't actually that big of a deal, I tried her order. As strange as it may sound, it wasn't bad. At first bite, the savory elements — the lox, red onion, and capers — were so strong that I couldn't taste any of the sweetness from the bagel. It tasted not unlike how this order would taste on a plain bagel.
About three bites in, I did start to pick up on the cinnamon, and I have to say, it didn't turn me off. Sure, there were a lot of competing flavors. Each individual bite was vinegary, fishy, tangy, and sweet — but having them all fight it out on my taste buds was by no means unpleasant. If you're into sweet and savory combos, I'm confident you wouldn't be disgusted by this bagel order. Though, that's not to say I'll be giving up my regular everything bagel with scallion cream cheese anytime soon.
Of course, it shouldn't matter what politicians eat. We might be tempted to examine their meals for clues about their beliefs and values, but, at best, we're probably wasting our time and, at worst, our observations can be misleading and distracting. So, now that we know Cynthia Nixon's cinnamon raisin bagel with plain cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato, and capers is not as gross or weird as you might think, New Yorkers can concentrate on what really matters today: getting out and participating in the democratic process.