Every Monday at 8:30 a.m., there are batches of handmade, boiled and still-warm bagels waiting at the bakery La Victoria – for free. I support that.
The weekly giveaway is one of San Francisco’s many signs of micro-community. The small-scale social cohesion is also evident in the tiny grocers tucked into Noe Valley street corners only neighbors would know; 826 Valencia’s partnerships with delis and chocolate factories down the street; even the fact that Bi-Rite, Tartine and Delfina all enjoy sister locations literally minutes away.
But Bagel Monday is a bit unconventional. The bagels are free, you see, but not charity. According to the website, the weekly bagel bonanza is meant to serve the Mission District high-quality bread while encouraging others to get together and do the same. A company called Sour Flour bakes the bagels in the kitchen of La Victoria, which also plays host to several other bakers, pop-up kitchens, caterers and classes. There’s a whole collaboration thing goin’ on around here.
The bagels smell great just out of the oven, and look and taste like real, whole bagels (in that way you don’t miss while you’re missing it, but know when you’ve found it). They’re great! And they’re there!
By the way, La Victoria’s bread pudding is awesome. The first time Aimee and I came to Bagel Monday, we came around 10, and the bagels had all gone. Deciding to stick around, though, we discovered how great La Victoria’s Mexican pastries, and Mexican-style pastries are. (I say “style” because I believe we had something explained to us as a “Mexican-style croissant – a fluffier, yellow-er item. I’m a bit clueless re: Mexican pastries, as you can see.) Our server, Saraloni, went all out of her way to explain to us all the different types of pan, and even ran across the street to get more soy milk for Aimee’s soy latte, as La Victoria was out that morning.
(We even ran into her on the street the week after, us with our bagels, her on her way to work, and had a bonding moment. Aww!)