As a follow-up to the excellent article by Meredith Goad (“We go in search of Greater Portland’s best bagel,” March 8), I submit the following letter to the editor:

While I was delighted, and satiated, by taking part in the bagel taste test, I was quite surprised how many friends I ran into later in the week who’d read the piece and collectively remarked that “you can’t find a good bagel in Maine.” Ridiculous!

Indeed, while the article was well-written and quite factual regarding the judges’ opinions, I also think it came across as a bit harsh. Yes. We were an opinionated group of “experts” (read as sarcasm), and, yes, we mostly agreed on the order of finish. But the thought that one can’t get a good – if not great – bagel in Maine is absurd.

I submit that comparing a Maine-made bagel to a New York City-made bagel is futile. One is not necessarily better than another. It’s all a matter of personal taste, and I have enjoyed many bagels throughout the state, even if many of them weren’t the best I’ve ever had.

Speaking of the best: After a drive up to Lewiston and Forage Market (thanks to Goad and her mention of the Saveur article about the business), it certainly ranks among the best I’ve ever had (true!).

Thank goodness there are places like Forage Market. Beautiful place, fabulous people and, yes, amazing bagels! I even had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Allen Smith, who was kind enough to give me a tour, showing me the wood-fired ovens and the master bakers (people) who lovingly hand-make each and every bagel and, indeed, turn each one during the baking process.

Pride and product go hand in hand, and Forage Market excels in both. Who says you can’t find a great bagel in Maine? Surely not me!

Jay Levine


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