Tag Archives: Fast Casual

Fast Casual Review: Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros.

Written by Adam, GrubGrade Contributor

I typically go to Einstein Bros. Bagels two or three times per week.  With a vast assortment of 99-cent bagels and bottomless refills on five different kinds of coffee brewed daily, you really can’t beat this place in terms of value, selection, or quality.  Yet Einstein’s has ventured out from the world of just bagels and coffee in recent years, and introduced an expanded menu that features all kinds of sandwiches, salads, and non-traditional breakfast treats.  After receiving a free coupon for their new “Bagel Poppers” via their email club I decided to check out the company’s latest innovation, which comes in three flavors; blueberry, cinnamon sugar, and sweet cream cheese.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros

These “bite sized bagels” actually come in a pre-packaged cup which will set you back $2.99 without the aforementioned coupon.  I went for the blueberry and there were 15 flavored poppers total in my cup, ranging in various sizes.  The first (and most prominent) thing I noticed about the poppers was the glaze.  They had a thick and shiny glaze that you’d expect to find on a donut, not a bagel.  It was so thick that many of the poppers were stuck together when I opened the cup.  They were sticky as well, so much so that I found eating these in my car to be problematic, and actually had to wait until I got home to really dissect them.  

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (4)

As for taste these were ok but nothing special.  Yes they were sweet and there was a fair distribution of blueberries amongst the poppers, but the sweetness is really limited to the glaze and comes across as cheap and corn syrupy (although to be fair, that’s not always a bad thing in my mind).  Normally I like my blueberry pieces to compliment the warm and soft interior of the bagel dough, but these just felt like they took a backseat to the sweet exterior.  Still, it’s nice to get real blueberry pieces in a product like this, and they had a fair amount of blueberry flavor.  The biggest problem with these is the absence of that signature bready interior I’ve come to expect in Einstein bagels, as the small amount of interior dough takes a definite backseat to the outer glaze.  Also, aside from being too sticky and not very practical as a breakfast item, these “poppers” strike me as being nothing more than a sugar bomb, which is probably the last thing I should be eating in combination with all those bottomless cups of coffee.  A regular bagel may not be a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and flaxseed, but it’s ain’t horrible for you either ya know. 

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (wide)

Einstein Bros. Bagels are famous for the hard “crusts” on the outside and for their warm, chewy interior.  Unfortunately these “poppers” do the company’s trademark product an injustice by trying to be a mix between a donut hole and slightly stale bagel from just “any” bagel store.  Still, as long as the company continues to offer its normally delectable assortment of bagels (my personal favorite is Pumpernickel) and fantastic seasonal coffee flavors they can count me amongst their loyal patrons, despite a disappointing showing with their latest non-bagel innovation. 

  • Pros– Good alternative for kids or “non-bagel” patrons.  Put the cup in your cup holder.  Degree of snackability for sweet-tooth minded customers.  Free with coupon, so why the heck not?  Hey, real blueberries!  
  • Cons– Too sticky.  Sweetness is superficial and limited to glaze.  Doesn’t have the usual Einstein bagel “crust,” nor the pick-me-apart bread “feel” of a fresh bagel.  Would be better if served warm.  Glaze is way too heavy.  Would have liked to see a “Pumpernickel Popper” if for alliterative effect alone.  

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (close collage)

Taste:  5.50/10

Value:  4.00/10

Grubbing on the Go:  4.75/10

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GrubeGrade:  5.25/10 (Mediocre)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $2.99  (Free with drink purchase coupon from  Einstein E-Club)

EinsteinBros.com

No Nutrition Facts Available

Featured Restaurant: Moby Dick House of Kabob

When you hear Moby Dick, you mind instantly goes to the big white whale in the book.  Now, when in and around the nation’s capital, Moby Dick conjures up affordable and delicious Middle Eastern food.  There are currently 14 locations in the DC metropolitan area.  “Moby’s” made its debut in Bethesda, Maryland back in 1987 and is still going strong.

mdhok2-1

When you enter Moby Dick, you can see fresh dough being rolled out and baked in a clay oven.  There is a little viewing area where you can see the work being done.  The flatbread is used for sandwiches an well as a side order with all entrees.  Team the fresh flatbread with Mast-0 kheyar, yogurt mixed with cucumber and fresh herbs, and you’ve got a tasty combination.  While the bread is a tasty treat, the grilled meats are the star of the show.  Whether you opt for the beef, chicken, or lamb you can expect to get tender, well-seasoned meat with the right amount of char on the outside.  Most of the dishes can be ordered as a salad, with the meat served on top of greens with tomato and onion.  As an entree, you’ll be getting your choice of meat served with flatbread and basmati rice.  I usually go the route of getting a sandwich, which looks more like a wrap.  You get two nice sized portions filled with fresh lettuce and tomato your choice of meat.  The gyro sandwich and chicken sandwich can be seen below.  

  • Recommendations: Gyro Sandwich, Chicken Sandwich, Basmati Rice
Gyro Sandwich

Gyro Sandwich

Chicken Sandwich

Chicken Sandwich

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

 Prices average at around $6 for a sandwich and a couple bucks for a side of basmati and a drink.  I’m always assured a good meal at Moby’s as they seem to be extremely consistent with their quality and service from restaurant to restaurant.

  • Food: 9.00/10
  • Menu Variety: 8.50/10
  • Atmosphere: Fast Casual/Takeout
  • Price: $$-Moderate-$7.01-14
  • GrubGrade: 9.00/10 (Exceptional)

Check them out:

Moby Dick House of Kabob