Review: Steven McCarthy’s St. Steven’s Bagels.

by Lynn on May 8, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

Steven McCarthy’s St. Steven’s (“Pure Bliss”) Bagels.

Something mysterious and wonderful is happening in Parkdale besides gentrification. Actors whose work we know and love are branching out and making treats that are irresistible.

Craig Pike has always augmented his income from acting by making special orders of his famous chocolate chip cookies (from his mother’s recipe) and selling them in variations  to his friends and others. His private cookie business was so successful that he opened his first store, Craig’s Cookies, on Queen Street West in Parkdale a year ago. He recently opened his second store on Church Street. (There is a third store called Newfoundland that sells all sorts of food stuffs from his native Newfoundland—that store is on Queen St. West next to Craig’s Cookies). With COVID-19 closing many businesses, Craig’s Cookies is selling his cookies on line for delivery and for curb-side pickup (from the Church Street store.) Those cookies are delicious, whimsical, inventive and a necessity when we are all stuck in doors.

Steven McCarthy is a wonderful actor, director, musician, singer, rock-band member and now bagel maker. I kept seeing references on Facebook to orders of Mr. McCarthy’s bagels being delivered to other actors in Parkdale. I seem to recall that a delivery of Steven McCarthy’s St. Stevens (“Pure Bliss”) Bagels was made to Craig’s Cookies’ and perhaps there was an exchange of goods between the two acting entrepreneurs. I was intrigued, curious and hungry. How do I get those bagels? I must have them! I private messaged the man himself. Mr. McCarthy said making and selling the bagels depended on the available time and he would put me on the list for the following week. You have to be ready at a moment’s notice to commit to an order—in my case I was told today that there might be bagels but he would have to check and he would put me down for one dozen bagels. Because he only makes deliveries in Parkdale where he lives, and he had meetings (!?) all afternoon, he asked if I could pick up the bagels from his place. But of course.

I texted him when I was outside his address. He met me on his porch with two bags of still warm bagels that were obviously just out of the oven. Money changed hands. I wonder if it looked like a drug-drop? If one loves bagels, I guess in a way, it was like a drug-drop. On the bag is a square label that says St. Steven’s Bagels with a dark-haired woman at a microphone underneath which was the phrase “pure bliss”. That’s how I would describe St. Steven’s Bagels, pure bliss.

I ate one right then and there and swooned, with Steven McCarthy witnessing the result of his baking brilliance. The outside of the bagel has a crispy crunch to it and the inside is chewy and saliva-inducing. My dozen bagels were covered with sesame seeds that were perfectly baked to a golden-brown. Mr. McCarthy used as his model the bagels he ate every day coming home from the National Theatre School in Montreal St. Steven’s Bagels don’t have that hint of sweetness that a Montreal bagel has and that’s fine with me. St. Steven’s Bagels are simple, pure and obviously made with care and pride. They are worth a trip to Parkdale. I envision making that trip as often as Mr. McCarthy makes a batch of his bagels.

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