Fast Casual Review: Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grubbing on-the-go: 4.75/10
Price: $2.99 (Free with drink purchase coupon from Einstein E-Club
Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10
More Info: EinsteinBros.com
No Nutrition Facts Available