Apr 7, 2022 - News

Inside the minds of Kismet Bagels' Alexandra and Jacob Cohen

Alexandra and Jacob Cohen
Alexandra and Jacob Cohen in front of Kismet Bagels in Fishtown. Photo courtesy of Mike Prince

Kismet Bagels, a Philly pop-up that gained a major following during the pandemic, is opening its first storefront location in the city Thursday.

Flashback: Wife-and-husband duo Alexandra and Jacob Cohen starting baking bagels and donating them to frontline workers in 2020. They sold some to neighbors too, and donated the proceeds to local homelessness nonprofit Project HOME.

  • Their project took off, and the couple launched pop-ups throughout the city and eventually a wholesale business.
  • You can now find their bagels in dozens of cafes, farmers markets and stores, including their new Fishtown spot at 113 E. Girard Ave. And a portion of their proceeds continues to go to local charities.

We asked the Cohens a few questions for our culinary advice series, Chef's Table:

🔪 Must-have tool in your home kitchen?

  • Alexandra: A perfectly sharp knife.
  • Jacob: Dutch oven! It's my favorite thing. You can bake a beautiful loaf of bread, or cook a stew of chicken, vegetables and broth. Also, you gotta have a garlic press, always!

🛒 Go-to grocery store?

  • Both: Riverwards Produce.
  • A: I could spend hours there looking at all their specialty items.
  • J: I've caught myself standing in there for over an hour just gazing, looking up produce I've never heard of. It's the best.

🌿 Most overlooked spice?

  • A: Fresh ground pepper. There are so many amazing kinds, and most people just use pre-ground BS pepper.
  • J: Sumac. Tangy, punchy, and it's a mystery why it hasn't become more widely used.

🍝 Favorite home-cooked meal?

  • A: Grilled Caesar salad and homemade potato chips made by my dad.
  • J: Fresh Talluto's capellini pasta, with pesto, shrimp, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a side of broccolini. Finish with a scoop of Milk Jawn ice cream.

🍽 Last restaurant you went to and your order?

  • A: I went to this random restaurant with my grandmom in Kennett Square called Sovana that had a perfect strip steak with polenta and beer-battered onion rings, along with local Kennett Square mushrooms.
  • J: Wm. Mulherin's Sons in Fishtown finally brought back their brunch (which I've always said is even better than their dinner), and it didn't disappoint. Pistachio cream croissant, zeppole, breakfast pizza, crispy fried potatoes, hanger steak and eggs.

☝ Quick tip for at-home cooks?

  • A: Always save your pasta water! Oh, and never buy microwave popcorn. ALWAYS make it on the stove. Super simple and extra delicious.
  • J: Have no fear. Try anything and everything. The only way to get better is to keep playing around!

🔌 How to unplug?

A: I turn off my phone, make some fresh popcorn, plop on the couch and binge either "Gilmore Girls" or "The Office."

J: Aside from flying to a beach and turning my phone off, I don't know. I'll let you know when I figure that one out.

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