They Call Me Daily Driver

A ‘bagel mecca’ sounds like a cross-cultural mixed metaphor, but that’s what it is.

I’ve never had coffee with activated charcoal before. It always struck me as a pseudoscientific add-on with a high Goop quotient, plus it’s what the vet used to save my dog’s life after he ate most of a Trader Joe’s 72-percent cacao Pound Plus bar.  And the buzzy, marketing term “activated” gets under my skin a little. But I can adapt to adaptogens, so I went with it.

I went with it at Daily Driver, Dogpatch’s new bagel-torium. After watching the three-tiered, mustard-yellow bagel-sorting contraption at work, you should mosey upstairs to the mezzanine and observe the entire bagel-making process, which may be operating at a manageable pace by mid-morning. It involves inserting wooden paddles laden with rings of raw dough into the wood-fired oven and removing the finished product minutes later. If you want to look in on cream-cheese production, you can peep through the window over to one side, where a sign may say something like “TODAY WE ARE MAKING QUARK!” (It sounds subatomic, but quark is a soft, fresh cheese from Northern and Eastern Europe.)

The bagels themselves, or at least the everything that SF Weekly sampled, have an excellent chew, with an interior that is neither dense nor yeasty. They’re smallish, though, and one goes for $3.50 (while it’s $38.50 for a dozen). If you want a bagel-all-the-way, you’ve got to hold tight until the gravlax comes online, but for now, skip the tang-free cream cheese and go straight for the Liwa chevre, a lightly sour and almost impossibly fluffy spread, like a cloud made of fresh yogurt.

Downstairs, browse through the retail shelves, with goat milk soap, $1 pins, and $22 jars of ghee almost the exact shade of the three-tiered bagel sorter. The whole of Daily Driver is Sightglass-esque in its scale and vibe, and the Red Bay Coffee is basically made for a doughy companion. I don’t know if the charcoal activated my kidneys’ detoxifying magic or what, but I biked a lot faster on my way back to work.

Daily Driver, 2535 Third St., 415-852-3535 or dailydriver.com

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