It's true that I'm a little late to loving bagels and lox. But hey, it's not like a grew up in New York City or something. It's just not something I was ever served for breakfast in suburban Ohio. And while I'd had a few decent renditions over the years, I never quite got the obsession.

Until, that is, a summer trip to San Francisco this year during which I had a particularly amazing smoked salmon bagel that's sent me on a hunt for similarly great options back here in Columbus. Here's the San Francisco sandwich:

From the charming little Caffe Sapore (790 Lombard St. in the Russian Hill neighborhood), it's menu-described as "smoked salmon, roma tomatoes, red onions, capers, lemon juice and oil with cream cheese." The salmon, drenched in lemony oil, was glorious. The toasted bagel was one of the best I've had. And everything worked together to make for a perfect little sandwich. (Except for this thing was loaded with so much smoked salmon that I was forced to eat it open-faced.)

Anyway, so far the closest I've found to replicating this deliciousness is Tasi's House Smoked Salmon Bagel ($10). As indicated by the name, the fantastically smoky house-smoked salmon is the real star here, eclipsing the sub-par bagel. And, while it's topped with the traditional red onion and sliced tomato, I would've liked some cream cheese for extra creaminess, too. But overall, it's a winner.

I'm still searching for more great bagel sandwiches, though. Anyone have a favorite to share?

Tasi Cafe
680 N. Pearl St., Short North