Santa Ana, CA

Dough Exchange - High-End Bagelry & Shmear in Downtown Santa Ana, CA

Joy Sun | @littlejoybigworld

Tired of your boring, everyday bagel? Here at Dough Exchange you can try a different bagel every day for weeks! Not just any bagel, a fancy bagel. Or as my friend dubbed them, "designer bagels". They didn't even know they were right about that, considering these bagels were made by the folks behind DTSA's Playground!

Their Yelp listing reads, "from your favorite culinary experimentalists at Playground comes a brand new place to showcase all of Chef Jason's favorite foods in one place. Dough Exchange has been resurrected (& so improved!!)". They're referring to a stint from 2015, when Dough Exchange briefly opened and subsequently closed. Fans of Chef Jason's eateries can rejoice with the re-opening of Dough Exchange.

It was so hard to choose a half dozen to share with my bagel-enthusiast family, they have so many cool flavors. In addition to all the typical bagels, they have fancy flavors like Za'atar, Goma Shio, Gruyere, Egg, Cacio e Pepe, Triple Japanese Sesame, French Toast, and Pao de Queijo, which I cannot believe they made it into a bagel! Pao de Queijo is a chewy Brazilian cheese bread (commonly found at Brazilian churrascarias), and they found a way to make it into a bagel. That means it's totally appropriate to have for breakfast! Their Pao de Quiejo will run you an extra $2 more than any other bagel, but you'll appreciate every bite! Although I will say, it'd be better for lunch - it's a bit rich for first meal of the day. You don't want to skip over their sweet bagels, like Cinnamon and French Toast, which are a fun change from the savory bagels.

In addition to just fancy bagels, they have schmear so unique that you wouldn't find them at your Einstein's or Bruegger's. They carry Esquites, Smashed Avocado and Hipster Chili, Maple Pecan, even Caviar cream cheese and Smoked Pike Perch Roe! You can get an 8 oz of the caviar spread for $18 and the Smoked Pike for $22, while most other schmears are $8 - $12.

You can imagine how endless the bagel sandwich combinations are. You can definitely make your own, but Dough Exchange has sandwiches like the Za'atar Hero, which is loaded with scallion schmear, red onion, tomato, mint and olives, or the Fig Poppa, which is their onion bagel with caramelized fig schmear and jamon, or the K-Pop, which is the goma shio bagel with kimchi schmear, chile garlic crack, turkey breast, pickled cucumber. Their bagel sandwiches range from $7 on the most basic ones to $24 with their most gourmet ingredients.

As for the bagels themselves, a half dozen bagels here will run you $15, and that's for non-fancy bagels only. Any fancy bagel will have an extra buck each tacked on. But keep in mind, these are ~designer~ bagels!

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SoCal native, matcha snob, boba expert. I'll be gallivanting my way around SD & OC to bring you the best small local businesses, underrated restaurants, and hot new establishments!

San Diego, CA

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