At first, I thought Call Your Mother was just doing to bagels what super-bomb food truck Swizzler has been doing to hot dogs: dressing them up with locally-sourced ingredients, premium stuffings, and charismatic names.
And before then, I thought it was a spinoff from Mother’s in Portland.
But behind the curtain, there’s more to discover what makes this wood-fired bagel joint so darn captivating.
I’ll start with the looks of the place first.
If you’re from N.Y., the brick-and-mortar on Georgia Ave in the Parkview neighborhood might remind you of corner NYC bodegas.
Until you step inside and see what Argentinian, non-Jewish chef, Daniela Moreira — who operates Timber Pizza and CYM, with her half-Jewish fiance Andrew Dana– describes as “Boca meets Brooklyn.”
From edge-to-edge, the place is gorgeous and splattered with lively, cotton-candy shades of blues, yellows, and pinks.
Too, there’s a lot of little features about Call Your Mother linking it to this Jew-ish theme, without yelling it through a hand tunnel into your ear.
In front of the counter, buy some dope Call Your Mother merch — coffee cups, baseball caps labeled “-Ish,” t-shirts– anything or purchase a classic NY staple, a tender-crumbed white and black cookie to munch on.
Sit at their communal table, or on the outskirts in anyone of the rocking chairs facing out towards streets; a mustard yellow or a white chair? Make.your.choice.
Behind the counter, pictures of uber-popular, rapper-singer Drake (at all stages of life) and some of featuring his mother Sandy (Kkkk?), hang in a wonky arrangement.
Okay, so it’s the “Drake Wall,” and oddly enough, even a few pictures can be found on the bathroom wall while attending to your bowels.
Take a selfie, with Drake’s selfie, #doitfortheGRAM.
“He’s our favorite half-Jewish rapper,” Dana tells DCist in an interview.
His persona embodies what we’re doing here. We play and make what we like. We had lunch and dinner covered with pizza. We wanted a way to eat carbs for breakfast.”
But wait. Let’s get one thing straight.
Call Your Mother Deli isn’t trying too hard to be Jewish, because they’re Jew-ish.
Before you rally your criticism, make sure to read; their sign states this upfront.
Give me cracks! Give me a chewy interior! Without the bitter after taste.
Or don’t sell your bagel at all.
Thank you for giving us all three at Call Your Mother’s.
Spoken from lips of a born-and-bred, NYC-native, James Carter (or the boyfriend), Call Your Mother is a pretty damn good effort of an N.Y.C bagel replica.
And since finding a fire bagel in D.C. felt non-existent before, this joint has earned the forever-spot stamp.
“Trying to go to the bagel spot” Call Your Mother, is our one-and-only go-to.
And the duo’s Timber Pizza in Petworth is our “pizza spot,” our one-and-only in the pizza realm.
Some coincidence that is, huh?
So, What Do I Go For?
Their rendition of a bagel-bacon-egg-and-cheese, seen on almost every bagel joint breakfast menu; it’s the standard bagel sandwich.
Except their masterpiece is served on a wood-fired everything bagel — a bagel so good, black char couldn’t turn you away.
Then, it’s graced with the sweetness of hot honey.
There’s a proper cheese melt.
And when you’re asked “Bacon or pastrami?” choose thinly-sliced pastrami; it’s fatty, peppery and deeply-seasoned, and meatier than what the bacon has to offer.
The only complaints are the salt level; it’s enough to give anyone a private summer if off-balanced, and there’s not enough spiciness in the honey or enough of the honey itself on the sandwich.
The bagel doesn’t come with a schmear of cream cheese, so I need a good schmear of the honey; I’ve been skimped twice already.
But if you’re not feeling beefy or porky, have your pick on any given day of made-to-order sandwiches ranging between $8-$10.
Call Your Mother is what these hoes are: for everyone.
They have a lox-and-bagel known as The Rihanna Flex, featuring the lox pairings of smoked salmon from D.C. Native Ivy City Smoke House, cucumbers, tomatoes and capers with cream cheese on an everything bagel.
Have a taste for something mimicking a morning breakfast on-the-go remixed with a bagel?
Go for the Craig D, an exciting power-combo of seasonal fruit cream cheese, nectarines, hot peppers, bacon, and crushed chips on a plain bagel.
Or even closer to your expired fridge and pantry items, try The Andre: peanut butter, seasonal jam, fresh seasonal fruit, and housemade granola.
Create your own bagel, with whatever schmear and toppings you like if none of these tickle your fancy.
No matter how impressive the breakfast bagel sandwiches are, don’t let this distract you from their “Luuuunch” section.
There are three variations of the same sandwich.
Have The Greenberg sandwich: like a cheesesteak? Maybe.
But it keeps with the Jew-ish deli theme by tossing in pastrami with brisket and a dose of Argentian influence with sofrito– a pepper base commonly used in Spanish and Latin American cooking– all on a challah sub roll.
The other two swap out the beef in exchange for turkey on The Trotter, and for the sometime-y vegetarian in you, ubiquitous Impossible burger meat on The Landsman.
All sandwiches come served with a pickle spear from Gordy’s and chips.
There’s also a little section for more Jew-ish things like latkes, pastrami fried rice, and jew-ish tacos about covers that.
But do you want to know the truth?
The only thing that matters is the bagel; depending on what you go for, it’s packed with a layering a flavor that can’t be duplicated– or imitated– by your local grocery store.
Choose any bagel, and you’re guaranteed a crackly, chewy good bite with a slightly sweet dough, courtesy of Daniela’s and Andrew’s Montreal bagel experimentation.
This shop has everything, the consistent appearing of lines wrapping around the corner from 8A-2P, and the small crowd, even during the weekdays, is strong evidence, CYM is here to stay.