There was only ever one kind of cream cheese in the fridge growing up, probably because my mom grew up in a bagel-heavy area of Long Island, where people know the best cream cheese comes in a pink tub.
Breakstone's, now owned by Kraft but invented on New York's Lower East Side by the Breakstone Brothers in 1882, knows dairy. Their Temp Tee cream cheese is seriously the only one I'll buy, which made my five years in Los Angeles a special kind of dairy torture, even if I was able to find a decent bagel to schmear sub-par schmear on. You simply can't get Temp Tee there. It's pure, whipped, fluffy, airy, tangy, perfect cream cheese. It makes everything better. It makes a strawberry better. A strawberry! Forget how well it gets along with strawberry-tomato relish. Here are some other things it improves, beyond smoked salmon:
- Cream cheese and jelly sandwich
- Jalapeño Poppers
- Okra Poppers
- Pimento cheese
- Turkish simit, the bagel's ancient predecessor
- Sardine sandwich <– epic with Temp Tee
The good news: if you live in the North or Southeast or Midwest, you have access to this dreamy, light-as-a-cloud nectar. The bad news: if you live west of the Mississippi, you're going to have a heck of a time finding it, although this one Chowhound thread (because of course there's a Chowhound thread about it) alleges that one 99-cent store over by the Grove in LA had it this one time. Make someone send you a care package, bagels included. And maybe a danish. And a nice marble rye.
More of my favorite things for lunch on Food Republic: