This is my first food tour. I brought my hubby with me in this adventure, and it became quite the fun date. Also, this is my first post on a Sunday. My sister encouraged me to do it, so here it is:
1. We started at Yonah Shimmel Knish Bakery (137 E. Houston St.), where we had our first “real” potato knishes; they are rounded, and not fried in a pocket, like most knishes I’ve encountered before. These beauties are the real deal, made the same way since 1910. The sublime potato flavor (also available in many other flavors) will knock your socks off.
2. Russ and Daughters (177 E. Houston St.) is legendary, in its history, its extensive menu, and its long, maddening lines, especially on a Sunday. This won’t be the last time we all had to eat our tasty wares outside. Here, our tasty wares were a. Pickled herring with mustard sauce (heavenly, just heavenly) and b. a raspberry nut rugelach (tangy, sweet, like a Turkish delight).
3. Katz Deli (205 E. Houston St.): In the first week I visited New York City for the first time, I visited Katz Deli, and it was, and still is, a memorable place. This time around, I tried pastrami for the first time in my life. I’m now ruined for life: the meat is so incredible, burnt tips, fatty, lean red meat, seasoned beautifully. I must bring my friend Don Appel with me on my next visit, since he was the first one who endocrined me there in the first place over 12 years ago. (Also, he really loved the posts on Facebook today :))
4. Economy Candy (114 Riverington St.): After checking out the empty streets of Orchard St. (its streets are closed to traffic on Sundays; come walk on them!) and looking at the tenement buildings, Economy Candy was a lush paradise of sugar sweets, thousands upon thousands of delights from all over the world, and freshly made chocolate treats and havalah. I wish I had at least two hours to spend in there. Hubby agrees; we will plan a return visit.
5. North Dumpling (28 Essex St.): Welcome to Chinatown! After being star struck by a sweet Chevrolet Apache light blue truck outside the Dumpling house, we waited patiently for some pretty righteous pork dumplings and spring rolls. Since me and my hubby don’t eat pork for religious reasons, this review of the dumplings is by our tour guide Frank: warm, savory, sticky, drippy, meaty, awesome. This is one of Frank’s favorite places to eat in the city. The spring rolls are simply good; great crunch, light wrappers, nice pickled veggies. Frank admitted to me their vegetarian dumplings were “just okay, nothing to write home about. I want to show people good food”.
Frank is worth his weight in gold. So is his tour, Sidewalk Food Tours (Lower East Side). http://www.sidewalksofny.com. However, the tour didn’t end there…
6. The Pickle Guys (358 Grand St.): This is the only kosher pickle joint left in the East Side. These dudes pickle everything, even pineapple and mangos! Their half-sour dill pickles, brined for a month, are exquisite! (Hubby and I went back to get some goods after the tour :))
7. Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys (51 Essex St.): According to my friend Don and Mel Brooks, Kossar’s is legendary. The Bialy, a Polish breadstuff without a hole, and not boiled like a bagel, and dusted with onions, was light and dense, and spongy and yeasty. Yum!
8. The Doughnut Plant, New York City (LES: 379 Grand St.): This is where the magic began, here in the LES. Frank gave us tastings of the Tres Leches, the Brooklyn Black Out, the Strawberry and the Pistachio (cakes), and the piece de resistance, the Creme Brûlée doughnut, a keen Doughnut Plant invention, laced with burnt sugar and filled with burnt sugar creme inside. A must eat!
So, happy travelers/foodies, enjoy the rest of the weekend. We will be happily digesting…