08/10/16 2:02pm
russduaghters

An ice cream sandwich truly worthy of the Lower East Side.

I have to say that I didn’t really grow up eating chocolate babka. In all likelihood I have probably partaken of the sweet, dense Jewish cake no more than two or three times. And one of those times was at Russ & Daughters Cafe in the form of ice cream sandwich. That’s right, a chocolate babka ice cream sandwich filled with chocolate babka ice cream no less.

Like many things at the Lower East Side appetizing shop, this newfangled treat comes wrapped in wax paper bearing the famous fish logo. There’s no sturgeon, sable, or nova inside though. Instead there’s a marbleized mashup of an ice cream sandwich. For the record it, makes a fine dessert after some new catch Holland herring.

Russ & Daughters Cafe, 127 Orchard St., 212-475-4881

06/11/14 9:27am
RDEXTERIOR

Photo: Kelli Anderson/Russ & Daughters

I’ve always been a big fan of Russ & Daughters the antediluvian appetizing shop that is one of the last vestiges of New York City’s Jewish Lower East Side. So I was particularly excited when the Russ & Daughters Cafe opened. I haven’t had a chance to fress there yet. My good friend Noah Arenstein beat me to the schmaltz and was kind enough to file this dispatch. Take it away Noah . . .

Entering the new Russ & Daughters Cafe, I can’t help but feel a dizzy gratification by the fact that one of the most anticipated openings of 2014 in New York City is a full-service restaurant from a 100-year-old purveyor of the type of smoked fish most easily associated with my grandparents’ generation. (more…)

04/15/14 12:47pm
MATZOBALLS1

Think those are Easter eggs? Take a closer look.

Passover and Easter fall so close together that it was only a matter of time before they were combined in a culinary mashup. That’s precisely what my adopted Jewish mother Times Ledger food critic Suzanne Parker has done with her interfaith matzoh ball soup. Parker, the Jewish half of a mixed marriage, serves her interfaith matzoh balls for Passover, Easter dinner, or both if the supply holds. (more…)

03/12/14 12:01pm
SARGES

Photo: Sarah Drew

Like many a fresser I’ve always thought of the newly reopened Sarge’s as something of a third-string player in the delicatessen game. I’m glad to see an old school Jewish deli reopening instead of closing for good, but I’m not as excited about Sarge’s as some like my pal Noah Arenstein who has been kind enough to share his thought about this underdog of delis in this guest post. Take it away Noah . . .

Sarge’s in Murray Hill has long been overlooked in favor of more famous deli standards like Katz’s, Carnegie and even the Second Avenue Deli, but for me, it’s as deep a New York deli experience as I’ve ever experienced. Of course, at first glance, 24/7 delivery anywhere in Manhattan impressed me as much as anything, but soon the food won me over as well. (more…)

08/16/13 11:41am
COOLKIDS

Sandheko wai wai, cool kids only!

Thanks to Gary Stevens for turning me on to this great piece on Wai Wai, the Nepalese snack that’s become something of an obsession for me. In it the author describes how the noodles eaten raw were the province of the cool kids in his school. Nice to know I’m finally one of the cool kids.

Max Falkowitz waxes rhapsodic about his favorite steakhouse, and it’s not Peter Luger’s, but rather Argentinean steakhouse El Gauchito in Corona. “The crust is a rich, purple-tinged mahogany, heavily dosed with salt; it gives way to a buttery, resoundingly beefy interior without a trace of chewiness,” he writes of the skirt steak. Have a feeling I’ll be going there soon. (more…)

07/31/13 10:28am
Beef tongue and matzo ball soup, good for what ails you.

Beef tongue and matzo ball soup, good for what ails you.

Feed a cold, starve a fever, or so the old saying goes. But what if you’re down with a bit of both? Well then the cure  as any good Jewish mother knows is surely to eat something. Enter Ben’s Best, my local old-school Jewish deli. Whenever I have a cold I stop in for a bowl of Jewish penicillin, aka matzo ball soup ($6.75). Chicken soup helps with the cold part. As for the feeding yesterday I opted for a beef tongue sandwich. ($14.95). (more…)

05/01/13 10:02am
Noah cracks up the Thai chicken skin.

Noah cracks up the Thai chicken skin.

I have the distinct honor of having performed a cross-borough Thai chicken crackling mitzvah. It all started when I heard that my buddy Noah Arenstein was having problems sourcing gribbenes for Scharf & Zoyer, his new sandwich stand at Smorgasburg. So last Friday night I breezed by the throng waiting for tables outside Thai juggernaut Sripraphai and purchased four boxes of nan kai, super-crunchy fried chicken skin seasoned with salt and garlic.

An experimental kugel double down with cabbage-carrot slaw.

An experimental kugel double down with cabbage-carrot slaw.

Noah had me play guinea pig with his newest creation, a kugel double down with carrot and cabbage slaw topped with gribbenes. The kugel sandwich is his invention and a brilliant one at that. This version of it needs some tweaking, though the Thai gribbenes played their crunchy, salty role perfectly. “I think you’ll find the original more balanced,” Noah said. (more…)