January 18th, 2016

G & Kamiye’s International Food Crawl through the Lower East Side

It started so innocently; I was coming to NYC for the weekend and getting together with my college buddy, Kamiye. She suggested we meet at Russ and Daughter’s café for some quintessential NY bagels and smoked fish goodness. I realized 2 other places that I’ve been wanting to try were within walking distance and next thing you know, it became a full blown food extravaganza.

First Stop: Russ and Daughter’s café

Russ and Daughter’s, the shop, has been around selling bagels and smoked fish for 101 years, but their sit-down, table service café opened just last year. The wait was an hour long, but it was worth it for the glossy, silky nova smoked salmon on a toasted everything bagel with all the accoutrements ($16).


Second Stop: Clinton St. Baking Company

Everyone who knows me, knows I love a good biscuit. Clinton St.’s was large and misshapen ($3), but it had a tender crumb and buttery flavor. The fresh raspberry jam was excellent.


Third Stop: Meatball shop

The name says it all – we came for the meatball sliders ($3 each). They allow you to mix and match meats and sauces. We had classic beef with classic tomato sauce, pork breakfast sausage with mushroom gravy and chicken with pesto. They were all good, but I was shocked that my favorite was the chicken. It was tender, moist and had great flavor.


Fourth Stop: Yonah knish bakery

It is a historic knishery that been around for 105 years. It was super old school. Our potato knish was like a brick – but a well seasoned, tasty brick. The cherry cheese knish as equally heavy (although to be fair, we were getting pretty full) but the filling was creamy and custardy.

137 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002

Fifth Stop: Veselka

They have been serving Ukrainian specialties since 1954 and $7 gets you a choice of 4 delicious pierogis, fried or boiled. We opted for classic potato, spinach & cheese, sauerkraut & mushroom and arugula & goat cheese, fried. They came with sautéed onions, apple sauce and sour cream. They were excellent; crispy, flavorful and managed not to feel heavy, despite the fried doughness of it all. My favorite was the sauerkraut & mushroom; Kamiye loved the arugula & goat cheese. I would love to go back for stuffed cabbage and kielbasa.


Sixth Stop: Baohaus

Fresh off the Boat may not appeal to everyone, but the TV show captures the idiosyncratic nature of a Chinese immigrant family perfectly. The show is based on Eddie Huang’s memoir, and Baohaus is his café. We got a pork belly, fried chicken and fried fish bao ($4, each). The buns were tender and the fillings were flavorful and well balanced; the pork belly was my favorite.


Seventh Stop: Blue Ribbon

This was an unscheduled stop; I had to head back to Boston early and so I grabbed a chicken thigh for a snack later. The chicken was cold by the time I got to it, but the exterior was still crispy and the meat was moist. However, a drumstick might have been a better choice for a eating-while-driving snack.


It was a success; I really enjoy all the different places and I was impressed that Kamiye kept up. The walk was about 2 miles, in total, so I’m sure it burned off all the calories we consumed, right? 