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Thursday, April 29, 2010

i was a knish virgin

My friend Mitch and I were exploring the Lower East Side when we walked by an old bakery. Mitch stopped dead in his tracks, which threw me off a bit because he had been working a fast sprint the entire day. This is obviously due to the power of a knish. And not just any knish. This place is heralded as having the finest knish in Manhattan.


This is Yona Shimmel Knish Bakery on the Lower East side. It's been here over 100 years.

Do you know what a knish is? I didn't. I am a Presbyterian girl from Tennessee. Knish was never part of my vocabulary.


Obviously, this sign was strategically placed in the bakery for people like me.

A knish is a thin dough shell filled with potato or buckwheat groats (kasha) and finely chopped onion, but the ingredients run the gamut from spinach to blueberry cheese.

Mitch said I had to try one. And since I am not one to turn down an invitation to eat, and since it also meant we could sit down instead of continue our race through the streets, I agreed to order the blueberry cheese knish.


It was quite different than I expected. It's doughy and not very sweet. But it was really good. I'd definitely eat one again. Shocker. I know.

But what I loved the most was the actual bakery. When you walk in it seems time has stood still. There was such a sense of history lingering in the air. It's over 100 years old and has the original dumbwaiter in place to bring the knishes up from the basement ovens.





Old photos and newspaper clipping line the walls.



And a subtle reminder to tourists about tipping:



Our time was up and we had to head out to our next destination. But Mitch took my picture as we were leaving.



It's obvious that I am thrilled to no longer be a knish virgin. It's also obvious that I watched a few too many episodes of Wheel of Fortune during my formative years.

22 comments:

Lisa H said...

I'd like to buy an 'E' please, Vanna! :)

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

I love it. First the Knish, and now we just need to get you speaking a little Yiddish. I talked about one of my fav terms yesterday - http://tiny.cc/zwred
And as a mom living in NCY, I'm sure you have adopted the use of the term shmutz. And I'm sure you schlep lots of places.

Heidi Jo said...

to danielle: we schlep all the way out here in SD too :o) anytime you have more than two kids, you are schlepping someone somewhere!

was rod okay with mitch introducing you to new experiences? ;o)

snekcip said...

I'm still a newbie here...who is Rod? *okay veterans stop the eye rolls*

Patty said...

I've heard Rod's name before and i still wonder who he is. lol.....I am always so excited to read your blog everyday. I love your adventures and your life in Manhattan. We are coming to visit NYC for my very first time the first weekend in Sept. and I can't wait to experience it all. Keep up the great posts.....I am your biggest fan.

michelle from Six in the City said...

Rod is my wonderful husband:-)

snekcip said...

....and Mitch is?

Okay I feel like the kid in class that's always raising their hand and asking NUMEROUS questions and the rest of the class is itching to get their hands on me AFTER class! Please don't beat me up!!!

michelle from Six in the City said...

Mitch is a good friend who has lived in the city for years. We all have know each other for a long, long time.

Just Mom said...

Sounds as if you need to write an intro post, Michelle. ;-D

I had never heard of a knish before. Sounds yummy. Thanks for the tour.

Mrs. T said...

Wonderful post!! Please keep it up, I just discovered your blog a week ago and it is fast becoming a favorite of mine, so fun!!!

snekcip said...

Okay I think that brings me up to par! I have been reading your "older posts" and just enjoying myself! This is better than KNISH!!

Elizabeth said...

Yum. That's all.

Angie said...

OMG, that looks so delicious. I've never had one!

3 Peanuts said...

You can probably blame me for sending snekip over here with her questions. She is a lovely, delightful bog reader though:)

And I love old places like the knish shop.

Teresa said...

A knish with a cup of coffee sounds delightful!

Anonymous said...

Did you go to Katz's? there are so many places in the LES (I live there)

Dina said...

My daughter and I tried to go there on our last trip but they were closed for a Jewish holiday, I am putting it back on our list for our trip in July. Recently found your blog and I am really enjoying it. You are living my dream! I would move to NYC in a heartbeat if I could afford to live there and raise my daughter on a teacher's salary! But we visit every chance we get, it is my favorite place to be.

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

I grew up on Knish and I miss it so much!!!

Annie said...

I've never had one before. I need to try one, like now! :)

dkzody said...

I notice you dropped all of the family pictures from the right side. Did the boys say, "enough?"

carrie said...

Looks yummy!

kristine said...

I didn'T know what Knish is, so I googled it and the 3rd entry was the website of that knishery :-) must really be the best!

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