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.