I'm learning to be a NEW YORKER by learning to jaywalk. I feel accomplished when I can cross the street without getting hit by a cab (this afternoon, a cab almost hit me). Now, I just have to jaywalk with finese.
So far my first impressions follow the cliche, "I LOVE NY!"
I have never attended a university that had a campus that was scattered throughout the city, but I've seen some colleges in San Francisco. Nevertheless, the schools in these dense cities help small restaurants and businesses flourish. A lot of restaurants and retail stores offer "Campus Dollars." It works like a debit card in that you put money into it, and use it to pay for product and services.
In New York, all the items that have the "Barney's" tag are an additional 90% off. I couldn't believe my eyes, nor my MATH SKILLS that I had to ask a cashier if I was hallucinating. So I got the green coat for $19.90 and the black jacket for $19.90. The total is 39.80, and I DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY TAXES. What a steal!!!! There were tons of jackets and coats in New York, but only a few were thrilled. In Los Angeles, people just purchase the item at any cost.
Anyway, sizes were limited, but they were a steal. If anything, you could probably purchase it and directly sell it on EBAY. I'm sure SOMEONE will buy it (SUPPLY/DEMAND/CONSUMERISM).
I'm going to try Halal on 53rd and 6th street. It's chicken and rice. When I get Halal, I will take a photo of it. Street food is to be trusted and tastes good. Street art is more interesting...SEE!
How cool is that? I saw a homeless guy with a sign that says "Pay me $2.00 to tell me off." Who needs a television in New York City.
Our tour started at the "Doughnut Plant." The Doughnut Plant competes with West Coast's Krispy Kreme Dougnuts. The doughnuts coming out of this plant are more "yeast-y" (I guess that means chewy). We tried 3 flavored dougnuts: Peach, Chocolate, and Vanilla Bean. The chocolate flavored one uses homemade chocolate, but of the 3, the best one was the Vanilla Bean. If you can picture tasting ice cream and waffles as a dougnut, that would be my description.
One or two stores to the right of "Dougnut Plant" is the Bially Bakery. I forgot the name of it, and don't have photos, but it's located on Norfolk & Grand, close to the "F" train stop at Essex & Delancy. The difference between a Bially and Bagel is in it's process. Bagels are usually boiled and then baked, while a Bially rises, and bakes. It's flatter than a bagel and is chewy, and does not have any hole in it. The definition of "Terre Noire" to be continued later,
Why are the pickle makers warring? The most famous pickle makers "Gus' Pickles" became offended when "The Pickle Guys" claimed the World's Best Pickles title. Since then the battle has become a Coke versus Pepsi Flavor War. We stopped at "The Pickle Guys" store and had a "Sour Pickle," "A Half-Sour Pickle," and some pickled vegetables. In order, this is how I ranked them:
1. Pickled Vegetables -> the peppercini pepper in that mix and cauliflower
2. The Sour Pickle
3. The Half-Sour Pickle
When you walk into that store, the smell of vinegar and pickles stir a craving. I was thinking for a business plan that a Korean Kim Chee connoisseur or chef should open one of these stores up, and in the barrels, instead of pickles, have different types of kim chee, like, Winter Kim Chee, Summer Kim Chee, Water Kim Chee, Bachelor Kim Chee, etc. I'm sure Korean people will flock to them. I'm not sure if the scent from this store would be offensive to the neighbors, but if there was a Korean restaurant next door, then...
Gus' Pickles was closed. Pickles and corned beef became popular in the 1930's because of issues with food preservation. I'm sure you assumed that.
Across from Gus' Pickles, is the Lower East Side Tenement Building. From 1863 to 1935, over 70,000 people lived in this building! How? Well, 7 people lived in an 11 x 12 foot space. That blows my mind. I will never complain about the 9 people living above my mother's 1 bedroom condo again.
IL LABORATORIO DEL GELATO
Next to Gus' Pickles and across from the Lower East Side Tenement Building is the "il laboratorio del gelato." They serve ice cream and sorbet. I tried a Peach Sorbet (very refreshing on a muggy day), French Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, and Lavender Honey. Unusual... but the tour guide said she was experimenting with making "Lavendar Dried Apricots" and "Lavendar Martinis." After she told us, it was because her husband was so proud of buying herbs, of course it was lavender.
No, this is not a cheap candy store, they just have a VARIETY OF CANDIES. Even candies that were made 20-25 years ago. The tour guide didn't want us to go in because on her last tour, it took her a half an hour to get everybody onto the next site. I'll check it out later. They have a website. My friend told me he got Harry Potter jellybeans as a gift. Maybe he got it from there. For those of you who are not familiar with Harry Potter Jellybelly Jellybeans, the flavors entail: dirt, vomit, grass, etc. I would be afraid of tasting the vomit one.
The famous "When Harry Met Sally Scene," where Meg Ryan fakes it. They opened in 1888. I was amazed to hear that they produce 5,000 lbs. of corned beef a week, and an unusually amount of hot dogs.
RUSS & DAUGTHERS
You might ask, By the way, what a gnosh, or is it spelled, nosh, is? It's a Yiddish word for snacks/appetizers, which brings me to the next topic. "Russ & Daughters" is the place to go. Mark Russ Federman is the third generation of the Russ family to run this shop. About a couple of years ago, Mark Federman insisted on using New York water as a necessary key ingredient for enhancing the flavors in New York. The EPA proceeded to fly in gallons of New York water to Washington D.C. when he made bagels and pickles. Oh well, this is where the term "Terre (?)" comes in. Pizza Makers, Pickle Makers, and Bagel Makers agree with Mark Federman, in that the New York Water is a key component to making the flavors of New York unique to New York. "Terre Noire" (I'm really not sure if I spelling it correctly) is a term that the key ingredient comes from the environment.
YONAH SHIMMEL KNISH BAKERY...since 1910
This was our last stop. Knishes are potato-filled pasteries. It kind of tastes like and Indian Samosa, but the pastery shell is baked, therefore soft. The other difference is it is traditionally eaten with mustard. I liked it better without the mustard. This was delicious and warm soothing the preceding pickle experience. This concludes the summary of the "Pickles to Posh Tour."