Thursday, November 5, 2009

More from NYC

I have two final posts from my NYC trip and I fear that if I don't just sit down and write them, they will disappear into the ozone. Okay then, get on with it.

Baked Goods. (one of my favorite subjects, okay, my favorite subject)
The photos are from Chinatown and I will get to them near the end of this post.

This is a subject about which I could go on for days. I'll be as brief as possible - I will not be THAT brief - about a tiny slice of what is available in this food category in NY. We start with bagels, bialys, onion rolls, challah These are all related. Because the dough is the thing with all of them. Therefore, the water used to make the dough is critical. In the case of the bagels, the water used to boil the bagels is also important. Oh, you didn't know bagels are boiled? Yes they are. The best ones. NYC has the best tap water in the world - look it up - and that's one of the reasons all the aforementioned "breads" are so good there. Also because New Yorkers are aficionados of these particular baked goods and they would never accept inferior product. What you put on these doughs is strictly a matter of taste. Whipped cream cheese -maybe a little lox and/or a slice of tomato - on the bagel, good, sweet butter on the bialy and/or the onion roll, farmer cheese - or cream cheese - on the challah or, of course, you could use a nice thick slice of challah to wipe up the brisket gravy. The pizza dough? Well, just go to Di Fara's or Totonno's or Keste or even Ray's or wherever and then please try to restrain yourself. Tomato sauce, mozzarrella, fresh basil, plenty of Parm. A little sausage or green bell pepper if you must but really, try to stick to the basics and let the dough speak for itself.

A pound of assorted Italian cookies - you know the ones, with lots of butter, some have jam on top or sandwiched in between two cookies, some are chocolate-dipped at one end, some are chocolate-dipped AND have sprinkles. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to go to an Italian bakery and there will be a glass showcase or shelves full of them.

A pound of assorted William J. Greenberg cookies. And a BIG black & white. And that is all you need to know. This NYC institution makes the best cookies in the city. Better to just go get some than to argue. I think you can order them online. They will be good but they will not be perfect as they are when you get them at the bakery.

Chinatown. There are a gazillion bakeries in Chinatown - okay, dozens. The photo of the cakes is from QQ Bakery. It has one of the biggest selections of all sorts of baked goods. I bought delicious nut-encrusted cookies there but couldn't really get a good photo because all the cookies are pre-packed in plastic containers.
The other photo is what we call manapua and they call steamed pork bun. It was huge and tasted amazing - the bun and the char siu were both melt-in-your-mouth light and sweet. I can't remember the name of the place where I got it. I do remember that it was 80 cents. I had a fabulous egg custard tart from yet another bakery - called, oddly enough, Natalie. It was warm, the custard consistency was perfect, the dough was flaky. And it was 90 cents.
I'm ending this here and now. I have got to get the Autumn in New York post and the foliage photos up...before the snow flies.

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