The Flavors of NY – Lower East Side I

I already wrote here at Just Like NY about Lower East Side being my favorite part of town lately. I spend more and more time there and I keep discovering its nooks and crannies. And naturally, I get to know more and more interesting food places I’m eager to revisit.

Your ideal LES Flavors Day should start at the Triple Shot World Atlas Café at 37-39 Clinton Street, preferably with my favorite NYC bagel: Nova Lox. You’ll find it’s adorned with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, capers, onion… and you will be back next day to enjoy it again. At this café you will also drink coffee which (as the sign outside says) “doesn’t suck” and is really tasty. Take my word for it.

Once you will be done eating, sitting on a bench in front and digesting the bagel, go for a walk down Houston Street and look for 137E. It’s there that you will find a place you probably wouldn’t go to just like that: Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery. I went in because I got tempted by the display in the window (not by the dingy inside) and nowadays I’m taking everyone there. The knishes I had so far (the blueberry one – recommended!) are one thing, but what I really love is the service. The ladies behind the counter don’t care for the old “customer is always right” rule and shout the word “Next!” with the power of a waterfall. As I was standing on the side, a bit confused and looking for my wallet in my purse, I heard three “nexts” directed at me – each louder than the previous one. Frightened, I started to explain that I was just trying to find my money, to which the lady responded with a much softer “OK”. I liked this gutsy attitude, which is why I left the lady a tip, which she greeted with a smile.

The next place you should visit – this time for a lunch – is the establishment I already wrote about: Katz’s Delicatessen. You have to, absolutely have to try their pastrami sandwich. Even though it’s not very cheap at $16, the place is always crowded.

Once the evening comes and you still find yourself wandering around LES, make sure to take a peek at Rivington Street and visit a place called Pok-Pok (my Phillipino friend told me that it’s a term signifying a prostitute). This little place serves Thai food on bamboo leaves, at around $10-$15. You should try also their (free) Pandamus water. I went there couple of times and I was never disappointed. A meal at this place will come in handy, especially if your next planned step is a visit in one of the local bars, which are plentiful on Lower East Side. But that is another story: one which I will tell in the next episode of my LES series.