Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Hello, Moishe's!"

by Erin

On my last day in the Big Apple, we had cupcakes and pizza, but that wasn't all: we still were able to fit in two more culinary adventures before I returned to Charm City!

First was a mission for my father: he asked me to get him a "cornbread," and not the yellow southern variety, the Jewish cornbread from back in the day. You guys know what I'm talking about? It's like a rye bread but denser and with a really thick crust. It reminds me of my Dad, Grandpa, and uncles, all sitting around my grandparents' table, reminiscing about corn bread, of course!

Anyway, the BCD parents assured me that I'd have no trouble finding this delicacy in Brooklyn-- but they were wrong. I called about a half-dozen Jewish bakeries in the surrounding areas, but most didn't know what I was talking about, and one told me that they usually have cornbreads but their oven was out of commission. Lame! So, we did a bit more research and a place called Moishe's Kosher Bake Shop kept coming up.

I called Moishe's (he answered the phone in his thick Jewish NY accent: "Hello, Moishe's!") and I spoke to Moishe himself (I think), who told me he didn't have any fresh cornbreads but he did have one frozen and ready for transit. Not the best situation but better than nothing, right? So, we hopped in the car and headed into the city to Moishe's, located in the East Village. When I got there I told Moishe that I was the one who called, and he went and got my cornbread. I told him it was for my dad, which he loved. He said, "It's good with the soup! You going to make the soup for him?" I, not knowing what soup he was talking about, played along and said "Of course I'll make the soup for my dad!" But, sorry Dad, no soup for you.

Sweets from Moishe

Hamentaschen in the window for Purim

Along with the cornbread, I picked up some NY bagels (most of which I've already eaten) and some onion rolls for the BCD parents. Apparently onion rolls were a favorite of my late, great, Grandpa Al, so I was happy to pick some up for the family.

Real NY Bagels

After our visit with Moishe, it was time to eat again! Lauren and I went to a Middle Eastern restaurant in Bay Ridge called Tanoreen, which turned out to be a great last meal in NYC. We ended up getting a bunch of their appetizers and sharing, and it was a good way to go (although half-way through the meal I saw a whole fried fish go by and I was sad we didn't have one of our own...).

We ordered hummus, cauliflower salad, dandelion greens, fatoush salad, and sambosek, and everything was AMAZING! The hummus was pretty standard, and very lemony. It was good with some of the spiced, fried pita chips they put on the table.

The cauliflower salad was sauteed cauliflower tops with tahini, pomegranate syrup, and parsley - YUM. It was kind of oily but in a good way - the cauliflower and the tahini was a great combo, although I don't recall too much of the pomegranate coming through.

The dandelion greens were spectacular - they were sauteed in olive oil with garlic and lots of caramelized onions, and they had such an intense, satisfying flavor. Who knew dandelions were anything more than good for a makeshift bouquet for Mom??

The fatoush salad was also amazing. It had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, and the signature fried bits of pita running throughout. The mint was an especially strong and refreshing flavor, and the pita pieces were definitely spiced up and added a great crunch to the whole salad. I could not stop eating this, well after I was full!

Last we got sambosek, the middle eastern version of samosas (in my opinion). These were so delicious - deep-fried dough pockets filled with ground lamb, spices, and almonds, and served with a cilantro-basil dipping sauce. So good!

It was a very satisfying meal, and I was glad we got some good ethnic food into the schedule. We ended the meal with some mint tea, which was lovely, until we were asked to leave before we were done our tea because people were waiting for our table. This made me a bit mad, but at the same time I understood why it happened.

The next day I took the subway to the train station ALL BY MYSELF and I didn't mess up! Hooray! I love NY, and I can't wait to get back there! Next time I want to go to Magnolia Bakery (I've heard I really missed out and that the frosting is not quite like Warren Brown's), and maybe Babbo if we're lucky?? Thanks again to my BFF Lauren for having me!

Happy eating and happy travels,



  1. I have never heard of this jewish cornbread if which you speak. Possible to provide pics? recipe? How is it normally served? (with a certain kind of soup i take it?)

  2. Stef - It's actually a sort of sourdough rye bread - and was a big favorite import from NY when we were growing up.

    Looking at those pictures of the bagels reminds me of how good a bagel can...something that has been lost as the bagel has degenerated into McDonaldesque pop acceptance.

    To paraphrase Descartes -

    I curmudgeon therefore I am.

  3. All of that food looks fantastic! Oh how I miss NYC bagels. Thanks for all the great info for next time I visit that fine city!

  4. hey, some of those bagels were supposed to be for me!

  5. The "cornbread" sounds great! I think I'll have to try and come up with a recipe for one. YUM!

  6. Those hamentashen look so much better than the ones I made this year.


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