If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, check out Sidewalks of NY Tours. We took a food walking tour of the Lower East Side and had a blast. Not only did we get to taste some delicious (and unexpected) food, but we also learned a lot about the neighborhood and met some fun characters.
The tour of about 10 or 15 people started at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery, where we tasted the famous and reportedly first-ever knish. It’s a dense potato dumping – sort of like mashed potatoes wrapped in dough. It might be a bit dry without a side of spicy mustard, which takes the flavor up a notch.
We stopped next at Katz’s Deli, one of NYC’s famous sandwich delis. It is a classic NYC experience, crowds and all. Since 1888, customers have been flocking here for their fill of corned beef and pastrami, so it’s no surprise that the sandwiches are out-of-this-world good.
We also passed by Russ & Daughters, a smoked fish and bagel mecca with lines around the block. I’m not a lox fan, but for those who are this is the place to be.
No visit to the border of Chinatown would be complete without dumplings. We tried the hand-rolled friend version from North Dumpling on Essex Street. The value is amazing– 5 fried dumplings cost only $1.00. Go for the more flavorful pork dumplings; the veggie was a bit bland.
Next up was the The Pickle Guys where you can try some unusual items such as pickled turnips, watermelon and pineapple. The barrel cured pickles come in new, half sour or full sour, depending on how long they’ve been cured – the old fashioned way!
We stopped off at Kossar’s Bialys for a taste of the traditional bialy, which is similar to a bagel but it’s not boiled before baking, and there’s no hole in the middle. Kossar’s is the oldest Bialy bakery in the US, so there’s nowhere better to try one for yourself.
Last but not least, we visited the Doughnut Plant and sampled two varieties of the well-loved cake doughnuts (made without yeast) – Blackout and Tres Leches. Both were rich and delicious. They serve some unexpected flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Pistachio, along with more traditional yeast doughnuts. It’s definitely worth a trip to see what the hype is all about.
Needless to say, I had to be rolled home after this all-day eating adventure. The tour took a little less than three hours, and we covered some serious foodie territory. Whether you join a guided tour or check out these spots on your own, it’s a worthwhile trek to experience the flavors of New York.