Passover Food Landmarks of the Lower East Side
Dim Sum, hand-pulled noodles and dumplings are a few of the food attractions of our neighborhood, but last Sunday visitors flocked to Eldridge Street for a completely different culinary experience: our annual Passover Nosh n’ Stroll. Amy Stein-Milford, the Museum’s Deputy Director, and Hanna Griff-Sleven, Director of Cultural Programs, walked people through the streets of the Lower East Side, visiting food establishments that have been Passover favorites of the Jewish Community here for generations.
#1. The Pickle Guys
The Nosh n’ Stroll began with a brief history of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and from there visitors followed the smell of fresh horseradish to the Pickle Guys, located just a few blocks away on Essex Street. Following the Eastern European tradition of letting the pickles sit in salt brine with garlic, spices, and no preservatives, the Pickle Guys offer an array of tasty treats, bringing their patrons back to the days of pushcarts and pickle barrels. As a pickler myself, I recommend the pickled pineapple! (Just be warned, this tangy treat can become addictive!)
#2. Vanished Eateries like Gertel’s Bakery
Gertel’s Bakery used to sell shmura matzoh, the delicious, round hand-baked stuff. The former site of Gertel’s is now an empty lot on Hester Street (pictured here). As Amy pointed out, it has left a literal hole in the community.
#3. Shapiro’s Winery The dynamic duo not only led us to local shops that are in the midst of Passover prep, but pointed out others that are no longer in business, but have still left their mark on the neighborhood. The sign for Schapiro’s Kosher Wine can still be seen from the street and is a reminder of the changing times (and of many a person’s first drunken seder experience).
#4. Economy Candy
We recommend their chocolate-covered macaroons!
#5. Streit’s Bakery
Our stroll came to an end at Streit’s Bakery, which has provided Passover staples since 1925. Before even entering the bakery, the smell of fresh matzah (which Judy, the Education Director, and I realized smells remarkably similar to popcorn!) fills the air. As soon as you step into Streit’s, you are surrounded by Passover goodies: macaroons, candies and my personal favorite, chocolate covered matzah! Amidst the flow of Passover shoppers, you can even see the matzah coming straight out of the oven. What better way to get our Passover preparation started than with a little nosh of warm, fresh matzah!
Click on the following link to see Matzah Coming Fresh Out of the Oven at Streit’s!
What are your favorite Lower East Side food landmarks – Passover-themed or otherwise?