Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NYC by Nicole: Immigrant Neighborhoods Food and Walking Tour

Eat your through New York City's historical immigrant neighborhoods!  Have a nosh and wander through some of New York's oldest neighborhoods.

This tour will take you through the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, and back full circle to where you started.  Since there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of eating on this tour, it is recommended that you share everything (it's also cheaper that way) so you don't end up in a food coma halfway through.  But it you do it right, you'll thank me later!

NYC Immigrant Neighborhoods Food and Walking Tour
Duration: All day
Cost: Moderate $40 - 50 (includes TONS of food and admission into 2 museums)

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Starting Point A:  Breakfast in the Lower East Side
Start your morning off right with a traditional Jewish nosh.  There are two great options on Houston for a filling breakfast.

137 E Houston St, b/t 2nd Ave and Chrystie St
Cost: $4
This place has been slinging world famous knishes since 1910!  They're piping hot and delicious!

Recommendations... Potato Kinish - you can't go wrong with a classic.
- or -
179 E. Houston St., b/tEast Houston St and Chrystie St
Cost: $4
This purveyor of smoked fish and specialty foods has been around since 1914 and is a fourth generation owned store.  It's worth the pop in just to see.

Recommendations... Bialey toasted with scallion cream cheese - no one will appreciate your breath as the day goes on, but it's well worth it, so who cares.  I'm not a lox fan, but I've been told they are the best.

Eat your bialey or kinish while you make your way down Orchard Street to the Tenement Museum.

108 Orchard St., b/t Delancey and Broom
Cost: $15 - 20
This is really a NYC must see!  I can’t believe it took me so many years to come here, but I’ll be back on a regular basis.  Step back in time and into the preserved and partially restored 1863 tenement building at 97 Orchard St., where you can get an idea of how our ancestors lived when they first came to America.  It's an eye opening and extremely touching tour that I highly recommend!  Building tours are limited to 15 people, so you may want to consider buying tickets in advance.  Also, they have an awesome gift shop.

Recommendations... Getting By: Immigrants Weathering Hard Times Tour, it is extremely comprehensive and wonderful.

Next it’s time for a little taste of Chinatown…

118 Eldridge St, b/t Broome St. and Grand St.
Cost: less than $5
This is my favorite cheap eats in NYC.  Not only is it good, but it’s fresh and made right in front of you.  Watching the Chinese women make the dumplings and scallion pancakes is memorizing and fascinating.  Tip: Bring cash!  They take cards with a $9 minimum, and you could buy the whole place lunch and never hit $9.  It’s soooo cheap.

Recommendations... Get the Peeking Duck Scallion Pancake, it'll change your life.  No really, I'm not kidding.  Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

After you’ve finished stuffing your face, it’s time to waddle down to the beautiful and historical synagogue on Eldridge.

12 Eldridge St
Cost: $8 - 10
This is a Jewish Synagogue that was built in 1887.  They recently finished a 20 year restoration and it was well worth it.  This place is beautiful, serene and historical.  Another must see.

  • ·         Do one of the free guided tours they offer.  They have them every half hour.
  • ·         Mondays are free.
Now it’s time to hit up little Italy and have a little gabagool, as Tony Soprano would say.

Grand Street, b/t Mott St. and Mulberry St.
Cost: Depends 
These are the two best Italian deli and cheese markets in Little Italy and they’re right next to each other.  You can’t go wrong with anything in these places.  Pop in, grab a little smattering of cheese, cured meats, and maybe a stuffed pepper or two and continue on your way.

37 Spring St, b/t Mott St. and Mulberry St.
Cost: $4 - 7
This rice pudding bar in NoLita is one of a kind.  They have 20+ types of rice pudding (and you can try them all before you decide).  It’s a great stop for a sweet treat.  The portions are big and the pudding is very rich.

Recommendations... Man Made Mascarpone Rice Pudding with roasted cherries, it’s rich, subtle but not too sweet – it’s to die for and clearly my favorite.

263 Mulberry Street, b/t Prince St. and Houston St.
Cost: Free
If you've watched The Godfather, you've seen the inside St. Patrick's Old Cathedral—this is where the infamous baptism scene was filmed. It’s New York’s first Cathedral Church, built in 1818.  The outside doesn't look like much, but it’s unbelievably stunning on the inside.  There's a maze of mortuary vaults underneath the cathedral, and the outdoor cemetery is the final resting place for notable and historic New Yorkers.

Finish up your tour of Little Italy and NoLita by ending full circle back in the Lower East Side.  Round off your day of eating with an old fashioned pastrami or corned beef sandwich.

H: Katz Deli 
205 E Houston St, b/t Avenue A and Essex St
Cost: $20 
This is hands down my favorite Delicatessen in NYC, and there are a lot of good ones to choose from.  It’s been around since 1888 and has been in numerous movies, most famously where Sally had her “orgasm scene” in When Harry Met Sally.  The food is expensive, but the portions are HUGE!  So you can share and still have leftovers.

Recommendations... The Ruben and a Chocolate Egg Creme - just do it.

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