The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

back to bakeries

I don’t know what gets you going in the morning, but for me it’s the prospect of food, in most cases something baked.

To digress for a moment (immediately after I started typing this entry), my room smells. Smells like…garlic? Good god. Note to roommate: you need to learn to use the fan because I’m as far away from the kitchen as I can get in this room and I feel like I’m wading through a garlic cloud. (Can you wade through a cloud? Well. Now you can.)

Okay, the fan is on. All is good! Food preparation may not continue without…wait, I think the smell is getting worse. No no, the fan sucks up the air, not blows it around. Ah, my roommate brought her food over.

It’s not like my food never smells, but I don’t think it smells as strong.

So back to whatever I was talking about. Yesterday I woke up at 10:30 AM. ON A SUNDAY! I woke up early as I had to complete a few tasks: buy new shoes and get food. Actually, I guess the shoe buying was the only task as I buy food every day. But I had a particular food place in mind…

KOSHER BAKERY! MMM NUMMY! While googling around today I found out that all the worthy Kosher bakeries are apparently in Brooklyn. However, I’m still in my Manhattan bubble. Brooklyn will have to wait.

I went to Gertel’s Bakery on Hester Street but was momentarily stopped when I came across The Sweet Life, just a few doors down from the bakery. As you could probably tell, The Sweet Life is a sweets shop selling lots of bulk candies and dried fruit and nuts. It’s packed like Economy Candy (not very far away, on Rivington) but is much smaller and feels…nicer for some reason. Their small chocolate bar section (a shelf or two?) is impressive but I just wasn’t in the mood for chocolate. So onward to Gertel’s!

To my disappointing, just about everything at Gertel’s was already packed. I guess people who shop there have families or large groups of people to share their food with, while I am just one person and while I could consume an entire box of cookies, I’d rather not. Darn it. I don’t see myself every buying anything from that bakery if I have to buy an entire cake-loaf of some sort. How I’d love to…

Somewhat dejected, I walked towards Prince Street for shoe buying (at the Camper shoe store) but stopped on Grand Street when I remembered that I had yet to visit Kossar’s Bialys. And then I noticed next door to Kossar’s a KOSHER BAKERY. DAMMIT. I mean, I had passed it before but somehow forgot it was there. Amazing. Robyn forgot about the presence of a bakery, a mighty tasty looking one at that.

My first mistake was walking into the bakery. No, my first mistake was waking up and walking out of my dorm. The inside is small and narrow but the display case is aglow with cookies by the pound and loaves of tasty looking things whose names I don’t know. There was also bread in the back but I went straight for the sweets, getting a piece of some chocolate rolled-up thing that may have been chocolate babka (I’ve seen a few variations on chocolate babka so I’m not sure what its supposed to look like exactly) and too many hamantashen and rugelach. I think the woman at the counter gave me more cookies than I asked for but I sure as hell wouldn’t complain about that. Altogether I think I paid around $5 for a generous piece of the delicious-chocolate-thing, three hamantashen and two rugelachs.

Then I hit Kossar’s. When I walked in there was a stack of shelves on my right overflowing with bialys. God, those things are cute. Yes, I like food that looks cute. It also helps to have a cute name and in my opinion, bialy is a cute name. (Pronounced bee-ah-lee? Please correct me if I’m wrong.) I don’t know if there’s anything very special about a bialy but I thought it was delicious. I think I’ve gotten tired of the crusty artisan bread I spent all last week eating so a little, soft chewy bialy was just the ticket. However, I happened to get the only mutated bialy there. IT LOOKED LIKED A BREAST! There’s no other way to say it. Bialys are typically “innies” while mine was an “outtie”, if that makes any sense. I’ll have to show you a photo.

Oh well, still good. I don’t care if my food doesn’t look right as long as it tastes good. Today I went back to Kossar’s and got another bialy, this time a normal looking one. I don’t usually eat while walking but I didn’t want to sit down this time so I ripped it apart while going down Allen Street. It didn’t last long.

Talking about everything I eat is rather tiring.

Today I had the most delicious focaccia bread from the Union Square Greenmarket. I’m sure I’ve seen this vendor before (Buon Pane)but I guess I was never in the mood for focaccia. Last week I was all about crusty loaves of bread while this week I’m all about…something. Not the crusty loaves anymore. Perhaps this is the week of foccaccia with extras, which in today’s case meant tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella. I’m on a mission to try the other choices (and there were many) but the Greenmarket is only there four times a week, this particular vendor perhaps less often (I think they"re only there on Monday, unfortunately). For $3.50 I got a two-meal focaccia and $1.50, an absolutely delicious chocolate muffin with nummy chocolate chips (at the same vendor).

I spent $5.50 today (including the $0.50 bialy) which isn’t too bad. I could’ve done worse, could’ve done better. I still spend too much money on food but it forces me to walk further than I may otherwise walk. Yeah, I know it’s self-defeating to walk far to eat something that has a gazillion calories, but…meh. Gotta live life somehow. Today I opted to walk through the Lower East Side as opposed to the scene Soho route to check out Russ and Daughters (lots of goodies inside but I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate, cream cheese, or…fish. Interesting combination, perhaps, and it smells very much like fish inside, although not in a bad way) and ultimately ended up at Kossar’s.

And then I came back to my dorm and pigged out. Thus is the life of a girl who lives in downtown Manhattan and doesn’t have enough to do, except for homework. Damn, I should do some of that. Homework.


Something random from the archives