Tag Archives: German

Dina’s Guide to NYC Old World Bakeries

I love old world bakeries.  Whenever I visit a new city, I always look for old bakeries.  I don’t care if they look dirty or grungy from the outside, or if they have outdated signs out front.  Those signs are a sure “sign” that deliciousness awaits me inside. I feel good that I am supporting a family and the local economy as well as eating something that was made with pride and craft.  So if you are visiting NYC or if you live here, when you eat at most of the bakeries on this list, you are supporting local families and businesses that represent the history and culture of this diverse city.

In this list, I’ve tried to include all old world bakeries in Manhattan.  If I missed one, by all means, tell me about it because I’d love to go there.  (I’m focusing on the more “touristy” part of Manhattan.  This list doesn’t include Mexican or Dominican bakeries in Upper Manhattan, such as Bakery el Panadero, Capri, De Colores Bakery, Dyckman’s, D’Lillian’s, El Barrio, El Manantial, El Nazareno, Esmeraldo’s, Floridita, Grinis, Kenny Bakery, Las Americas, Mi Querido Mexico Lindo or Sweet Life Bakery.  It also doesn’t include kosher bakery Gideon’s, Hungarian Pastry Shop, Asian bakery In & Out or Ethiopian Injera Bakery.  Sounds like a bakery tour of Upper Manhattan is in order!)

I’ve written about Italian bakeries in Manhattan before in Dina’s Guide to NYC Italian Bakeries.  My favorite bakeries are old school and traditional German, Jewish and Italian ones.  There is only one German bakery and only one Jewish bakery left in Manhattan.  (As far as I know–please tell me if there are more.  There are other places to get German and Jewish baked goods, ex. Zabar’s, but not other old school bakeries.  East Broadway Kosher on Grand near Kossar’s closed, but I’m not sure if it reopened?  Last time I was there, it was closed.)  In this list I’m including bakeries that have sweet bakery items.  Following that is a list of specialty old world bakeries that make bread, knishes, bialys etc.  Many of these places are cash only, so go prepared.

moishes

Moishe’sLower East Side, Grand Street at East Broadway, and East Village, 2nd Avenue at 7th Street, Moishe’s is my favorite bakery in the city–the quintessential bakery.  I am addicted to Moishe’s.  The best hamentaschen, the best black and white cookies, the best rainbow cookies.  I’ve never had anything here that wasn’t delicious.  It’s no frills with graffiti on the window, but who cares?  I’m here for the cookies, not the decor.  They do have a new sign out front, but I’m keeping this photo of the old one.  I’ve sung the praises of Moishe’s many times. 

Poseidon Bakery

PoseidonHell’s Kitchen, 9th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, At 90 years old, Poseidon is still family owned and the only Greek bakery in Manhattan, and one of the last businesses in what used to be a Greek neighborhood.  Here, you can get delicious Greek goodies like baklava and cookies.  The handmade phyllo dough strudels are a must-get.  I’ve written about Poseidon before.

Glaser's

Glaser’s Bake ShopYorkville, Upper East Side, 1st Avenue at 87th Street, Family-owned since 1902, Glaser’s is the only German bakery in Manhattan in what used to be a German neighborhood.  It still turns out amazing crumb cake, jelly doughnuts and danishes.  However, it also makes American favorites like brownies too.  This is an old school bakery at its best.  Check out the beautiful wood interior and tile floor.  I’ve written about Glaser’s before.

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La DeliceKips Bay, 3rd Avenue at 27th Street, La Delice is an old school bakery with a variety of classic baked goods and beautiful cakes.  They have many colorful macarons.

Andre’s HungarianMidtown East, 1st Avenue at 57th Street and Upper East Side, 2nd Avenue at 85th Street, Andre’s is the place to go for traditional, handmade strudel and other Hungarian pastries and gorgeous cakes.

Ferrara2

FerraraLittle Italy, Grand Street at Mulberry,  Ferrara, a legendary Italian pastry shop, opened in 1892 by Enrico Scoppa and Antonio Ferrara.  The fifth-generation pastry shop gained fame when Enrico Caruso became a regular.   Ferrara’s became well-known for its cannoli and torrone.  Talk about being a kid in a candy store.  I take one look at the glass case of glistening glazed fruit atop an array of pastries in a myriad of colors, and I’m mesmerized.  The pastry case at Ferrara’s is a work of art.  When I talk to people who’ve never been to an Italian bakery, I show them pictures of Ferrara’s.  Everyone in my family will attest to Ferrara’s being the gold standard of New York Italian pastries.

Ferrara's pastries

Ferrara’s pastries

La Bella FerraraLittle Italy, Mulberry Street at Canal, is an old school bakery.  Walk in here and the waft of fresh-baked cookies fills the air.  Many are displayed in the usual bakery case but there’s also a table of cookies that reminds me of the dessert table at a family party.

Veniero's pastry

Veniero’sEast Village, East 11th Street at 1st Avenue, Veniero’s claims to be America’s oldest pastry shop, opening in 1894.  Veniero’s is also owned by Bruce Springsteen’s cousin.  It has a beautiful display of traditional Italian pastries as well as a cafe.

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Pasticceria RoccoWest Village, Bleecker Street near Carmine, is the last man standing in this old Italian neighborhood even though the pastry shop itself is not that old.  (Rocco Generoso apprenticed with the owner of a prior bakery before purchasing it and renaming it in 1974.  Now, Rocco Jr. is at the helm.)  My family came from this area, lived on Carmine Street and went to Our Lady of Pompeii Church across the street.   The big fat cookies in the window beckon you into the bakery, but get the cheesecake.  It’s the best in the city, hands down.  (Yes, better than Junior’s.)

William Greenberg DessertsUpper East Side, Madison Avenue at 82nd Street, Rugelach, black and whites, hamentaschen, rainbow cookies and Linzers…need I say more?  Oh yeah, how about black and whites in custom colors?

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Orwasher’s, Upper East Side, 78th Street at 2nd Avenue, Orwasher’s opened in 1916 and was known for its Eastern European-style bread.  The bakery got a new owner in 2007 who added other European artisanal breads, and there are still the same wonderful pastries.  Did I mention fill-to-order jelly doughnuts and the sweetest staff in NYC?

Fay Davarious locations, While I’m not an expert in Chinese baked goods, I’ve been to many bakeries in Chinatown.  Fay Da is my favorite with consistently fresh and tasty pastries.

Specialty Bakeries

Russ & DaughtersLower East Side, Houston Street at Orchard Street, Celebrating 100 years this year, Russ & Daughters is a classic NYC institution.  It is in this category because it specializes in smoked fish and also has baked goods like babka, rugelach and macaroons.  But it also serves a bit of feminist history.  As the original owner had no sons, he left his shop to his daughters, hence the name.

Kossar’sLower East Side, Grand Street at Essex Street, Kossar’s specializes in bialys.

Yonah SchimmelLower East Side, Houston Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, Yonah Schimmel has specialized in knishes for over 100 years.

Parisi BakeryLittle Italy, two locations at Elizabeth and Mott Streets,  Family-owned for over 100 years, Parisi Bakery specializes in bread and deli sandwiches.

 

–Dina Di Maio

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Neighborhood Watch: German Yorkville

German immigrants originally settled in NYC starting in the 1840s in the Lower East Side in a neighborhood that became known as “Little Germany.”  As new immigrant groups came to NYC, the Germans moved out to the boroughs and  on the Upper East Side in the Yorkville neighborhood.  There isn’t much left to the German Yorkville of old.  It’s no surprise, as neighborhoods in NYC change with each new influx of immigrants.  However, if you visit, there are some places to check out and enjoy old world German charm.

Your first stop is Glaser’s Bake Shop, a family-owned bakery since 1902 on 1st Avenue and 87th Street.

Glaser's

What started as a bread bakery turned into a pastry shop with German classics.  Today, the bakery has doughnuts, cakes, turnovers, muffins, seasonal bakery items, challah and more.  I got a jelly doughnut with granulated sugar, a butter danish, a cheese danish and crumb cake.

baked goods

The crumb cake here is buttery soft with large, buttery crumbs on top and a fresh, soft cake.

Nearby is St. Joseph’s Church, a Roman Catholic Church founded in 1874 for the local German population, that still has masses in German.

After some delicious baked goods for breakfast, head over to Carl Schurz Park on East End Avenue from 84th Street to 90th Street to walk off all those carbs.  Carl Schurz Park was named after Carl Schurz, the German-born Secretary of the Interior in 1910.  It’s also the site of Gracie Mansion, which is open for tours.

After your walk through the park, back to German Yorkville.  Schaller & Weber, a family-run butcher shop since 1937 on 2nd Avenue and 86th Street, is the place to do some shopping.  You can get a variety of German cold cuts and liverwursts, spatzle and German products.

Schaller

If you don’t want to cook for yourself, head down a few doors to the Heidelberg Restaurant, est. 1936, for authentic German food in a charming atmosphere.  The bratwurst here is the best I’ve had in the U.S.

Heidelberg

What to Eat:  crumb cake from Glaser’s Bake Shop, bratwurst from Heidelberg

Where to Shop:  Schaller & Weber

What to See:  Carl Schurz Park

Dinner Club: The Marrow

I’d heard so much (both good and bad) about The Marrow, Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant in the West Village, that I had to try it.  I’m a big fan of Perilla, so I figured I’d like the food at The Marrow too.  The concept is interesting, as Dieterle’s family tree is German and Italian, so the menu is broken into two columns, one representing the German side of his family and the other, the Italian.  If you are an aficionado of German or Italian food, do not go here thinking you will get any traditional dishes.  What Dieterle does is use ingredients from German and Italian cooking to create unique dishes.

chicken

For example, I got the grilled baby chicken from the Italian side–with fregula, fried salami, fava beans & smoked tomato vinaigrette.  For one, I was surprised with the plentiful portion.  Second, the chicken was so incredibly tender and juicy.  While the salad had tomato, fava beans, salami and farro, and the vinaigrette was tomato, it didn’t have an Italian flavor to it.  The salad was so refreshing and enjoyable, but it tasted more Middle Eastern to me than Italian.  The smoky tomato vinaigrette was a perfect accompaniment to the chicken, but its flavor was more reminiscent of American barbecue sauce than anything Italian.

I wanted to try something from both sides of the menu, so I got a German appetizer and an Italian entrée.  To start, I got the duck liverwurst with cornichons, green mustard and grilled bread.

liverwurst

For dessert, I got the rhubarb crostata with toasted almond and mascarpone ice cream, which was absolutely delicious.

rhubarb crostata

Julie, of the Texan New Yorker, got the crispy mortadella with muffuletta dressing.

mortadella

Her entrée was the polenta, a special, which she enjoyed very much.

polenta

I also really enjoyed the pretzel dinner roll with accompanying sweet mustard (German) and olive oil (Italian).

pretzel

mustard and olive oil

As I said, the food here is excellent, but just don’t go in expecting your standard bratwurst and spaghetti.

15 Christmas Cookie Recipes from Around the World

I love reading about Christmas traditions and foods from around the world. I searched blogs for Christmas cookie recipes from bloggers who are from the country where the cookie originates or of that ethnicity or that seemed authentic. So below is a list of 15 Christmas cookies from around the world:

African-style Christmas Sweet Mince Pies

Czech Vanilla Rolls/Vanilkove Rohlicky and Jam Flowers/Linecke Cukrovi

Estonian Gingerbread Cookies/Piparkoogid

Finnish Spicy Gingersnaps/Joulupiparkakut

German Cinnamon Star Cookies/Zimtsterne

Greek Spiced Walnut Cake Soaked in Syrup/Karydópita

Icelandic Air Cookies/Loftkökur

Italian Honey Balls/Struffoli

Italian Knot Cookies/Anginetti

Latvian Gingerbread Cookies/Piparkukas

North Carolina Moravian Spice Cookies

Norwegian Sand Tarts/Sandbakkel

Russian Rozdestvenskioe Pechenie

Scottish Shortbread

Swedish Spritz Cookies