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Eat and Drink

From Lox to Latkes, this is 'Eating Delancey'

"Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food" is out at the perfect moment, when the swell of interest in Jewish food is at an all-time high.

From the newly opened and posher Russ & Daughters Cafe to the King of the Egg Cream podcast to the new WNET special "The Sturgeon Queens," which chronicles 100 years of Russ & Daughters, you could say lox is having its moment. And this doesn't even take into account the city's bagel renaissance.

"Eating Delancey" blends recipes with stories of the eateries and memories of eating in them in a clever way, and any fans of NYC history, Jewish cuisine and culture or food in general will find it fascinating. Oh, and the late Joan Rivers wrote the introduction.

Authors Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps shared their thoughts on some classic Lower East Side Jewish eateries with us.

"The small yet powerful shops and shopkeepers keep the old recipes and traditions thriving in the Lower East Side, the cradle of Jewish cuisine," they wrote.

Ratner's

Aaron Rezny: I had innumerable late night trips
Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

Aaron Rezny:

I had innumerable late night trips to Ratner’s, enjoying the blintzes and onion rolls. Though I am sorry they closed, I’m glad we were able to capture some of the memories in the pages of "Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food."

Jordan Schaps:

Ratner’s was my first New York Jewish food experience. Growing up in Chicago, as soon as anyone in my circle turned 16 and got a driver’s license, we’d borrow a mother’s car – cut classes on Friday afternoon and drive to NYC at unlawful speeds, usually hitting Manhattan in the middle of the night. We’d head straight for Ratner's. The small soft poppy seeded rolls stuffed with onions – I remember being warm on the table, even at 3 a.m.

Sammy's Roumanian Steak House

Aaron Rezny: There is no better place for
Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

Aaron Rezny:

There is no better place for laughter, schmaltz and vodka. I cherish every memory at Sammy’s – remembered and forgotten.

Jordan Schaps:

Sammy’s is like walking into my Bubbe Ethel’s Albany Park apartment where all available eating surfaces were pushed together and covered with heirloom lace for a festive family or holiday meal. That’s what Sammy’s says to me. I’m never at Sammy’s that I don’t hope or expect to run into a Schaps, Raben or Kagan cousin.

Katz's Deli

Aaron Rezny: OMG – The quintessential NY deli.
Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

Aaron Rezny:

OMG – The quintessential NY deli.

Jordan Schaps:

KATZ’S! Not then, not now, not tomorrow will there be another deli like Katz’s. Katz’s Deli is closest to the deli food I ate as a kid, only better! I went there once with Aaron and decided to experiment. I ordered a tongue sandwich on rye with MAYO. The waiter, a college-age Hispanic kid, said, “absolutely not!” Bless him for knowing best.

Russ & Daughters

Aaron Rezny: Occasionally I cater an important photo
Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

Aaron Rezny:

Occasionally I cater an important photo shoot at my studio with food from R&D. While my clients love my work, I think the added draw of lox from R&D doesn’t hurt!

Jordan Schaps:

To me, R&D isn’t New York Jewish. It’s London Jewish. It’s Scandinavian Jewish, even Marais Jewish. It has a very tailored feel to it. The amazing herrings in what seems like 900 varieties, should take one a lifetime to discover and enjoy. Pure heaven.

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery

Aaron Rezny: Walking into Yonnah Schimmel’s is like
Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

Aaron Rezny:

Walking into Yonnah Schimmel’s is like being in a shop a hundred years ago. And the knishes are delicious, as is Ellen, the owner.

Jordan Schaps:

Yonah Schimmel’s was my first discovery of knishes. I thought a knish had potato in it and that was it, but there are a myriad of options! Kasha, cherry cheese, red cabbage, jalapeno and pepper with cheddar – who knew? Are you starving yet? Good, I did my job.

"Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food"

Photo Credit: powerHouse Books

"Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food" is available now from powerHouse Books. $35.

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