Mouth watering meats, doughnut heaven, and the perfect dumplings are just the tip of the iceberg of Nice Guy's LES food tour led by Dante Mercadante. Mix in some cool neighborhood history and his own brand of comedy and you are guaranteed a fun filled New York experience. Whether you’re a local like me or a tourist, you’ll learn something new and laugh until your stomach hurts. Finally, Dante holds true to his word, you’re going to leave full!
Here are the 8 drool worthy places we hit up:
1. Yonah Schimmel Knishes
I LOVE knishes so I was ecstatic to find out our first stop was the oldest Knishery in America!
Originator Yonah Schimmel used to sell his knishes on a cart on the Lower East Side in the 1800s. They are still made the same way today, a filling of potato and onion wrapped in dough and baked. Hot out of the oven and dunked in some mustard you'll never look at a prepackaged frozen knish the same way again. They've also expanded their menu with specials like cheddar jalapeno, and sweet knishes stuffed with blueberries and other fruits. Keeping it both authentic and modern. You go Yonah Schimmel!
2. Russ and Daughters “The Shop”
This is another New York City landmark started in 1914. Beautifully displayed inside is a large selection of schmears, dried fruits, baked goods, Caviar, fish and of course bagels. On this tour, you get to try a traditional raspberry rugelach. Take a bite of this freshly baked dough twisted and filled with raspberry jam and head out to the next stop!
3. Economy Candy
What’s better than being a kid in a candy store? Being an adult in a candy store because I could buy whatever the hell I want! This colorful maze of giant lollipops and jelly beans is a trip down memory lane and feels like you’ve scored a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The store, opened in 1937 by Moishe Cohen is run today with pride by his grandson Mitch. Here you get to sample their Halvah, a soft Middle Eastern candy made from sesame paste. Now grab some wax lips and candy cigarettes and have a ball!
4. Katz’s Delicatessan
Serving New York’s best pastrami since 1888, this place needs no introduction. Loyal customers have returned for generations because of this family owned joint which is rich in history and delicious food. One of their catch phrases, “Katz’s, that’s all!,” came about because when Harry Tarowsky ordered a sign for the store, the sign maker asked, “What do you want it to say?” Harry replied, “Katz’s. That’s all.” A hilarious misinterpretation ensued and the sign still hangs on the side of the store today. P.S. This is the juiciest, most well seasoned and tender pastrami you will eat!! Smear some mustard on rye bread, load it with mouth watering meat and indulge in one of Manhattan’s greatest gifts to man.
5. Vanessa’s Dumpling House
This spot in Chinatown has been a staple for students, artists and families since the 90’s. The dumplings, made daily with fresh ingredients come from centuries old recipes passed down from Vanessa’s grandparents. We tried the pork dumplings that were pan fried to PERFECTION. They were so flavorful I didn’t even bother reaching for the soy sauce. Ready for this? 4 dumplings cost 1.75! Fabulousssssss!
6. The Pickle Guys
If you like pickles, or anything that has been pickled, this is your heaven on earth. Alan Kaufman, the hilarious owner cracks jokes like a seasoned comic while you get to peruse the endless barrels of all things pickled. The smell alone is intoxicating. Made from his mom’s Eastern European recipes, everything in the store is all natural, no preservatives. We tried their sour and half sour pickles, both incredible!
7. Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys
This bakery has been making their famous bialys since 1936. “Bialy” comes from the yiddish phrase “Bialystoker Kuchen,” which means “little bread from Bialystok.” It’s like a flat bagel with no hole, and baked in the delicious center is roasted garlic or onions. They’ve expanded their bialy menu so there are now more varieties to try. We also tasted their magnificent everything bagels with cream cheese. They are kettle boiled and baked making them crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Then they are rolled top and bottom in the perfect everything seasoning which includes garlic! I could eat 1,000 fresh everything bagels!
8. Doughnut Plant
Mark Isreal started Doughnut Plant with his grandfather’s recipes in 1994 and it has exploded in popularity ever since. These are some of the most delicious doughnuts you’ll ever eat, all made with seasonal fruits and local natural ingredients. There’s cake doughnuts, yeast doughnuts, filled doughnuts and the menu continues to grow. We tried the black and white cake doughnut, and it's not only the frosting, but the doughnut itself is half chocolate half vanilla. You get to have your cake and eat it too! Wink wink. Sorry. And don’t even think about leaving without purchasing a carrot cake doughnut filled with sweet cream cheese, or a peanut butter doughnut filled with fresh blackberry jam. You’ll thank me!
This was my third tour with Dante and Nice Guy Tours and I had a blast! Dante gives you information, humor, a bottle of water and directions to wherever you are headed next!
Check out link for more info : https://www.niceguytours.com/
Thanks for hanging with this starving actress!