Lower East Side Eats

Fairygodmother visited last weekend, and so we fought our way through the cold and snow for good New York eats. I would be completely remiss if I didn’t include these 2 NYC landmarks.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700Store

They sell a lot of donuts here in NYC – from the numerous street vendors to the huge Dunkin Donuts chain – but nothing is as delish (and famous) as the Doughnut Plant (DP). Located in the Lower East Side (LES) and owned by doughnut legend Mark Isreal, the DP makes new, creative, fresh flavors daily. Those long lines outside the shop aren’t accidentally, and did you know that Martha Stewart had a box delivered to her the day she was released from prison? From flavors like tres leches to blackout to peanut butter and blackberry jelly to rose petals… DP really goes out of your typical donut box. DP’s offerings include both cake and yeast donuts, and what makes DP unique is that (1) all the fillings are store-made (2) flavors are seasonal and fresh, and (3) the jelly filled donuts are SQUARE shaped. Different right? Here’s what we ordered:CremeBrule
So the round donut is the creme brulee, with a crackly/sugary glaze and delicious cream that oozed vanilla custard when I bit into it. It really was a crème brûlée incarnate in donut form. The other is the absolutely delicious hazelnut donut, glazed and topped with hazelnut pieces. Not shown is a peanut butter and blackberry jelly donut.Blackberry
This is the blackberry jelly glazed donut, see all that homemade jelly? Delicious – perfect tang to contrast the glazed sweetness. The dough is soft and gives as you bite into it. The jelly is evenly distributed and the perfect ratio of filling to donut. And, the best part – the jelly doesn’t gloop and drip all over the place after you take a bite.

Delicious stuff. If you’re visiting NYC, this should definitely be on your list of food-stops. I would go more often, but (1) its in the LES and super far from Washington Heights, although a DP stand is opening in Chelsea soon!!! and (2) I’m not sure my student budget ($3 a pop) and/or denim jeans can afford the luxury of having DP nearby.

Speaking of nearby, just a few short blocks north of DP is the place where Meg Ryan famously faked an on-screen orgasm.MegBilly

Katz’s Deli
205 E Houston St
New York, 10002
(212) 254-2246

That’s right. New York City’s most famous deli and home of the world’s best pastrami sandwich. And before you say it’s overrated and stupid for being part of the Sex and the City tour of NY and before you dismiss it, why don’t you go try it for yourself?Shop

Big crowds and a frenzy of employees behind the counter rushing to finish your order – it makes for an exciting place. You really do want to have what she had. And while you wait for your sandwich, you get to sample a few pieces of their famous pastrami and examine the portraits of all the famous people who have visited Katz’s. Look at these beauties:Reuben
You’re only seeing HALF of the sandwich. The homemade sauerkraut in my pastrami Reuben sandwich was beautiful, I wanted to cry! Add the warm, gooey Swiss cheese and the creamy, piquant Russia dressing – oh my goodness, I could die happy! I slightly butchered the sandwich by adding some mustard for kicks, but ooh the intense flavors went so well together. The pungent mustard and the tart sauerkraut and the mellow cheese and the cured/peppery/tender meat and the nutty rye bread. What a sandwich!Pastrami
This is Katz’s famous Pastrami sandwich in its purest state, completely unadulterated. Piles of pastrami meat between 2 slices of rye, and some mustard smeared on for good measure. The meat is beautifully marbled and well seasoned and packs a punch of flavor.

To be honest, for 2 petite Asian girls, I think a half sandwich was more than sufficient to fill us, especially after those donuts from Doughnut Plant (although, if I remember correctly, I think Fairygodmother was more beast than me and finished her ENTIRE sandwich). If you happen to be in the LES, don’t forget to stop by. The long lines and big crowds won’t disappoint you. These are NYC landmarks for a reason!

Happy eats,

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