Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lower East Side Eats

It's vacation week, and instead of going somewhere warm, we wound up taking a car ride instead (no security lines there!).

Sometimes I love being a tourist in NYC.
Walking around neighborhoods that are new terrain for us is always exciting.

Though, the lower east side is only 18 miles from my front door, it seems like it is a world away.

This week we visited the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of our winter vacation weekends.

It is quite the chic neighborhood these days, with high rents and boutiques abound. A far cry from the pickle man and kosher butcher that used to service the neighborhood during the early 1900's.

We visited the Tenement Museum, which is a must see on your next visit to NYC.
It it what the city is all about.

The land of opportunity.

The L.E.S. used to be filled with Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants, working class people who built up Manhattan to be what it is today.
Everyone was poor, and came here for a better life at the turn of the century.

My grandfather, now 93, was born on the very street we walked along.

I love the story about the Jewish rabbi living in the building next door to the Italian family that owns DiPalo's Fine Foods & Cheese Imports (still there today).
Mr. DiPalo's family all had to share a bathroom w/ 40 other people! The bathroom was in the hallway and was used by everyone living on the floor.
The owner of the cheese store remembers only Italian & Yiddish spoken in the halls.

Can you imagine the AMAZING food smells coming out of those apartments?
(except for the bathroom situation).

We stopped at Russ & Daughters, my favorite place (& Anthony Bourdain's and Martha Stewart's) for smoked fish and appetizing. I feel very nostalgic when I am in this 100 plus year old store. The men are very professional and wear white coats and know how to slice that fish.

There is a a tiny little alley with a street sign that says FREEMAN ALLEY off of Rivington St. When you walk down the graffiti lined alley, you will find the most charming colonial style American restaurant called Freeman's.

A warm and cozy place that uses only farm fresh ingredients and local meats and cheeses. Go, if you can find the place! It was a wonderful find.

I met this cute guy at 'Inoteca, where we had an Italian wine tasting along with bruschette and brussels sprouts with walnuts, Pecorino Fiore Sardo & pomegranate seeds (delicious).

Then on to Daniel Boulud's downtown hip restaurant called DBGB Kitchen & Bar.
It was beautiful and the food even more beautiful.

Next weekend will take us on a tour of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, above 100th St.
I am sure I'll find something to eat.


SarahB said...

I love the downtown tour Sta! I am so lame that I don't do that!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

How neat that you have family history tied to the LES. I haven't been to these places, but I'm going to make an effort to have my exploration trip there.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

It's great to be a tourist in NYC especially in the winter when it's not so crowded. The lower east side sure has changed. I hope Gus' Pickles (and the 10th St. Baths) is still there. It's been ages since I've been to that museum or DiPalo's. Time for a return visit. With those other restaurants you mentioned that I've never been to, now I have a Stacey-approved list of places to eat. But don't tell me you just had a glass of wine and that salad!

doggybloggy said...

ok - Now you are in my "hood" and you dont call - hmmmmmmmmmm

The Food Hunter said...

Great post...makes me homesick for the city!

Proud Italian Cook said...

You look cute in that hat Stace. 18 miles from all that. Lucky you!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fun tour Stacey. I love Freeman's. I'll be looking forward to next week for the tour to the upper west side. Have a great weekend and stay warm.

kat said...

what a wonderful weekend. We used to do things like that in San Francisco, we really need to do more in Mpls

Elra said...

Lovely outing Stacey. So nice to see you (and your husband) in that photo. Next time I go to NYC (my brother in law live there), I am hoping to meet you, and you'll give me a tour, yes?

noble pig said...

NY is just so amazing, so many places to see and to never get tired of visiting. Great pics.

Colt McCoy said...

I feel like I'm missing something by not going to NY

Jen_from_NJ said...

I am so in the mood to head into the City and try out a few of these places after reading this great post. Oh, and I so want to visit the Tenement Museum. Thanks for sharing! So much to enjoy so close to home! I am glad that you are taking advantage of it all, and yes, skipping the security lines!

Dana said...

Sigh. SO jealous. I wish we had such treasures only 18 miles away. If I drove 18 miles north I would be closing in on Mukilteo where Boeing planes are built. 18 miles south would put me in red-neck territory. 18 miles east would put me just at the base of the Cascade mountains. And 18 miles west would put me in the frigid waters of Puget Sound. Not a lot of good food options in any of those directions!

Kim said...

I really enjoyed all the pictures and background. The restaurant in Freeman Alley looks so charming, a lot like another world. You're extremly lucky to be so close to NYC.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Staycations is the hip thing to do, nowadays. I dream of touring NY with a local. Great tour, and I love the picture of the guy in the white coat. I can almost hear his accent! Sorry it's so cold. Fly West, where the temps aren't dipping below 50F at night. I'm spoiled, but then again, I don't have the great food places you showed. Lookin' forward to seeing more of your side of the country. Stay warm!

Catherine said...

What a great LES tour!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Yes, thanks for the tour. Loved viewing it thur your eyes.