Selemon and I adore the Food Network chef Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey. In fact, after watching an episode last night Selemon and I laid in bed and talked about what was so great about them and if we could ever be “Ina and Jeffrey”. Strange? Probably. Adorable? Definitely.
In the episode we watched Ina and Jeffrey were in the city (they live in the Hamptons and Jeffrey spends his weekdays teaching at Yale…just in case you were curious) So they were in the big city and planning a picnic in Central Park. Like I said, super dang adorable. To prep for the picnic, Ina went to Russ and Daughters, a Jewish deli/appetizer spot in the Lower East Side. Selemon isn’t usually one for random explorations of the city, so when he suggested we check it out, I happily agreed.
So on a dreary, snowy/rainy day (we still haven’t had a proper snow in NYC) we headed East on Houston Street to Russ and Daughters.
As a quick primer, Russ and Daughters has been around forever, or as their website tells me, 1914. It’s known for its pickled and smoked fish, and as this episode with Ina demonstrated, bagels with cream cheese and lox. If you want to learn more, check it out here.
Mostly, I was excited because it was shown in an episode of Louie. ( <- click for link)
So Selemon and I headed off and here’s our adventure:
Like all good, well-known places in New York City we squished into a large mass of people in a small space. This is pretty much par for the course at this point. To guard against any risk that I was over-glamorizing this New York experience, here is a photo of too many people in a tiny room. You see that number on the wall? That 76? We are 94. At one point I had to move because I turned around to what I swear was an older man appearing to lick the faux fur hood of my coat. Maybe it got in his way, maybe I caught him at a strange moment of sticking out his tongue. One will never really know. But hi, New York, thanks again for being so weird.
Lots of spreads, roe, and the beloved “smoked trout mousse”
So many fish options! I tried the belly lox (it’s what Ina chose) but the salt-curing left it a bit too salty for me. Instead, I opted for the Scottish Salmon and Selemon chose the Gaspe Nova. The smoked salmon really was incredibly silky and delicious.
More spreads and salads, including a chopped liver salad in the upper left corner. We weren’t brave enough to try that, but if liver is your thing, I bet its fantastic.
Waiting for our bagel sandwiches to be assembled!
Then I had to stop by The Bean and get a coffee because you just can’t eat a bagel sandwich without some coffee. The Bean is a super cute little coffee shop that allows dogs inside, which means I was able to pet some puppies and make friends with them while waiting for my cup. (of course, I went home and promptly began looking up rescue dogs…for the millionth time)
Overall, the sandwiches were good but I won’t go through all that trouble again. I prefer my bagel a bit fluffier than their smaller, chewy bagel but the smoked fish was spot on.
Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Thanks for playing along!