Yonah Schimmel's Knishery

The thing I liked best about New York, out of a lot of good things, was the food. It was always tasty, and I experimented with a few new things. For example:

  • Bubble tea - A Taiwanese phenomenon where tapioca "pearls" are added to tea. I had a cold green tea, with black pearls which popped up the straw into my mouth. I was spared tapioca as a child so the bogey-like texture was literally something new to chew. It wasn't nice particularly, but it was interesting.
  • Root beer - I'd never had root beer either, but imagined it would taste like ginger beer. Ho no. It tastes like Germolene. I've been caught out before in the US by chewing gum or sweets that look like they're going to be minty but taste like this. What a peculiar flavour. Is this what sasparilla tastes like?
  • A knish - from Yonah Schimmel's knishery on the Lower East Side. Being full after a spectacular doughnut from The Doughnut Plant along the road, I bought a cheese and apple one to eat later. Was it a mistake to try one cold? It was really sweet (too sweet for me and that's saying something) and made out of the densest substance known to man, like cold, hard mashed potato.
  • Egg cream - my adventures with egg cream were more successful. A blend of ice cold (almost frozen) milk, seltzer water (is that the same as soda?) and syrup - no egg or cream - tastes like ice cream soda. Must be lovely in the summer. I got a chocolate one from the Gem Spa Newsstand on 2nd Avenue, which proudly proclaims to sell the best egg cream in New York. If you want to make your own here's the recipe.

The other thing I mean to try was canoli. Boxes of it are always being ferried about in The Sopranos, and it could be anything for all I know. Sweet, savoury - it's a mystery. So I found out it's a sort of cream cake, which I didn't really fancy. The mystery is solved though.

Sasparilla and root beer are much alike. The taste ranges and really good root beer is a real treat.

And soda water and seltzer water are the same.

Thanks for clearing that up, Robert. It's all becoming clear.

For your next American trip you need to sample Southern, Creole and Cajun cuisine.

I'm not native to the American South but I love some of its cooking.

A knish IS made from cold, hard mashed potato! Recrate the experience here - http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/534/Yonah_Schimmel_New_York_City_Knish35191.shtml - and have it warm as it's much softer!

I always thought root beer tasted like that "Dandelion & Burdock" drink I used to get in Scotland--do they still make it??

Hi Clair. Thanks for that. I'll give them another go, although not sure where I'll find one.

Peter - you can still get Dandelion & Burdock in some places, although it's not common. Don't think I've ever tried it. I'm going to hunt some down now.

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