It’s been about a month since Jess and I moved to the Upper West Side, a stark change from our prior life on the outskirts of Times Square.
The biggest change, really, is the people. We traded tourists from Ohio and Geneva for a lot of old Jews. Fortunately, Jess’ favorite foods line up pretty squarely with old Jews’, so, from a culinary perspective, it’s been a big step up.
Within a block of the new apartment, for example, are both Barney Greengrass and Murray’s Sturgeon, two of New York’s more storied appetizing stores. Appetizing, Wikipedia explains, “is best understood as a store that sells ‘the foods one eats with bagels.’” Lox, whitefish, smoked herring. It’s even better understood, I think, with a quick gloss of kashrut, the laws that govern kosher eating: those laws prohibit eating milk and meat together; they also, in turn, prohibit preparing and selling both milk and meat in the same restaurant. So if deli’s are busy selling meat (think Katz’s, Carnegies, or 2nd Avenue, serving up pastrami on rye and Reuben sandwiches), appetizing stores are the flip side of the coin, selling dairy – cream cheese, pickled herring in cream sauce, whitefish salad.
And it is, as Wikipedia point out, all excellent with bagels. Sort of Jewish soul food for Sunday mornings. Time to eat.