It took Joel Russ ten days to travel from Germany to Ellis Island by boat in 1907, and that was the easy part. The 22-year-old Russ had arrived in America to help support his older sister's family, which he began doing by selling strings of Polish mushrooms, carrying them on his shoulders until he had saved up enough money for a pushcart. Next, he upgraded to a horse and wagon, and by 1914, he had enough funds to open a store. Dubbed "Russ's Cut Rate Appetizers", the store specialized in selling the cold appetizers known in Yiddish as "forshpayz": among them salt-cured salmon and herring. In 1920, he moved to East Houston Street, where the shop still stands today. During this period, he also became the father of three daughters who began working in the shop after school and on weekends, and in 1933, the store was renamed Russ & Daughters––widely regarded as the first business to ever use "& Daughters" in its name. Nearly 100 years later, the shop is owned and staffed by fourth-generation Russ family members, and has been recognized by The Smithsonian Institute as "a part of New York's cultural heritage". One of the last traditional appetizing stores on the Lower East Side, the business is considered by most to be much more than a beloved grocery: it's a preserver of the culture of the city's Eastern European Jewish Immigrants. Smoked and cured salmon is still sliced by hand, while bagels are rolled by hand and baked in an old-fashioned revolving oven. When ¬New York Magazine asked world-traveling chef Anthony Bourdain to name the best meal he's ever eaten in New York, the Travel Channel host said simply, "bagel, nova, cream cheese at Russ & Daughters. Not just the best, but 'ours'." Beyond the traditional bagel toppers, today's customers find gourmet delights such as cinnamon or chocolate babka, homemade chopped herring salad with granny smith apples, and handmade macaroons dipped in dark chocolate. Russian-style blini's make the perfect vessel for any of Russ & Daughter's high grade, hand-packed caviars, which are still sourced the old-fashioned way: by waiting patiently next to the fish's nests.
The Healing Hands Spa celebrated its 7th year in 2010... a Full Service Day Spa with an emphasis on Total Well-Being. With over 6 treatment rooms all our services are personalized based on the client's needs, so whether you are getting a facial, massage or another treatment your total well-being is always our main focus.
Insomnia Cookies began as a project to feed fresh-baked cookies to hungry college students who spend the wee hours studying, partying, or studying parties for an anthropology course. Cookie gift boxes can come in your choice of chocolate-brown box or gleaming-gold tin (the tin is recommended for long-distance shipping). Inside, your mother, father, or long-lost identical twin will discover 24 deliciously soft cookies in signature flavors, which include chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, and white-chocolate macadamia, to name just a few. You also have the option to choose your own flavors. Include a message in the complimentary greeting card, or leave it blank as a haunting memento to the delicious flavors words cannot express.
At Potatopia, the potato is more than just a humble side dish?it's the main event. The company's signature meals all center around mankind's favorite tuber in all its various incarnations, dressed up with a selection of all-natural gourmet toppings. There's the "curly sue", for example?a hearty helping of curly fries topped with pepperjack and parmesan, jalapenos, chipotle ketchup, and garlic aioli. Or, the "smashed hit", a smashed potato smothered in cheddar, asiago, cilantro, and roasted pepper. Customers can also build their own potato by choosing a base such as a baked potato, sweet potato, or au grantin potatoes, then picking toppings ranging from zucchini to steak. And, because potatoes are a universal crowd-pleaser, Potatopia also offers catering packages and will provide everything guests need to decorate their own potato-masterpiece, including potatoes, toppings, sauces, and tiny plastic mustaches.
Born of a love story between an American culinary student and a French butcher in Paris, Paradis-To-Go, located in the East Village, serves freshly made soups, sandwiches, salads, pastries and gelato made largely with locally-grown ingredients. Favorites include the chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake and quiche. The café’s coffee is exclusively fair trade, making it easy to feel good about that morning cup of joe. The somewhat small dining area adds yet another veneer of cuteness, with its sky-blue wall paneling, painted tables, red chairs and wood-framed mirrors. Some customers are thrown off by the genuinely friendly service, which can be hard to find in New York.
Students often give their favorite teacher apples. Melissa Chmelar, however, gave hers homemade syrups and jams. That’s because Melissa's mother frequently took the family on syrup-making excursions, teaching them how to tap trees and boil sap into homemade batches that could compliment country-style spreads. Today, Melissa carries on her mother’s DIY attitude and passion for handcrafted foods as an adult. She even sells her own syrups and jams through the online shop portion of her culinary operation, Spoon.
Melissa doesn’t just sell her food, though—she also caters it throughout the city. With an arsenal of homemade goodies, organic produce grown in upstate New York, and local meat and seafood, she crafts delicious smorgasbords for dinner gatherings, cocktail parties, and special events. Along with baking muffins and breads, she rustles up upscale dishes such as pan-seared salmon with parsley pesto, earning herself coverage in a slew of major publications, including the New York Times, People Magazine, and Metro New York.
Melissa uses the same farm-fresh ingredients at Tbsp, the storefront portion of Spoon. There, she serves visiting patrons everything from from-scratch soups to grass-fed beef burgers flavored with house seasonings. For dessert, Melissa bakes and serves house-made chocolate chip cookies in skillets, topping them off with scoops of vanilla ice cream.