Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.
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Daniel Rogov

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A question of age? A Simple Desire?

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:21 am

They (whomever they may be) say that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. After a bit of mental wandering and dreaming I have decided that this simply is not true. After all, there is not a decent potato knish in all of Israel!

A true potato knish must be at least 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) thick. It must be packed full of potato puree so dense that it does not slide down the gullet but rather falls, resounding and probably even making a great noise as it hits the stomach, it must be peppery, coated with a breading, and so full of flavor that it makes you absolutely gasp for joy. And there simply ain't no such thing in any part of Israel.

Looking back (with fondness), the three very best potato knishes I have ever tasted (alas, too many years ago) were at the now defunct Isaac Gellis Delicatessen Shop on Essex Street on the lower east side. Both before and after that of course at Yonah Schimmel's, still located at 137 East Houston Street between 1st and 2nd avenues, also on the lower east side, and believe it or not at a street side stand in Weisbaden (not far from the spa) where an older Jewish couple, their children and their grandchildren continue to make the knishes by hand, to serve them with dark brown mustard and, if one likes, a soft drink.

At this moment, if t'were just a bit more easily available, I would book first class to New York, take me a taxi from the airport to Yonah Schimmel's and feast on one of their knishes.

By the way, even though Yonah Schimmel's recommends buying to take away and to reheat at home, I am not in favor. The way to dine on a knish is to purchase it, to spread it with mustard (or, if you prefer, just additional salt), and to stand either in or immediately outside of the shop and to feast on the spot.

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Roogov
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: A question of age? A Simple Desire?

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:37 am

P.S.

Quite a few years ago, I organized a tasting of traditional Jewish street foods for chef Paul Bocuse who was then visiting New York. We went of course to Yonah Schimmel's for a knish, ordered and went out-of-doors to dine. He held it, weighed it, balanced it in his hand and finally took a generous bite. His comment: "Amazing - but is it to eat or to throw at an enemy?"

He did, by the way finish the knish ...half with dark brown deli mustard, half with nothing more than additional salt. From there we made our way to Isaac Gellis for hot pastrami sandwiches on rye bread.

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Rogov
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Charlie Dawg

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Re: A question of age? A Simple Desire?

by Charlie Dawg » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:23 am

Making a decent knish has been quite a chore lately. Last two years potatoes here in the states, well not sure about all the states, so let's say in MN only, have been terrible. I have not been able to make decent mash potato or decent potato mix for the knishes. I do not know why, or what the cause is, but it is what it is.
You are what you eat.

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