Eileen’s cheesecake – kosher as well

There is only real one home of New York Cheese cake and it’s Eileen’s Cheesecake. Eileen has been baking for over 40 years and is the Queen of cheesecakes. The shop from both inside and outside is nothing special. The location is not great Cleveland Place, while downtown has been more popular it still isn’t the easiest to get to, but that is what makes Eileen’s Cheesecake so special.

Despite location and lack of marketing – wow – the Cheesecake does all the talking. You will not get a crust better and filling is just mouth watering. What makes Eileen’s even more one step ahead of the rest is all their cheesecakes are Tablet-K Certified Kosher!

If you are coming to visit NYC, and even if only for 24 hours – if you don’t try their Classic Plain Cheesecake – you haven’t really been to NYC!

Sarahbeth’s – best breakfast in NYC

Breakfast is always an experience and event in NYC. There so many places to choose. But for my family, no matter how short the stay, we have to at least do breakfast once at Sarabeth’s during our trip.

In 1981 Sarabeth Levine sold her preserves and baked goods from tiny bakery-kitchen store. As her popularity grew, the store began to serve breakfast and lunch, and that gave birth to NYC “hot spot” to have breakfast.

Sarabeth’s has now five locations in the borough of Manhattan, but I would highly recommend Central Park South. It is a great way to start your morning, with a great breakfast and then walking it off by taking a stroll through the amazing Central Park.

Make sure you try any of their “extraordinary eggs and omelettes” and without fail you have to try their “fat and fluffy French toast;” the best French toast you will ever eat and their signature mouth watering Lemon and Ricotta pancakes.

Now you may feel I have told you to over order, and remember NYC portions are big; but remember they have doggy bags and a great way to have a break while walking through Central Park afterwards is to munch on the left over French toast!

You have not experienced NYC if you haven’t experienced Sarabeth’s.

Closing of Reubens – the London Jewish Deli

From a young age my late father would always take my family to Bloom’s in Whitechapel for Kosher Salt Beef Sandwiches and Latkas. When they moved to Golders Green we followed them. But after their sudden closure, it would have left many people who loved Kosher Jewish deli food at miss if it wasn’t for Reubens which filled that void.

Reubens Restaurant was established in 1973 and was the only kosher deli/restaurant in London’s West End. Attending frequently by the Chief Rabbi and celebrities, it become the place to eat great kosher deli food.

All their meat was Glatt Kosher supplied by the finest kosher butchers. Their world famous melt in the mouth salt beef was steamed in a special way with a special recipe to produce what was considered to be some of the finest salt beef in the world, almost as good as Katz Deli in New York.

But like Blooms before them, early this year Rueben’s suddenly announced its immediate closure after 46 years, “due to a family bereavement.”

In a post to its Facebook and Instagram accounts they announced “with a heavy heart” that it had “unexpectedly had to close”.

“We are proud that of the 46 years Reubens has served the community, our family have proudly run the business for over 37 years”, the message read.

It thanked people who had eaten there for their custom “and the good memories we have all shared.”

The lose of Reubens is not just a lost for the West End but for the whole of the UK. There is no other kosher deli in the UK that does the traditional salt beef sandwiches and latkas. If anyone can recommend any please tell me, but is saddens me this could be closure which could end an era of this much loved London cuisine.

Review: Sarge’s Kosher Diner

For a true New York deli experience you can’t go wrong with Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner. As you walk in you can’t help to notice the photographs of some of the leading celebrities which have tried their famed “#1 the best pastrami in New York.”  

Over the last 55 years they have served great homemade kosher food, generous American portions all in a relaxing deli atmosphere.  

I had no options but to try their in-house cured corned beef and pastrami sandwich with curly fries and coke. There is not doubt the service is fantastic and the sandwich was good. The slices of beef and pastrami was full of flavour. But I am afraid despite being a good sandwich, the title of the best pastrami in New York and in the world still goes to Katz Deli.  

Sarge is a worth a visit and will be an experience to remember. 

Review: Abigael’s by Jeff Nathan – Kosher

Half the enjoyment of watching any America sport is enjoying the great food. Now usually my only option is something like a plastic slice of pizza, that is unless you happen to be watching a game at Madison Square Gardens where you can enjoy a kosher hot dog, sweet Italian sausage and the famous brisket sandwich from Abigail’s kosher concession stand located on 6th floor.

The service is friendly and while both the pastrami and brisket sandwich was good for me the kosher hot dog just hit the right spot and prefect while watching the fast and exciting game.

Review: Katz Deli – Pastrami

If you do one thing in New York, it is not the Empire State Building, forget Grand Central and leave Central Park – one thing that has to be done on your bucket list is a pastrami on rye at Katz.

Established in 1888 this New York favourite has become world famous and there is no doubt, yes I said no doubt, that Katz does the best pastrami and corn beef on rye in the known universe. You can tell the difference of their 30 days cured meat which is not only juicy, thick but also full of flavour. As a person who hates mustard, it is must for these amazing sandwiches and they always goes down well with a coke.

The walls are donned by the world leading celebrities and politicians and make sure you don’t lose your ticket or you will face a $50 dollar fine!

Apart from the outstanding food one things that gives Katz it’s heart and soul is its’ commitment to our service men and women. During World War II, the three sons of the owners were all serving in the armed forces, and the family tradition of sending food to their sons became the company slogan “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army” which is proudly advertised on the back of their great t-shirts which can be bought at the check out.

It wouldn’t be a Katz review if you also don’t mention “that” scene from “When Harry Met Sally” – the eighties classic marked with a sign for all film fans to say to their waiter “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Katz is a must and I promise you will come back for more.

Review: Baked by Melissa

I was never a fan of cupcakes, that is until my neice introduced me to Georgetown Cupcakes during my US State Department visit to Washington. So when she told me to try Baked by Melissa in New York, I couldn’t refuse her. The shop wasn’t impressive at all and reminded me of a New York pop up store. The customer service was poor and not even an option to try a free sample despite my English accent. But putting that all to one side, I fell in love with the small, moist and fantastic tasting cupcakes – cookie dough being my favourite. Given the range of favours it is worth buying at least a dozen and do try to share them as a famous potato chip / crisp maker said – once you pop you can’t stop!  

If don’t like cupcakes, Baked by Melissa will change your mind and it will have you coming back for more. 

Review: Junior’s

When you think of New York Cheesecake you think of Junior’s but I have never taken a meal in one of the all time America family diners running since 1950. Before even you take you seat you know you going to enjoy a unique diner experience. Mychelle greeted us and took our order in a manner you expect from the best family feel diners. Ordering a veggie omelette and one of their iconic French toast with a cornflake crust, every bite was just amazing. Junior’s don’t let you down, great service, great food and a bustling atmosphere. Junior’s is more than just cheesecake.

Note to cheesecake fans:

Despite Junior’s beating Eileen’s Special in 2010 on Food Feuds for the best NYC cheesecake – I still think Eileen’s cheesecake is the best in the world – and they are kosher which is an extra bonus!

Review: Pick a Bagel

I have to admit I have never been a huge bagel fan, but Pick a Bagel may have changed my mind. Established since 1988 Pick a Bagel has developed a reputation for quick, fresh bagels on go in a city that never stops running even to breath. The service is fast and not always friendly but they get your order right and the turn around time is fast and that is key for order and go place. The pastrami bagel looked great as it wasn’t kosher I couldn’t try it. I went for a scrambled egg with America cheese on seeded bagel with fresh OJ – it not only the filled me up but kept me going till lunch. If you craving for a NYC bagel you can’t go wrong with Pick a Bagel!

The Daily Show – Trevor Noah

Today I enjoyed the experience of being in the audience at a live filming of the late-night current affairs comedy show – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

We got “unguaranteed” tickets which couldn’t be relied on to secure a place. We arrived two hours early and queued in the freezing cold. The local Subway at hand to buy a hot tea and the great banter with the fellow fans, made the long wait and freezing cold bearable.

Trevor was really nice and kind to us – despite clearly being so tired from the Oscars from the previous night. Despite the wait and cold – every second was worth it and I would highly recommend it – in the words of Noah “abelungu abazi uba ndiyaxoka.”

Ps on the way home grabbed a great dinner from our favourite kosher steakhouse Wolf & Lamb and the best dessert ever from Magnolia Bakery – Banana Pudding – a must for anyone – even if like me, you don’t like banana!