Russ & Daughters Immortalized on PBSThe Jews of New York, PBS’s new documentary, could have any number of heroes; we were pleased to see that the family behind downtown lox legend Russ & Daughters was chosen to represent the New York–immigrant experience. As we recently noted here, their Houston Street store is one of the only things keeping the old Lower East Side’s Jewish life from disappearing into history. As scion Josh Russ Tupper tells us, “We’re perpetuating and cultivating the culture of Jewish experience. And whether we’re religious and go to temple is independent of the fact that we’re providing an experience of the Jewish–immigrant era of New York. It’s really important to maintain what it was like and what it is like.” Not to mention, they have some very nice herring there.
Russes among stars of ‘The Jews of New York’ [Alfred University]
Back of the House
Green Bay Is Getting Off Easy in This Year’s Food Bet
The unavoidable wager between the mayors of Green Bay and New York has been made, and AP has dutifully reported it. But as usual, New York is getting the worse of the deal. Green Bay mayor, Jim Schmitt, is betting a basket of cheese, some spread, and some New York strip steaks (New York strips! Imagine!), with some candy — a pair of cheese-wedge sunglasses. That’s if we win. If they win, the self-appointed “Titletown” gets twenty pounds of Peter Luger porterhouses, a case of Brooklyn Lager, and a cheesecake (take that, cheese heads!) from Carnegie Deli. Green Bay is getting the much better deal here. We suggest Bloomberg match Schmitt’s bet with a gristly steak from Tad’s and a black-and-white cookie from a random deli.
Bloomberg places bet on Giants-Packers game [Newsday]
Under the Bridge in Williamsburg, We Could Not Get Enough Pies-N-ThighsLining up for one last look.Photo: Melissa HomOur photographer Melissa Hom, whose love of fried chicken has been well documented (by herself), hit the scene at Pies-N-Thighs last night and somehow managed to snap some photos through teary eyes. She had this to report: “There was a huge line out the door and around the corner. The two e-mail sign-up sheets weren’t enough for fans eager to hear where they move next, so the crowd started tacking up their own sheets and taping business cards to the wall. Lots of free food, well-wishing in the form of big tips, and wistful smiles.” Sigh.
Omido Chef and Maybe AvroKo to Join Chris Eddy in Nolita ProjectYesterday, we brought news that Chris Eddy, owner of barmarché, has plans for the Forty Deuce space; today, Eddy tells us that he’ll be joined in the venture by Omido chef-owner and founding SushiSamba chef Eliji “Taka” Takase. “We’ve been trying to do a restaurant for ten years now,” Eddy says. Can we assume that AvroKo, designers of Omido and owners of nearby Public, will be on board? Nothing is final yet, but it’s a very good assumption. Eddy plans to open in summer and says that, although certain neighbors are concerned about rising property values, he’s working with them and has been assured by the community board that, if he agrees to certain concessions, he’ll have a liquor license by February. Wherever Ivan Kane is these days, he must be sick with envy.
Related: Chris Eddy of Barmarché and industry (food) Goes After Forty Deuce Space
Falafel Mecca Offers City Gluttons a Challenge Not Easily Refused
We love Forest Hills, and we love falafel, at least in the form in which it appears at On the Grill, our number one go-to shawarma-and-falafel place in the five boroughs. But are we, or you, man or woman enough to beat On the Grill’s falafel challenge? Gothamist’s Joe DiStefano reports that the restaurant has instituted the Great Falafel Eating Contest, which stipulates that anyone who eats five falafel sandwiches in 29 minutes gets them free, plus a $50 gift certificate – presumably, to be spent on more falafel sandwiches. If you’re thinking, “Pshaw! There’s no meat in falafel! I can eat all I want!,” be warned: Tzur Kalaf, On the Grill’s colorful owner, bakes huge, puffy pitas in-house, every one of which could paralyze an average person. And his sandwiches aren’t small. Which is maybe one more reason why you should go to On the Grill and make the effort.
On the Grill, 98-102 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills; 718-897-4829.
Competitive Eating Comes to Forest Hills, Well Sorta [Gothamist]