Returning to New York life after a week away is alway a challenge. Especially when it's January and the temptation to coop up inside with endless cups of tea, a never-ending stream of Netflix, and a torrent of emails often overwhelms. But last weekend it was time to break out of that negative rut, and get out into this amazing city we're lucky enough to temporarily call home. It was time to throw ourselves back into the fun, inspiring, thought-provoking places, moments, and people you can find in the Big Apple. So, with that in mind, at 12pm last Saturday we cycled over Manhattan Bridge in search of some blintzes at B&H Kosher Dairy.
I must have walked past B&H multiple times without even turning to look inside. But when you do make it past the bright green exterior, you walk straight into an old New York movie scene. This 400 square foot space is filled with one bar down one side, and a few tables down the other. You have to turn sideways to fit down the gap in between. The kitchen is a cubby hole at the back, next to the bathroom. You order from the tables by shouting over the heads of the people at the bar. If you do sit at the bar, be prepared to act as go-between by passing plates of challah and cups of coffee to the people sitting behind you.
B&H opened in 1938, and, despite a short closure in 2015 due to the 2nd Avenue gas explosion, has been serving Jewish comfort food ever since. However, the Jewish immigrants it once catered for are long gone, the kosher certification has expired, and it is now managed by a Polish Catholic and an Egyptian Muslim. The fact that this story is true, and that this deli is still open and serving up classic Yiddish fare, is just one reason why New York is such a magical city.
So we ordered a taste of everything. Coffee of course. Home fries (potatoes mixed with onions, veggies and other goodness and cooked on the griddle) with two fried eggs; super sweet, crispy on the outside cheese blintzes; a mix of fried pierogis, as recommended by everybody there; plus the freshly made, fluffy challah schmeared with soft butter, which is passed to you with a cup of iced water almost as soon as you walk in.
It's places like B&H Dairy which really bring New York to life. That make living in this city like living your life in a Woody Allen movie. That mean that despite all its many, hard, intense challenges, you discover these shiny gems, and suddenly your faith in this place and its people are restored.
B&H Dairy, 127 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003