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Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #5

Schmear campaign.
Schmear campaign.
via Russ and Daughters
Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah - and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

If you're trailing East Houston on a Sunday, listen closely and you might hear it. The low hum of early morning voices will quickly build to assertive shouts. Tourists will notice the evident ritual that is beginning to take effect, and a few daring newcomers may join the growing masses. The scene is Manhattan's answer to casting prayers at the Wailing Wall; it is the weekend rush at Russ and Daughters.

If you're trailing East Houston on a Sunday, listen closely and you might hear it. The low hum of early morning voices will quickly build to assertive shouts. Tourists will notice the evident ritual that is beginning to take effect, and a few daring newcomers may join the growing masses. The scene is Manhattan's answer to casting prayers at the Wailing Wall; it is the weekend rush at Russ and Daughters.

There may be no greater Polish Jewish legacy than a chewy, dense bagel. Top that with a schmear, a few slicks of lox, and maybe a a sliced red onion or a few capers, and you've just composed what is likely the most recognizable Jewish-American meal in history. Now used as a generic phrase to describe most smoked salmon, traditional lox comes from the rich pink, meaty center of the fish and owes its intense flavor to a brine-cured belly. Most restaurants and designer food marts have not sold lox in ages, instead pushing its milder Nova-style cousin. Raised as a Jewish New Yorker, I've come to regard bagels and lox as an unbreakable marriage of equals. We could all learn from this relationship.

In Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, you can grab a bagel with lox and a schmear on nearly every corner. But the Lower East Side's Russ & Daughters, which started out as a "pickled herring push-cart" in 1905, will add a layer of old New York to your order.

Follow Fork in the Road on Twitter and Facebook and check out the rest of our food blog. Follow me on Twitter @malstuch.

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miles
Russ and Daughters

179 E. Houston St.
New York, NY 10002

212-475-4880

www.russanddaughters.com


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