Sunday, by coincidence, turned into a minor Lower East Side food tour. The Quaker and his girlfriend asked if I wanted to join them on a trip to The Doughnut Plant after I woke up from a late Saturday night.
Sure, why not.
We took the 4 train to Brooklyn Bridge and planned on switching to the J, but after sweating underground for 30 minutes waiting for a train that never came, we decided to walk. We cut through Chinatown, making a stop at Banh Mi Saigon on Mott. I split a spicy #1 with The Quaker while cruising down Grand Street. Lately, I've been taking my banh mi business to Banh Mi So #1 on Broome, but Saigon was very good today-- especially because it was fresh (unlike lately, when it's served off the pre-made shelf).
We continued down Grand until we hit the Doughnut Plant, which was much less crowded than I expected, and after five minutes we each had a different donut. Since I'd never tried the famous tres leches, that was my obvious choice. I also wanted a churro to compare with all the subway churros I'd enjoyed, but they were out. Weak. The Quaker got a rasberry jam filled donut. I only had a bite of it, but it was pretty good. His girlfriend got a carrot cake donut, which I liked even better, but my favorite was the tres leches because I really dig anything with sweetened condensed milk (plus two more leches).
But the best part of the trip was the Super Heebster from Russ & Daughters, which is truly a dynamite sandwich. Horseradish cream cheese, salmon and whitefish salad and wasabi roe on a chewy bagel. Much has already been written about the Super Heebster and little more can be said, but it is truly one of the best bagel sandwiches I've ever had. The wasabi roe provides a great textural contrast to the chew of the bagel and gives some bite to the smokiness of the whitefish salad. It hardly needs the horseradish mayo, just more lubrication.
The Quaker's girlfriend keeps telling me she wishes she were Jewish, but she won't even try this sandwich, let alone gefilte fish. So in my opinion, as a faux Orthodox Rabbi: not a chance. Besides, I think she just wants an excuse to get away with telling Jew jokes.
Russ & Daughters
179 E. Houston St.