Hot Bread Kitchen
Like everybody else involved in New York's food culture, I support and applaud the efforts of Hot Bread Kitchen, a nonprofit and bakery which employs immigrant women to make the breads they're familiar with. That said, I'd never truly fallen in love with any of their breads or foodstuffs until I had one of their bialys.
The aroma of good bread wafts from beneath the rumbling commuter trains over Park Avenue in East Harlem. The smell comes from behind the moribund stalls of East Harlem's La Marqueta, where a half dozen bakers hustle loaves in and out of stainless steel ovens. This is the nerve center of Hot Bread Kitchen, the immigrant women's baking collective that produces some of the city's most eclectic and exciting loaves. Serious Eats has already lauded its puffy, scrumptious bialys; now let's look at the rest of its offerings.
In addition to having the best bialys in New York, Hot Bread Kitchen also sells conchas (Mexican sweet bread) for $2 each.
When it comes to eating with family, you want a place that's reliable, reasonably affordable, and low on hassle. There's plenty to worry about before a big holiday. Where to eat dinner on the nights before or after shouldn't be one of them. To that end, here are some solid restaurant options good for eating out with the folks.
The end of the year is a time of excess in the bread world. Bakers who spent 11 months tending their levains and sourcing locally-grown, organic rye flour suddenly pull out the white flour, sugar, booze, butter, and more sugar. But the city's bakers are an inventive bunch, so this year's crop of holiday breads offers incredible variety, both sweet and savory.
The loaf bread, great as it is, does not fit all purposes. Sometimes you want something custom-made for wrapping, dipping, or chewing. Flat breads are the answer, and not just pocket-filled pita. So here I present my favorite flat breads, many from the city's ethnic bakeries, whose whose customers understand the value and flavor of the 2-D loaf.
Good bread lies at the heart of New York City's culinary life. Sure, others cities also have their loaves (San Francisco sourdough and Dutch crunch, Boston and its brown bread) but New York's bread culture runs as deep and diverse as the history of our city.