Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!)

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billyboy
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2009/06/20 17:50:42 (permalink)

Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!)


May 7th, 2009- I made my way to the Lower East Side of New York City to check out the intersection of Chinese and Jewish cultures at the Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival on Eldridge Street. Here's a shot of the crowd at the entrance to the festival.
The schedule of the day's events.
I passed this fish ball shop I just found the sign interesting. I've seen fish balls on menus in Chinese restaurants, but I have no idea what they are.
The first tent I came upon had a couple of tables playing Mah Jongg and these were some of the old school players.
And a table for making yarmulkas.
The egg roll table.
And a close-up of my egg roll. It did cost $3, which is more than I would pay for one in a restaurant, but that was a big part of the reason I went. It was Kosher and pretty tasty, if a bit on the greasy side. No shrimp or pork in this, just vegetables. I think there was some cabbage, carrots and scallions.
The inside of the egg roll. This was the best of about 15 shots I tried to take. Sorry!
Close-up of my egg cream. This was pretty tasty and struck a nice balance, which for me, is a huge part of a good egg cream. Only three ingredients: milk, seltzer water and chocolate syrup. I could feel the fizzy of the seltzer, the sweet chocolatey-ness of the Fox's U-Bet sryup and the creaminess of the milk. They didn't get the foamy white head on it, but in all fairness they were mixing them on a folding table under a tent on the street and not behind a soda fountain counter, so I had my bar set a bit lower anyway.  Some of the mixers were using Nestle's or Hershey's syrup if they ran low on Fox's. But for a buck, it was totally worth it. I didn't take any pics of the table as it had gotten quite messy.

Some of the younger Mah Jongg players. they were giving demonstrations and lessons, but the line was somewhat long, so I just watched. Seems like a complicated game.
And a wide shot of the two tables.
The Peking Opera performing in the street. This is one of my favorite shots.


I love street theater. There were no words spoken and I think it is very powerful when people communicate a story visually and through movement.
Outside of the synagogue.
A history of the synagogue.
Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy
Inside the synagogue
The chandalier
From up on the balcony
I'll let the next three signs tell their stories...


These numbered seats were reserved for those who paid for them and they really reminded me of the seats in the Old North Church when cecif took a group of Roadfooders there for a tour in Boston last year.
The cantor's stand.
And a close-up.
I really love this stained glass window.
A close-up of the chandelier.
Scribal art where you could get your name written in Yiddish.
Some of the old signs that were placed outside of the synagogue.
And their descriptions.
These next five pics are pretty self explanatory. I'm not a huge fan of any organized religion, but giving back to the community is a concept I am totally behind, no matter what your religion.




Time to make the challah!
I walked into a challah making class and the gentleman in this photo showed me how to knead the dough properly (especially after I tossed it between my hands, a no-no in challah making!).
My braids didn't come out as well as I would have liked, but it WAS my first time!
I was able to take this home and bake it and here is the finished product.
I sliced up the loaf and slathered some of Peanut Butter & Co.'s Mighty Maple peanut butter on top and had a most yummy snack!
As I left the festival and walked home, I noticed this statue of Confucius on the outskirts of Chinatown.
Some good words to live by. Hope you enjoyed the trip!



"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!"-billyboy, 2009
post edited by billyboy - 2009/06/20 17:52:49
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    ann peeples
    Sirloin
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/20 18:02:00 (permalink)
    What an excellent sounding street festival. Just love challah bread!!Your snack looks awesome.
    #2
    susanll
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/20 18:41:38 (permalink)
    Oh, I so miss NYC.  So much to do and see.  Our plan is to visit June of 2012.  Perhaps a meet?

    For those in the Memphis area,  to die for challah is baked every Thursday morning at Ricky's Cookies in the East Gate Mall.
    #3
    kland01s
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/21 10:28:44 (permalink)
    Great report! That looks like a really interesting festival! I'm a long time mah jong player so it would be fun to see the "elders" play.
    #4
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/21 10:55:28 (permalink)
    Sounds like a fun day, billyboy.  Was that the same weekend that I was in NYC???
    #5
    TnTinCT
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/21 11:55:48 (permalink)
    Another excellent report.  I remember reading "The Chosen" in high school, and I got serious big points for making challah bread and bringing it to the class as part of my report.  I'm not sure how traditional it was, but food always has a connection with people. Thanks for sharing, once again!!
    #6
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/22 10:02:51 (permalink)
    Lovely report--I always get some knowledge along with my food-lust from your reports, billy.  Thanks!
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    mar52
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/22 12:41:50 (permalink)
    What an interesting festival and great report.  (As always)

    Making your own Challah... What fun!

    So... ya gonna do it again?  


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    thefluffyturtle
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/06/26 14:11:18 (permalink)
    Thank you for this.  I love Jewish history.  While I'm not Jewish, I'm a long time admirer of their plight. 
    #9
    arianej
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/07/09 14:48:46 (permalink)
    What a fantastic looking festival-- I'm envious.  :)

    Fish balls are sort of like meat balls, only with fish.  The fish is ground up very finely so that the texture is smooth.  My mother usually served them in a soup or hot pot dish, with noodles.  They're um... better than they sound. 
    #10
    Baah Ben
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/07/09 16:15:34 (permalink)
    Billy - In honor of your effort......Egg Rolls are one of the few things that can easily be adapted for Chinese and still taste like Chinese.

    The two key ingredients are celery and cabbage.  If you get a nice small head of green cabbage (do not go for the heavy white cabbages!) and a nice deep green head of celery you will have half the battle won.

    You slice up the cabbage very thin like you would do for shredded slaw and then dice up the celery..Keep them separate.  Cut up the celery in small diced pieces - First take a veggie peeler to the stalks of celery and get the strings off.  

    After you've done that, what you have to do is saute the cabbage separately from the celery.  Use a little peanut oil and add sesame oil to taste (it's strong) and saute the mixture.  Also add shredded carrots, salt, pepper,  soy and I'd put a tiny bit of Chinese 5 spice and hoisin to really give it some flavor.  Don't over cook the mixture.  Drain it well and retaste it..  Reseason if necessary, but keep the mixture "dry" When cooking the cabbage mixture, you want to still maintain some light crunch.

    You then sautee the celery separately.  Just some oil so you can sautee it and some place pepper..No salt.  Cook it just until some of the juices start to bleed out of the celery..Not too soft.  Then what you do is if you have a ricer..You take the celery and literally squeeze all the juice out of it.  Get it all out and don't worry what it looks like.  If you don't have ricer ($$) then take a clean rag and put the mixture in it and wring it out.

    Mix in the celery to the rest of your mix and you can also add some cooked chicken you seasoned well with Chinese spices like Hoisin and I would also suggest some chopped peanuts.

    Look on any egg roll recipe and you will see how much of the mixture to fill the egg roll skins with (supermarket sells the skins) and how to fold them..Seal the wrappers with a bit of beaten egg and fry them as soon as possible.  Fry them (peanut oil) long enough to get a slight tan or golden look.  You are basically going to only refry them to heat them up later.

    If you do not fry them as soon as you make them, what is going to happen is the moisture will start to encroach on the raw egg roll skins ..Not good!  A Chinese restaurant owner taught me how to do these.  But, I use Chinese roast pork that I make ahead of time and dice cooked shrimp, too.

    Get yourself a jar of Duck sauce and "doctor it up" with fresh crushed garlic (not too much) a bit of diced jar pimentos (for color) and sweetened apple sauce 1 pt apple sauce to two parts duck sauce. 

    It will be a kosher egg roll that you can serve to anyone and they will enjoy it.
    I know this should be in the recipe Forum, but it's in honor of Billy's post. 
    #11
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/07/09 18:03:10 (permalink)
    billyboy -

    While late to this thread, great job!  You really captured the feel!
    #12
    ken8038
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/07/10 20:16:53 (permalink)
    You got me on this one, Billyboy! I never even heard of the Egg Roll and Egg Cream festival. But with the cross-pollination of cultures on the Lower East Side, it seems to be a natural. Great report as usual.

    Kind of reminds me of the time in the late 70's/early 80's when the Scandinavians were leaving the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn and the Asians were taking thier place. One of the last Norwegian restuarants tried to bridge the cultural gap and for time had both Norwegian and Chinese dishes on the menu. Instead of Egg Rolls and Egg Creams it was Egg Rolls and Lutefisk.
    #13
    quijote
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    Re:Gettin' my Challah on at the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival in NYC (with pics!) 2009/07/11 21:34:08 (permalink)
    This is fantastic, another reason to love NYC. I've never had an egg cream, much less in the same meal with an egg roll!
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