So I'm touring the LES with my wife and friends when someone says, "Let's get some waters so we don't die today." We look across the street, and as if out a vision, the Holyland Market appears. Fortune had smiled upon us, as only on my birthday would I enter my first Jewish bodega.
As luck would have it, the entire bodega was out of water! But never fear, as they had something even better. Giant challahs.
I'm used to secret bodega gems like Zaragoza, where you can unexpectedly find tacos. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect a bodega of my people.
As we walked around the LES sharing bread, dipped in the bowl of chocolate that my sister-in-law randomly had, I felt like a big birthday mensch.
Standouts include the hummus (best and creamiest on earth), the borekas (homemade flakiness), the babka (chocolate or cinnamon, both dense circles of breakfast joy), the packaged snacks (junk food, but unique junk food), the candy near the register, and that Nutella-esque chocolate spread. They also carry pita from Pita Express, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Also, Hebrew-language women's magazines, which will explain how to lose all the weight you've gained by shopping here.
Best. Pita. Ever. The super fluffy thick kind. And all the Elite chocolate you could possibly want! I ended up getting chocolates, zaatar, pita and other things that I have to request from my parents when they go to Israel. Now I can just hop on the F, go to St. Marks Place and by all that stuff that I crave. Will definitely make the trek back!
The nice guy in the doorway trying to hand off something to a guy on the street and apologized for the delay, then explained the $6* challah was from a BK bakery 'delivered fresh'. Enjoyed it but won't be back here to procure another, but might for the "the well-dressed falafel or shawarma requires, including first-rate tahini, za'atar, and amba. Plus peanut-butter-flavored Bamba, the Cheez Doodle of the actual Holy Land."