Shopsin's is located in the Essex Market in the Lower East Side, and it is one of my top 5 favorite breakfast / brunch places in the city. When you enter, you wait along the metal shelf / mirror on the side opposite of Saxelby's Cheese Shop (a super cute shop specializing in local cheeses). There is no list, no nothing. Just good ol' fashioned single file action.
Cheese to the left. Line to the right.
Shopsin's is tiny tiny and seats about 15 people at a time.
The wait turned out to be 25 minutes. Enough for me to finish my strawberry lemonade and digest a bit of my morning's doughnuts. I snagged a single seat at the bar, studied the fantastically extensive menu (just look at it and fall instantly in love) and discovered that ol' Shopsin had added some new pancake options to the list. Diana and I had discovered the geniusness of his mac 'n cheese pancakes on a previous visit, and we now know how to make them ourselves courtesy of his cookbook.
Mac 'n cheese pancakes; picture courtesy of Diana
But since we have those badboys already perfected, it was time for me to branch out:
Introducing red velvet poppy seed pancakes ! Brilliant red, aren't they? They also come with the option of being filled with fudge. While they actually do not taste anything like red velvet, they are still very good, buttery pancakes.
I also ordered my favorite, albeit boring, breakfast plate, the "Breakfast Special," which comes with scrambled eggs, toast and your option of sausage, bacon, hash browns, grits or pancakes. Diana knows which one I would pick:
Breakfast special: sausage links + wheat toast + scrambled eggs
I heart their sausage links.
I also heart their scrambled eggs.
And I do heart their wheat toast. I know! I'm a maniac! The toast is nice and thick, encrusted with sesame seeds and bits of grains. It's slightly buttered and very crisp. I need to ask them where they get their bread. It is so good by itself.
What is great about Shopsin's, besides being family-run, is the sheer novelty of the menu, the quality of the food and the unique ambience from Shopsin cursing at his kids and his kids cursing at him while preparing your meal--all factors leading to just a fine ol' time for all. You can also get chocolate covered bacon from Roni-Sue's ("Pig Candy") in the same building. You can't really beat that kind of convenience.
One tip though if you're planning on dining here: 1) cash only, 2) they typically stop taking new customers at 1:45p-2p in order to officially close at 3p. I've been there several times when they turn away hungry stragglers, and it ain't a pretty sight.
After gaining five pounds at Shopsin's, I waddled over to the Hester Street Fair, located conveniently at Essex + Hester, and runs on both Saturday and Sundays from 10a-5p.
Of all the street fairs I've attended in NYC, Hester is probably the smallest, specializing in handmade jewelry, vintage clothing and a handful of food shops.
I really came for to the street fair for one reason: to check out the First Prize Pies table that is one and the same with Roni-Sue's (the girl behind First Prize Pies is Roni's daughter!). You can get pies and "bacorn" (popcorn with bacon) all at the same time.
Mmm. Pies. I bought the S'mores Pie (in the back) even though that chocolatey pretzel pie was calling my name.
After I snagged that purchase to go, I perused the other eateries and saw more tantalizing goods:
Truffle cheddar pretzels?!
I really wanted to stick my face in there and take a bite of that cheddary crust.
They also had giant chocolate chip cookies that appeared to also have chunks of pretzels! Definitely noted, to be eaten at a later date.
La Newyorkina, specializing in Mexican popsicles.
Avocado mini popsicle for $1. Was more ice than avocado flavor, but refreshing all the same.
Later, I finally mustered up the appetite again for sweets (after first having to finish chowing down on that crazy cinnamon bun), so I got my S'mores pie out to eat:
Such a cute plastic container made for the tiniest s'mores pie. It's about the size of an egg tart from dim sum.
Toasted homemade marshmallow fluff tops the chocolate ganache filling and thick but soft graham cracker crust.
Perfection. The marshmallow had the right amount of chew, the ganache was smooth and not too sweet, and I lurved the crust.
And judge me if you want, but I am totally getting s'more tomorrow night with Greeshma when we eat at Fatty Cue for dessert (Fatty Cue is run by her brother! What a great family!).
120 Essex Street
New York, NY
Essex & Hester
New York, NY