Yesterday I was lucky enough to be part of a great tour of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was a food tasting tour with Jolie Warbet of Lady of Grand Food Tours. Jolie is the actual Lady of Grand, and is the brains and beauty behind the concept.
Jolie was born on Grand St. in the LES and as a child moved to New Jersey, but as soon as she could, she returned to the street she loved. As time went by her friends gave her the nick name "The Lady of Grand" because she was always giving people history of the area, and taking them around to check out all the hidden gems of the neighborhood. Specifically she enjoyed showing people her favorite food spots, so when the opportunity presented itself to actually turn her passion into a career she took it. What was born of that was Lady of Grand Food Tours.
The tour meets at The Essex Street Market, and it's first few stops are there. We first got to try the Spinach Pie at Boubouki. A tiny kitchen turning out amazing home made Greek food. The owner is an inspiration to food lovers everywhere. She left an office job, and started to cook HER food for a living! BRAVO! Best Spinach Pie I have ever had, and a little bit of a great Tomato Bread too!
It's also a shop that sells beer, but also cheese, Knish, pickles, and mustard. Oh, also chocolate, and bread, and truffle oils, and cured meats. This place sells a little bit of everything, and even though it is a little bit out of the way, it's worth the trip. Look at this Knish with pastrami. Not something I would normally seek out, but WOW!
I have to say though... I am sure this is not their goal, but they have a salted caramel there that is CRAZY good!!! It was my fave thing I had there!
Our last stop was for something sweet. A little bit of France that landed right in the middle of the LES. It's Christian Vautier Le Concept. A little shop that is full of things that will do nothing but make you smile. I had a dark chocolate covered lemon and a Tequila Truffle. I wanted more, but was so full from all the other food from the last hour and a half.
Although all the food was great, and the neighborhood is always a welcoming place, the best part of this tour was the guide and the people. Jolie creates a vibe where you feel comfortable, and that leads to people talking to each other. I knew no one on this tour, but have come home with 3 more Facebook friends and a few more followers on twitter. That's what food is for; to bring people together, and Lady Of Grand Food Tours is a great example of that point.
If you are coming to NYC you would be smart to check it out. At 50 bucks per person, it more filling than a typical brunch (and cheaper!). Not only that, but you will have more fun!
Here are all the links you need;
Lady of Grand
The Essex Street Market
NI Japanese Delicacies
Malt & Mold
Christian Vautier Le Concept
Take the tour. Have some fun. Meet new friends. Have a full belly.
Nothing wrong with any of that!
XOXO - P