Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

November 3, 2010
Irene Saiger


Egg Cream

I have been away for ten days visiting family and friends on the East Coast.  As always, my trips to New York City bring back memories that surface with the simple turn of a street corner.  This particular trip had a purpose, to hear my older son present his senior sermon to his peers and professors.  As I sat there listening, surrounded by my husband, children and family, my future daughter-in-law and my future machatunim, as well as our oldest friends, it felt as if our past, present, and future had all come together for this special moment and I could not have been prouder.  We celebrated the occasion over food and wine, enjoying each other’s company, sharing stories, laughing and crying.

Of course the entire week was filled with food: thin pizza with the crispest of crusts, frankfurters, smothered in warm sauerkraut,  with a skin that burst with your first bite, bagels with a perfect balance of exterior and interior, silky thin slivers of smoked fish, tender artichoke leaves sautéed in olive oil, warm soft knishes that look like billowing pillows, fresh cannoli, black and white cookies and delicious sticky nougat bought from a street vendor in Little Italy.  We dined at Maialino, Darna, Va Bene, Eataly, Fine and Shapiro, Barney Greengrass, Lombardi’s Pizza and Clinton Street Bakery, just to name a few.

I spent one morning walking through the Lower East Side with my youngest son, pointing out some of the places that I remembered going to with my mother.  After taking a wonderful tour of The Tenement Museum we strolled down Houston Street stopping at Yonah Schimmel for a potato knish, and then went on to Russ and Daughters to pick up lunch. We were walking out of the store when I suddenly decided that I had to have an egg cream, my favorite childhood drink.  As I stood there reaching for the soda, I remembered how thrilled I was as a young girl from The Bronx when I had an egg cream, and honestly after a memorable morning on the Lower East Side, it was still just as thrilling.

Mario Battali's Eataly

Inside the Streit's Matzoh Factory

Egg Cream

1/2 cup cold milk

1 cup plain seltzer

3  Tbsp Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup

Pour syrup into a tall glass. Add milk and seltzer to top of glass and stir vigorously with a long spoon. Drink up immediately and enjoy!


22 thoughts on “Egg Cream

  1. Haven’t had an egg cream in so long… the mere mention brings back some great memories… thanks for the recipe!

  2. I grew up on egg creams, drinking them year-round, but somehow in my family they became a passover treat! A few years back I made a (very out-of-focus bc of new camera) a youtube video for one of my classes on how to make an egg cream. The direct link is on my blog somewhere …

    • Hi Dena,

      Now that you mention it I always bought that for my kids as a Passover treat too. I think that was the only time we had U-Bet in the house but not sure why that is. Thank you for reminding me of that. Have to ask my kids.


  3. Sooooooooooooooooooo nice!
    Mazel Tov David!
    xo, barbie

  4. very much enjoyed your blog on Egg Cream. One of my all time favorite drinks.But what boggles my mind is how you can go to the lower east side and not eat in Katzs Deli. Their pastrami sandwiches are to die for along with other deli specialties. I would fly to NYC once a week just for that pastrami sandwich if I could afford to do that. I am an ex-new yorker now living in California.
    Was born on the lower east side but lived in Brooklyn until I got married in 1974. An egg cream every Friday night at the corner
    candy store was our treat for the week.

    • Hi Sandy,
      I don’t think Katz’s is kosher so we never went there as kids. We did often eat at Ratner’s but that isn’t there anymore. I did eat at Fine and Shapiro and really enjoyed that. It was a rare treat for us as well but I think at some point my Mom started buying U-Bet and making it at home. Thanks so much for writing! You might enjoy 97 Orchard, a really good book on what life was like on the Lower East Side.


  5. Hi, Irene.

    Your post summed up the wonderful time we had in New York. When Jeffrey and I went to the Lower East Side, we stopped at every place you and Micha did and even found The Pickle Guy. The pickles were just delicious as was the warm matzoh just out of the oven. We walked over to Kozzar’s,the bialy bakery, but I have to say that both Norman and H&H make better bialys. There is also a woman that leads a tour for about three hours of all the Kosher restaurants that are still around and places like Russ and Daughters and the Pickle Guy and Streits. They meet at Russ and Daughters. Thanks for suggesting that we go to the Tenement Museum. We had a great time and the food was heavenly.

    Love, Anita

  6. YUMMY!! You know you can get egg creams here at Factors and at Juniors Delis. I LOVE them. Your photos were great and since I just finished your book, ’97 Orchard Street’ and picked up a map of NYC, I could picture where you were and understood more of the history of the lower east side. When I was in NY the last two times I was in mid-town and got as far south as SOHO but not over to the lower east side. Too bad for me! I saw the tenement museum on the map and next time I am in NYC that is one place I will go.
    Mazel tov on David’s senior sermon (was he nervous and do you have a copy?), and I’m so glad that you were able to enjoy your trip on all those levels. And to go in the Autumn! What a treat.
    See you soon, we have some baking to do together!


    • Hi Lori,
      No, I didn’t know that but the best kept secret in L.A. is that you can get it at the Barney Greengrass inside Barney’s for 1.00. They are really good, and you can walk over! Thanks so much, I am happy to send you a copy!

      Yes, waiting for the plans…. baking and more.

  7. I don’t know United Bakery – but do know that Health Bread Bakery(home of the fabulous blueberry buns) is now Open Window – they have the best bagels “twisters are my favorite” When my niece was here last week from Toronto she brought back Noah’s bagels for my brother – I could not believe that he likes them better than what he can get in Toronto- go figure

  8. Love this Irene! I grew up drinking egg creams. I know my mother is going to love this post – a real stroll down memory lane for her especially, but me too. Mario Batali’s Eataly – oh it all looks so fun. Great memories and great food. Another wonderful post.

  9. Irene-
    I just read your lovely post on egg creams. We too were in NYC recently and strolled the lower east side as well since my oldest son (a dear friend of Elizabeth) is living at the corner of East Broadway and Clinton. We did our walking at night and it was nothing like my childhood memories. The area is full of clubs and young people pouring out of them. It was strange to be on Rivington and Ludlow and other streets I remember from my childhood that now have a very different face. It was a lovely mix of old and new. I loved your restaurtant tour. We ate at Dakshin which the family seemed to enjoy but I must keep in mind some of your choices. Mazel Tov on David’s senior serman.

    • Hi Elayne,

      Such a small world. Next time you should really go on a tour of the museum, it was truly wonderful. I can imagine that it is very different at night but we still found a few spots that felt the same. I did not find the pickle man, Gus, but I still felt that the area had an old world feel to it and I love that.
      Thank you for the mazel tov, I appreciate it. I look forward to meeting you some time soon. Never heard of Dakshin but I am going to go look it up.


  10. As always a wonderful blog – Mazel tov Nice to hear such wonderful NYC stories about your family. Didn’t you also go to Toronto ?

  11. By extension………….we could not have been prouder of our future son-in-law and felt honored to share this very special moment with our new family and friends to be!

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