"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sigmund Pretzel Shop (Bryant Park) - November 6, 2010

The popularity of pretzels in New York is mystifying, considering that the most common form emerges from a metal pit blowing burned smoke and thus contaminating the sidewalks, salted enough to last 10 years and hard enough to substitute for Frisbees.  Who actually eats them, except the guileless tourists with impoverished wallets?  The alternative to this is the mass-produced and rolled Auntie Anne's:  Yes, I did eat them when mired in towns - especially the one containing more cacti then humans - where the only available and remotely enjoyable and edible food item were their Almond pretzels, closely followed by Sesame and Cinnamon.  There was a paradigm shift, however, due to a trip to Germany, affecting not only pretzels but also wursts, sauerkraut and many other food, which I had previously labeled as "peasantry."  All in all, being not overly keen on the European baking tradition east of France, I had been ignorant of the Sigmund Pretzel Shop until I stumbled upon it in Bryant Park.  Fate is like this:  If you do not go and find it on your own volition, it will come to you.

My feet were drawn to the stand by the selection of attractive flavors and a cookie named "Wanko," which should have been named more suitably as "Wacko," I, nonetheless, made the stoic decision of getting a simple "salted" to test the pretzel, despite screams from the direction of "truffle cheddar."  The pretzel, protected by a shiny brown armor, was chewy and soft and very satisfying in the mouth; as I chewed, the dough was mixed with the salt crystals and the pungent and fragrant yeast was released to send me to a wheat paradise.  Simplicity, simplicity and simplicity. 

Encouraged to invest in another pretzel, I settled on the "über," meaning "super" in German for a good reason, for it resembled a coil of climbing rope more than food.  The savory aroma emanating from the brown paper bag was so enticing that my companion and I ended up taking an alternate sniff of the paper bag on the subway downtown - like a pair of teenagers inhaling thinner.  However, the much anticipated über turned out to be a little dry and hard the next day on the breakfast table, albeit still exuding the yeasty aroma.  One day should not have turned my über into such a sad state, even factoring in the dry cold weather - pretzels are meant to last in equally cold Germany, not to mention these, coming from Lower East Side, should have been adopted to the New York weather.  While a pretzel hanging pole is unlikely to improve the condition, I may hang my über on my rolling pin the next time, if only for the looks.

Sigmund Pretzel Shop
Address:  29 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Phone:  (646) 410-0333

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