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Politicking on the L.E.S. – Schmears, Raisins, Matzo Balls and More!

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Russ & Daughters Cafe, 127 Orchard St.
Russ & Daughters Cafe, 127 Orchard St.

Russ & Daughters Cafe made cameos in the political scene recently as two local candidates running in today’s primary (have you voted yet?) made dubious food orders that drew ire from New Yorkers across party lines.

Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon was caught (by Gothamist) ordering a cinnamon-raisin bagel with lox and cream cheese at Zabar’s over the weekend and hysteria ensued. The sweet bagel with salty lox version of a New York schmear is certainly not considered traditional.

Meanwhile, Zephyr Teachout, who is running for New York State attorney general, met with a reporter from GQ on a recent hundred-degree day and insisted on eating matzo ball soup. Joshua David Stein, who wrote the article, reports:

Thankfully, if there is matzo ball soup to be had, the Lower East Side is the place to have it. Russ & Daughters Café, an offshoot of the century-old “appetizing” on Houston, is a few blocks away and, though eight months pregnant, Teachout gamely schleps to Orchard Street.

Nixon’s controversial order quickly became known around town as “bagel-gate.”

As a story in Eater noted: “The NY Post declared it “the strangest bagel of all time,” while one Food & Wine staffer proclaimed it “basically criminal” and Twitter users decried it as “a crime against the bagel gods,” “gross,” and “just wrong.””

The Wall Street Journal asked Russ & Daughters co-ower, Niki Russ Federman to weigh in. She’s quoted as saying,

“I don’t think it merited, as we say in Yiddish, this meshugas…As New Yorkers we feel possessive of the foods we call our own and define us,” she said. But she said, “I can see how Cynthia would appreciated the sweet, salty and smoky notes coming together.”

Federman’s reply is now posted on the @russanddaughters instagram feed:

Niki Fuss Federman Wall Street Journal

Nixon pushed back as well, via her twitter feed, and even tried to raise a few bucks off the locals’ agitation.

Nixon bagel-gate

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