I feel the need to confess. I'm a very bad 'hound. I've lived in Harlem for almost two years, and never once stopped in to Lee Lee's, despite passing near it pretty much every day of my life, and despite an early endorsement by a neighbor.
Confession #2. I've never had rugelach before in my life. But perhaps I have, and it's just never been memorable. So take this for what it's worth.
Today I stopped in to Lee Lee's, and was so glad I did. (And all you Florence's enthusiasts, and just-about-to-try-La Marmite-ers should stop here too). The place is scruffy, with "pardon the renovations" signs up (so I'll pardon the scruffiness). The man who runs the show is slow moving, eager to chat, and lovely. The rugelach is weighty, the dough buttery and crisp, the insides sweet, but not too sweet. Topped with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.
I asked for two, and paid a dollar, but just discovered three in the bag. So either they're 50 cents a piece and I got a free one, or they're 33 cents.
Oh, and the sign on the door advertises grits, eggs and biscuits for $3. I will certainly be back.
Lee Lee's Baked Goods
283 West 118th Street (just East of Frederick Douglass/8th Ave)
No, really. You've GOT TO.
After rose_water's endorsement I finally stopped by Lee Lee's yesterday. Rugelach do not get any better than this. I repeat, these are the real-deal, and not just that, they're ideal. The lovely woman behind the counter with the soft Caribbean accent said they were "apricot." As it turns out, they're raisin-walnut-cream cheese-apricot. Makes me smile just thinking about them. Truly spectacular.
Anyway, I know what you mean about being a bad Harlem 'hound. I know I haven't really explored since I first moved in. Imagine what other treasures are waiting for us!
Thanks, rose water.
Okay, Harlem and UWS hounds, if you haven't been to Lee Lee's, step away from your computer and head over there right now. I just stopped in, and the smell of sweetness and butter was incredible. The lovely guy who works there said the smell's from a batch of rugelach coming out of the oven in 15 minutes.
I didn't bother to wait, and got a chocolate rugelach instead. Soft, buttery, delicious, and with the boozy aroma of lots of vanilla. So so so good. Really. Step away from the computer. Go. Now.
re: rose water
Glad Mr. Lee is holding on. Must have had a rent increase for him to up the price. Glad he also finally realized he needed a helping hand. Hope the lady stays around because he can't do it all on his own. A friend of mine interviewed Mr. Lee and took some pics. Someone had the pics linked up here in an older thread.