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Harlem Rugelach

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)

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  1. On return trip, I asked-- $0.50 for one, and $6.00 for 13.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rose water

      I just linked to this thread on another Harlem thread so I thought I should update. Prices are up a smidge. 60 cents for one, $7 for 13. Still great.

    2. Harlem Rugelach... you gotta love it!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: WineTravel

        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.

        1. re: Spoony Bard

          Apricot! I didn't pick it out, but you're absolutely right, it's in there. I'm really glad you liked the rugelach. It is fantastic stuff.

          I look forward to hearing about your Harlem 'hounding discoveries!

      2. I want to chime in on this one. I ordered two baker's dozen for a dinner party last week and they were simply divine. Long-established UWSers asked me where I had got them, claiming to never have had better. Praise all around.

        1. 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.

          1 Reply
          1. 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.

          2. Lee Lee's baked goods is supposedly closing today. I just thought I would pass the word here as I first heard about it on chowhound. The rugelach is awesome, in fact I'm eating some right now.


            4 Replies
            1. re: AndrewOG

              Oh man, that's so sad. It's a little far up North for me to have ever noticed this place, wish I'd heard about it earlier! Is he open today?

              1. re: AndrewOG

                They're open again! They opened back up this week. Do go!

                1. re: rose water

                  Lee Lee's is indeed open again, but the financial woes that shuttered the bakery for several weeks are not behind them, the counterwoman told me today. To amplify rose water's post: do go, and do buy some rugelach.


                  1. re: rose water

                    I will definitely be going soon! Thank you for the good news!