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Harlem Rugelach

rose water Nov 27, 2006 09:38 PM

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. rose water RE: rose water Dec 7, 2006 04:47 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: rose water
      rose water RE: rose water Jul 9, 2007 08:06 AM

      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. w
      WineTravel RE: rose water Dec 7, 2006 04:50 PM

      Harlem Rugelach... you gotta love it!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: WineTravel
        Spoony Bard RE: WineTravel Dec 18, 2006 09:44 PM

        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
          rose water RE: Spoony Bard Dec 19, 2006 08:01 PM

          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. p
        Picnic RE: rose water Dec 22, 2006 09:46 PM

        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. rose water RE: rose water Jan 12, 2007 09:36 PM

          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
            Uptownflavor RE: rose water Jul 9, 2007 11:14 AM

            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. a
            AndrewOG RE: rose water May 31, 2010 06:44 AM

            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
              uwsister RE: AndrewOG May 31, 2010 11:47 AM

              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
                rose water RE: AndrewOG Jun 23, 2010 06:36 PM

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

                1. re: rose water
                  DaveCook RE: rose water Jun 23, 2010 07:54 PM

                  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
                    uwsister RE: rose water Jun 25, 2010 02:08 PM

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

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