Sigmund Pretzel Shop
29 Avenue B, East Village
So much nostalgia is tied up in the scent of the New York City pretzel. If you grew up in the suburbs, you can probably remember hopping out of a yellow school bus on a class trip to the Met, when the smoky aroma of street vendors peddling pretzels would grab you before your Pumas hit the pavement. The pretzel is a New York food icon, albeit one that tastes like lightly toasted cotton. So, it's about time somebody started selling pretzels that are actually enjoyable to eat.
At Sigmund Pretzel Shop in the East Village, the hand-rolled, organic pretzels are chewy, comforting, and warm. (If you don't get one fresh out of the oven, they'll grab one from the counter display and heat it up for you—but you can rest assured that your pretzel won't be hanging in a hot glass case, drying out all day.) Some are sprinkled with caraway, poppy, sesame, or sunflower seeds. They also come in sweet varieties, like cinnamon-raisin and caramel-pecan, or savory flavors, like gruyere-paprika and jalapeno-cheddar. It's like Auntie Anne's, minus the guilt and the mallrats. Sigmund pretzels are priced at $3-$3.50 and come with free dipping sauces—Nutella, herbed goat cheese, and beet-horseradish mayo, to name a few. We liked the honey-mustard, which had the sticky and gooey consistency of honey with a sharp Dijon bite.
Plus, the standard pretzel dough is rolled into bread for some seriously tasty sandwiches. Go for the thick-cut roast turkey with gouda, sweet sauteed apple slices, and a smear of wholegrain mustard ($7). They also serve hot coffee, juice boxes, and little cartons of milk to wash everything down, and on a recent cold and rainy day, a thermos of spicy mulled cranberry tea ($2 per cup) was the perfect accompaniment. Sigmund's white-washed Avenue B storefront has plenty of standing room for take-out orders, and a couple of communal picnic tables for eating in. It's open every day except Monday from noon to 8pm. If you're looking to make some new NYC pretzel memories, you'll want to get there early—they tend to sell out of flavored pretzels by the end of the day.