Fridays are rush hour for the Queens bakery and restaurant—customers have been dropping in all morning to buy lepyoshka loaves for Shabbat—and one baker is just loading the earthen tandoor with samsa. The meat pies, filled with beef and lamb, onion, garlic, and spices, get slapped on the tandoor’s walls. As the pastries cling for dear life, their lightly yeasted, hand-laminated dough puffs and crackles, while fat drips down, seasoning the oven and crusts to a burnished brown. It’s a balance: If the flame in the center is too ferocious, the samsa will burn before they cook through. If it’s too demure, they’ll lose their grip and fall into the fire.
Photo, above: Plov Photo by Janelle Bendycki
hat tip to Janelle Bitker’s Twitter