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Rugelach and Elusive Babka at Cheskie’s

Posted by Emily / July 10, 2007


Have you ever walked out of a restaurant or food shop thinking ‘Dang! I wish I knew about that place before”? Of course you have. So you know exactly how I felt as I walked out of Cheskie’s Bakery on Bernard and Parc yesterday. It seems as if everyone and their mother already knew about Cheskie’s except for me. But in case you’ve never experienced the bakery first hand, the rugelach alone is worth the trip.

I first visited Cheskie’s on a Friday afternoon, and the place was hoppin’. A long line of customers, all clad in black wool and yamakas, looped around the entire perimiter of the store. Several soberly-dressed children were hanging out by the display window, hungrily gazing at the freshly-baked pastries.

I had planned on buying a Cheskie’s babka, which I’d heard were great, but they were all sold out and I couldn’t figure out what else to buy. I couldn’t let my indecisiveness hold up the line, so I hastily settled on the chocolate rugelach.

My first bite was like a religious experience. The outer crust was impossibly flaky and the inside was moist and chewy. The filling was perfectly bittersweet. It was hands down the best rugelach I ever had. Sorry Grandma, yours is a close 2nd.

My second trip to Cheskie’s was on a Sunday afternoon and the bakery was much less busy, giving me more time to make my selection. I was hoping for a babka, but just like the last time, they were long gone. The girl at the counter recommended a babka-like pastry called a kuchen, so I got a slice of that plus a few cookies for the road.

The kuchen was deliciously moist and not too sweet, and a bit richer than most babkas I’ve had. The cookies weren’t as out-of-this-world as the other items I’d tried, but they were yummy enough to be gone by the end of the day.

Thankfully, Cheskie’s prices aren’t exorbitant. A pound of cookies is about $7 and a pound of rugelach is about $6. I’ll find out how much the babka costs if I ever get there in time to buy it.

Unfortunately, Cheskie’s is closed on Saturdays for the Sabbath. So if you don’t live in Mile End, the treck to Cheskie’s makes a nice walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I’m so glad I finally got up off my tuchas and found some truly great rugelach. But Cheskie’s got me to thinking: where are the other great Jewish bakeries in the city? Is Cheskie’s really the best? I’m leaving this question open to all the lovely MP readers who are more knowledgable than I am on the subject of Jewish bakeries.


Cheskie’s Bakery; 359 Bernard West; (514)271-2253



Richard Owen / July 13, 2007 at 3:01 AM

I know cheskies doesn't use any dairy, so I'm pretty sure everything is full of crisco.

Fairfax / July 13, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Nothing wrong with that, Crisco makes things taste good! If you're eating pastry, it's not going to be particularly good for you no matter what ingredients are used.

sarah / July 15, 2007 at 3:17 PM

I worked at Cheskie's briefly, and the babka IS perhaps the greatest thing that will ever happen to you. A rich, gooey square of chocolate Russian babka goes for between a buck and a buck-fifty.

Christopher DeWolf / July 16, 2007 at 3:32 AM

Cheskie's is my "corner" bakery --- I live maybe 30 seconds away --- so I'm in there every other day. The rugelach are divine and, when the season is right, the hamantaschen are also fantastic. They even make doughnuts every so often and they're just as delicious.

As far as I know, Cheskie's is one of the only bakeries in Canada that makes New York-style black and white cookies, probably because Cheskie himself is from NYC.

I'm never gone hunting for other Jewish bakeries (why bother when I basically live at Cheskie's?) but I hear the one on Van Horne near Victoria is good.

David / August 28, 2009 at 10:33 PM

There is no such thing as "yamakas". You probably meant "yarmulkas"

jon In replying to a comment from Richard Owen / October 27, 2010 at 2:53 AM

no true a lot of dairy!

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