Tag Archives: food

Zabar’s

A gourmet/specialty foods market on the Upper West Side, with a fantastic selection of cheeses, smoked fish and prepared foods. Their made-in-house smoked salmon is excellent. I don’t know of another place in NYC that makes a better strudel – cheese and cherry is my favorite.
Fabulous place to shop for a picnic.

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Katz’s Delicatessen

One question that I hear over and over again from people planning to visit NY is “where should I go eat for a real NY experience?” The first answer that comes to mind is “Katz’s Deli“. If you live in NY and haven’t been yet, I’m not sure you’re a NY-er. There’s only one valid excuse from not going to Katz’s, and that would be that you’re a vegetarian – ’cause it ain’t much vegetable there other than french fries and pickles.

It opened in 1888 and I doubt it changed much. They still throw sawdust on the old floors when it’s wet outside. They still have fluorescent lights, an old water fountain at the back of the main room, the “send a salami to your boy in the army” program. I suspect that some of the plates are original, too. (kidding, they look like they’re from the 60’s or so).

Katz's Deli

There are many tempting things on the old menu, and all of them good to excellent, but do yourself a favor and get the pastrami. At least for your first visit. You might think you like corned beef or tongue or liver better – you’re wrong. You like pastrami. It’s still the best in the city, no matter what you hear about a couple of other famous places. And it still has the NY attitude – not nasty at all, they’re actually funny and nice if you’re a nice guy or gal yourself, but a sort of gruffness that’s only natural when they serve thousands of people a day, every day. Anyway, remember at all times that you’re there for the pastrami, and nothing else matters.

Katz's Deli

Make your visit as pleasant as possible and remember a couple of things.
1 – Upon entry you’ll pass a security guard that will hand you a small ticket that you’re supposed to give the guy at the counter after you got your grub. He’ll hand it back to you with the amount you owe written on it. Don’t loose that ticket or you’ll pay your meal a flat $50. If you didn’t misplaced it, you’ll hand it to the cashier by the exit and pay what it says.
2 – At the counter, ask one of the guys for “pastrami, fatty, on rye”. It’s not fatty at all (see pictures), just juicier. With mustard, and pickles of your choice, sour or half-sour.
The fries are unremarkable, but if you can’t do without – passable.

There is a row of tables along the wall that have waiter service, but I find that part of the experience is interacting with the guys at the counter. They cut your order on the spot, there are no back kitchen elves that sliced the pastrami 2 hours ago. They might give you a taste of the piece they’re cutting from if they like you. And if you like them, tip a buck or two per sandwich. There’s no other tip to leave in the establishment (unless you’ll sit at the waiter tables, of course).
As you probably noticed, it’s a fairly large sandwich. It’s also about $15. If you’re a light eater, share one or take home a doggie bag. Slim chances you’ll have leftovers but I’ve seen it happen.

THE pastrami at Katz's

Oh, and remember the famous orgasm scene from When Harry met Sally? Right, it happened at Katz’s. There’s even a sign above their table if you want to not only have what she was having, but also sit in her chair (which I doubt has changed since, either).

Katz's Deli


Parked! food trucks event ’12

When has a year passed by already? Another year, another Parked! event.
A few new trucks on the road, adding to the number of participants. The lines weren’t so bad this time, some of the trucks had no customers actually. Are people getting tired of street food, or they’re just too familiar with their offerings already?
Also, some of the area restaurants had some presence with small tables and few offerings.

Anyway, snapped just a few pics this time, and mostly of the menus.
I had a delicious Connecticut style lobster roll from Red Hook lobster and a first time gelato from Amorino (verdict: good, but I wasn’t that impressed). The L’innimitabile (really?) hazelnut was almost too sweet but with good hazelnut flavor. Stracciatella was nothing special, as for the Caramello (salted caramel) not that caramel-ly. And it all melted in a mess before it was handed to me – it was warm outside but not that warm and we were in the shade anyway. I find that unacceptable.

The friend that accompanied me got a Phil’s cheesesteak which I never tried before but kept reading about it that’s the closest you’ll come to a Philly one in NYC. My friend said it’s good, but then again he never went to Philadelphia for a Pat’s or Geno’s. By the looks only, I find Phil’s unappealing – the meat is almost ground, the onions are few and wrong – nothing like Geno’s for example.

Same as last year, performances by young artists on the waterfront stage – a short movie after the pictures. Not sure of the band name, but I know the stilt-walker is Anya Sapozhnikova.


Spot Dessert Bar

Fab dessert place on St. Marks. In pictures, the green tea lava cake and the yuzu eskimo. Loved the eskimo.


Salt & Fat – Sunnyside

Salt&Fat is a new-ish restaurant on Queens Boulevard. It received pretty good reviews from the beginning and every time I passed by, I found it quite busy. Although it took us a year to try it – I have no idea why we waited so long! – it will definitely be a place we’ll return to.
Don’t let the name of the restaurant fool you: although there’s the occasional bacon in a couple of dishes, there’s no excessive fat or salt in the food. I thought I’d mention…
The food is very tasty, beautifully seasoned and harmonious in textures. It was 4 of us and we got a lot of food, some of the dishes were doubled (the scallops, the oxtail terrine, the shrimp and grits)

Loved:
Yellowtail tartare – yuzu gel, scallions, cassava chips;
Scallops – roasted carrot puree, truffled corn salsa, capers;
Shrimp and grits – slow cooked egg, bacon;
Crispy pig trotter – spicy mayo, slow cooked egg, scallion;
Korean BBQ wraps – marinated hanger steak, pickled daikon, miso;
Fried chicken – pickled daikon, herb ranch dressing

That makes it almost everything, the only disappointment being the oxtail terrine – I don’t know if we expected more, but it was kind of flat. It wasn’t bad by any means, just not fulfilling I guess.

The star of the show, as the entire internet is buzzing about it: the complimentary bacon popcorn in the beginning. I know someone who had about 3 bags of it. (Not me, I swear LOL)

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New World Mall Food Court – Flushing

Full food court, with countless stalls serving food and desserts from different regions of China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Pictures of some excellent open dumplings, pig ear, shrimp & fish combo platter among others. I need to take another trip or 5 and gather more pictures.


Parked! event – part III (and last)

Part I and Part II

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck started as a physical store (now they have two) and the truck was only natural to follow.

Rickshaw Dumpling

Wafels & Dinges is one of the oldest “new wave” trucks on the streets of NYC (if I’m not mistaken I think they started in 2005?) and they’ve been a success since the beginning.

Wafels & DingesWafels & Dinges
Wafels & DingesWafels & Dinges
Wafels & DingesWafles&Dinges

Sigmund Pretzel started with a physical store at 29 Ave. B and soon their cart has become a traveling presence at diverse food events in the city.

Sigmund Pretzel cartSigmund  salt Pretzel
Sigmund Pretzel cartSigmund Pretzel cart

Wooly’s Ice is yet another shaved ice dessert cart with a physical store at 79 Elizabeth St.
Wooly's IceWooly's Ice

Grillo’s Pickles sells at Whole Foods across 5 states in Northeast, from N.Y. to Maine. The cart is based in Boston, MA.

Grillo's pickles

Mimi & Coco teriyaki balls are a spin on the classic Japanese takoyaki. Their version comes stuffed with shrimp, potato or sausage and get brushed with teriyaki sauce, hence the name or their product.

Mimi&Coco teriyaki ballsMimi&Coco teriyaki balls

And although the lines were long, a good time was had by all.

Wafles&DingesEating, drinking and being merry


Parked! event – part II

In case your missed it, see part I here.

The Cupcake Crew is about ten months old and comes from Brooklyn, rolling on the streets of Manhattan. It has a strong following, as proved by the solid line. Maple bacon cupcake, anyone?

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The Frying Dutchmen sell fries, both potato and sweet potato, and a myriad of sauces (they take suggestions for new ones). On Sunday they also had chicken tenders and chicken wings and the crowds loved it.

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Kimchi Taco is another yet-to-be-one-year-old truck and they will soon open a brick & mortar restaurant in Brooklyn. They sell Korean tacos (Korean BBQ topped with a family recipe kimchi ), vegetarian tacos (tofu-edemame-falafel) and kimchi cheesesteaks, and their line of fans was probably the longest.

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Fojol Bros. of Merlindia (or Benethiopia? as the truck is inscribed, a bit confusing that we’re not clear where they’re from) – for real came from D.C. and they entitled themselves “a traveling culinary carnival”. The menu seems to be inspired by Ethiopian food.

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Mexicue is another truck founded by Brooklynites in 2010 (soon to have a twin) with a physical store at 345 Seventh Avenue in Midtown West (soon to have a twin on LES). They sell “re-invented” tacos and sliders and it’s pretty obvious that they have a huge fan base.

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Parked! food truck event at South Street Seaport

Parked! event at South Street Seaport The Parked! event brought together more than 30 food trucks that are on the beat on the streets of NYC daily. A trend that started a few years back, nowadays creates a bit of controversy: they sell fresh, excellent food at reasonable prices – thus creating quite a drop in revenues for the regular hot dog/pretzel/grilled kabobs cart vendors. Restaurants and chain lunch places are complaining, too. It didn’t take long for the police to start ticketing the new trucks on the block (if parking is a bitch in Manhattan generally speaking, is even more so for trucks that have to adhere to very restrictive rules), or even ban them in the last few weeks.

Here I’ll show you some of the street-food trucks that you’ll find around the city; most of them are really well-known and have a cult-following – twitter is a great tool to find out where your favorite truck is parked, and when. In a couple of instances we’ll see vendors that don’t sell from a truck but from a cart or table and I’m guessing that they were invited at the event because their popularity. I’ll keep it short as so not to bore you, but if you’re interested in details please click the links provided for each company.

The lines for most of the trucks were tens of people deep, to what we estimated it would be at least a half an hour wait. I tried to take pictures of the menus and when possible, of the product. Click on the picture for a larger size.

The next Parked! truck fest will take place on Governors Island on Sept. 5th

Schnitzel & Things launched in 2009. Early 2011 they opened a brick & mortar shop at 723 3rd Ave. (between 45th & 46th streets). See the website for menu, daily location and the schedule of the truck. At the Parked! event they were sold out by 5 pm.

Schnitzel & Things

Gorilla Cheese

The (barely) one year old Kelvin Natural Slush has half an hour lines for the “not your 7-11” slush – flavors like basil (sold out at around 5 pm) and mint, as well as fruit puree slush, made this truck a very popular one from day 1.

Kelvin Natural Slush

Kelvin Natural Slush

The Shaved Ice Shop doesn’t have a truck – they sell at Hester Street fair and other street food markets (see website for locations and dates). Inspired by the Taiwanese street treat, they bring new toppings as granola and charred marshmallows with caramelized corn.

The Shaved Ice ShopThe Shaved Ice Shop

The Shaved Ice ShopThe Shaved Ice Shop

Taim Falafel has been famous for quite a few years as having the best falafel in NYC, since they opened at 222 Waverly Pl. in the Village. Now they also have a truck and tour Manhattan at lunch hour tp the delight of their many, many fans.

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The Cinnamon Snail
heads from New Jersey and sells vegan organic treats. Don’t we all want to be beings of pure light and to serve all creatures simultaneously and eternally? 🙂
If you don’t, many others do – and they lined up to empty their shelves.

The Cinnamon SnailThe Cinnamon Snail
The Cinnamon Snail

More to come…


Toqueville

New York Restaurant Week – this time, Toqueville

I had the green and white asparagus with black truffle vinaigrette and loved it. White asparagus and truffles are made for each other. My friend had the chilled pea soup and in her opinion it lacked something, maybe a touch of mint could have been great. We both got the soft shell crab, crunchy deliciousness. For dessert, a ricotta mousse (did panna cotta go out of style?)   with a wonderful trio of berries: marinated strawberries, fresh blackberries and a raspberry sauce, and a chocolate millefeuille (since when are 2 layers of chocolate and mousse mille-feuille?)

A nice lunch, but I don’t feel compelled to go back anytime soon.


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