September 26, 2013
Spicy pork taco ($2.50)
Two spicy pork tostadas ($3.00 each)
In the colorful photo just above these words, you’re looking at two carne enchilada tostadas. Crispy, open face taco shells spread with beans, covered with freshly griddled spicy pork, and topped with lettuce, tomato, and crumbly white cheese. They were made by an industrious Mexican woman inside a little metal cart outside the Chase Bank at the southwest corner of 70th Street and Broadway. This cart may be providing both the best lunch deal and best Mexican food on the Upper West Side. Each one of the towering tostadas above cost just $3.00. $3.00! That means if you bought two of these, you would have a seriously filling lunch for just $6. The overstuffed tacos (photo above, at top), sprinkled with cilantro, onion and green sauce are $2.50 each. Get two of those and you’re stuffed for just $5. The dinner plate-sized torta is just $6 and it’s easily a two-meal sandwich. The only downside to the entire enterprise is that the food doesn’t come fast, there’s only one woman working and typically a few people on line, so leave a little time. Forget Chipotle, Subway and whatever other underwhelming and likely overpriced Upper West Side lunch option you’ve decided on and make a beeline for what I’ve decided is the best Mexican food on the Upper West Side. I’m already sorry I let you in on the secret.
Taco Cart at 70th Street & Broadway, Southwest corner
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September 25, 2013
If you know me, you know I love late night eats and you know I’ve got a lot of restaurant info swirling around in my brain. How do I keep it all straight? Well click on “See the collection” above and find out. It’s a nifty feature on this new site called Foodie.com. The site is essentially Pinterest for food. They’ve got a pretty deep reservoir of recipes and food porn but now they’re starting to ramp up their restaurant collections and I decided to add my two cents. The Late Night Eats collection you see above is just one of four collections I’ve created. The others range from Best Breakfast in NYC to Best Burgers, so click through and see if you agree. If you have something you want to add, let me know or get in on the action and create your own collections.
The NYC Food Guy’s Restaurant Collections on Foodie.com
September 24, 2013
You think you know unusual restaurants? Well click on “See the collection” above and let me know if I’ve opened your mind at all. Wondering how I put the collection together in that neat little package above? It’s all Foodie.com, a pretty sweet new site that is like Pinterest but for food. It’s got a ton of recipes (and food porn to go with them) and now they’re starting to pick up the pace on the restaurant side and their collection feature is a great way to keep your food thoughts organized. Create a collection of your favorites or create an eating to do list, whatever you do, head over to Foodie.com and start playing around and telling me where I need to go eat next!
The NYC Food Guy’s Restaurant Collections on Foodie.com
September 23, 2013
“Good things to those who wait.” Or so they say. When it comes to sweet food videos, however, there’s no time like the present. Smorgasburg is a food festival unlike any other in New York City. It crashes into the Brooklyn coast each weekend through November – Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in DUMBO – bringing with it a tidal wave of handmade artisan food. There’s over fifty vendors each day, making stomach space quite the commodity. Fortunately, I’m here with the video below to guarantee you maximize the deliciousness. Good luck out there.
September 23, 2013
If there’s two things I know, it’s that first, you probably have no idea what Georgian food is, and secondly, you also don’t know how to say adjaruli khachapuri (I have enough trouble spelling it). And really, it’s ok. Because until I ate at Oda House, a Georgian restaurant on the corner of 5th Street and Avenue B, I was in the same boat. According to Wikipedia, Georgia is “a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The captial of Georgia is Tbilisi.” And “adjaruli khachapuri” is pronounced Ahd-Ja-Rule-Ee Ka-Cha-Pour-Ee. So, there’s that.
Now to the life-changing information: khachapuri is a type of Georgian cheese bread that is buttery, deep dish and freshly baked. At Oda House, you want the adjaruli,which is a type of khachapuri baked with loads of mozzarella and feta inside and then topped off with a fresh egg when it comes to your table. Mix it up (as seen in the video below) and it becomes buttery, cheesy scrambled egg bread. Slice it to the best of your ability, eat, and then die.
No. Seriously. You may eat it and realize that your life has been nothing up until this moment and it’s not worth living any longer because nothing is going to taste better than this oddly-named concoction you just devoured. Ok, maaaaaaybe it’s not quite THAT serious, but you’re going to be talking about adjaruli khachapuri, kinkali (beef and pork soup dumplings), lamb shish kebab, and whatever beef-stuffed bread Oda House is offering that night, for weeks to come. Doesn’t it feel good to be educated?
Oda House Website
76 Avenue B at 5th Street
New York, NY 10009
The photo and video above were originally on the @nycfoodguy Instagram.
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September 18, 2013
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
I wish I could remember who told me to ask the Fresco Gelateria counter girl to open up my croissant and slather Nutella all over the inside of both halves. If I could remember, I’d kiss that person. Because this bad boy is as good as it looks. Fresco’s web site touts “daily baked pastries,” but in regard to the croissants, they actually purchase them par-baked and finish them in the shop. That means if you manage to get there early enough, you can actually have Nutella inside a fresh-baked croissant. Shit. I just realized a new possibility. Asking them to heat the croissant if it’s room temp before they spread on the Nutella. And oh yeah, they always have at least six different house made gelato flavors on the menu. So why not scoop some of that goodness into a croissant? Wow. I think I just blew my own mind. I don’t know if they would actually do either of those things, but if those aren’t questions worth asking, what are?
2nd Ave b/t St. Mark’s Pl & 9th St
The photo above was originally on the @nycfoodguy Instagram.
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September 17, 2013
Sure it’s crispy, juicy and a little spicy. And so what if it’s unique breading involves matzoh meal. And really, it’s great and all that their fries are thin and freshly fried, their potato wedges can be loaded with bacon and cheese, their onion strings are some of the best I’ve had, and they have ice cream custom made for them in flavors like Banana Salted Caramel and “Spiked Bourbon Street” (chocolate, hazelnut and Bourbon).
But what really matters is that they’re open until 2am every night. In the East Village. And in the city that never sleeps, that’s big.
Priorities people. You may not realize you need fried chicken at 1:30am on a Monday, that is, until you do. And therein lies the beauty of New York City. Any time, any craving, it can happen.
Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
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September 13, 2013
Clockwise from top left:
Coppelia, Blue Collar, The National, Bayard Ale House, Brindle Room, Full Shilling
“I not only think about food all day,” said Henry Miller in “Tropic of Cancer,” “but I dream about it at night.” NYC Food Guy, he dreams about cheeseburgers. Big, dinner plate-sized sandwiches filled with juicy beef patties with neon yellow American cheese dripping from the sides, please. There are few food items whose simple pleasure make me happier. And since many of New York City’s chefs fortunately share my sentiments, I’ve decided to put together a list of six burgers I’ve eaten over the last year, from sources as diverse as an Irish Pub, an Iron Chef and even a Cuban restaurant. Rest assured, these are burgers worth dreaming about.
Read the rest of this entry »
September 12, 2013
It may not be pretty, but no meal has excited me more in recent memory than the one I ate a few months back at Jeepney, the sibling of fellow East Village Filipino restaurant Maharlika. A huge plank of sticky rice was laid end-to-end over neighboring two-person tables covered in banana leaf. Our server carefully placed a whole fried fish in the center of the long white mound of coconut milk-flavored rice. Spreading out from both sides of the fish, he symmetrically placed chicken, smoked soft boiled eggs, two kinds of pork (one in a coconut milk gravy, one marinated in Coca-Cola), sweet longanisa sausage, sauteed bok choy, bitter melon salad, piles of fried tripe and fried bread, and grilled green onions. You get to choose two appetizers and three entrees from a set menu. Each of my three dining companions and I received two bowls, one with vinegar and chiles and another with soy sauced-spiked mayo (recommended for the tripe). The only other thing in front of me was a San Miguel beer and a napkin, the latter of which would prove useless.
It was at this point that I snapped a few quick photos because as soon as I put that iPhone down, it was time to eat.
With only my hands.
For about 30 minutes straight.
No talking, just visceral moans from all the startling intersections of flavor and texture; spicy gives way to sour then sweet. Crispy melts into fatty and tender. Maw at the sticky rice with your hand, form it into a little ball and wrap a shred of pork (or chicken, fish or sausage) around it, dip it into the vinegar, pulling up a chile as you bring it all to your mouth. Repeat until nearing food coma, save some room for the icy dessert halo halo and then prepare to not want anything to do with food until dinner the next day. I’m not used to this kind of gustatory defeat but according to Jeepney co-owner and sometimes-server Noel Cruz, his family feasted like this every night back in the Philippines. I think I know where I’m taking my next vacation.
Jeepney 201 1st Ave b/t 11th & 12th St, NY, NY 10003 212.533.4121 CASH ONLY
Kamayan Night – Wednesday & Thursday Only – $40 per person, call for details and reservations
September 11, 2013
I know these look good. How could they not? They’re French fries, one of the hardest-to-resist foods on the planet (for me at least). But when push comes to shove, you didn’t wait in line at Umami Burger for 30 to 90 minutes for the fries, you’re here for the burgers. These fries look sinful and spectacular, but give credit to my iPhone for that, because quite frankly these are just window dressing. The fries themselves are ordinary pre-frozen shoestring and the flavor profiles of the “Manly Fries” and the Truffle fries are as basic as their descriptions imply. Sure they’re salty, sinful and easy to eat by the forkful. The burgers, on the other hand, are unique and very big on flavor. Are they worth a 90-minute wait? Not in my humble opinion. But if you happen to pass by Umami Burger and see some open seats, pop in and grab a classic “Umami Burger” AND a Green Chile Burger. Pass on the fries, you’ll thank me later.
Umami Burger Website
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September 10, 2013
What’s your first memory of oatmeal? For me it was my Dad mixing it over the stove and then offering me some to taste. My first bite was a forgettable one as my Dad uses little to no sugar and wanted to let me try it that way too. Five minutes and half a cup of sugar and cinnamon later and I was happily eating my oatmeal. Oatmeals, a small new shop on West 3rd st b/t MacDougal St and 6th Avenue, whose aim is to up the ante on breakfast’s typically boring buddy, has succeeded in their task and they do it with more than just cinnamon and sugar. Take the “Salted Caramel Apple” you see above. Cinnamon, brown sugar, cinnamon roasted apples, whipped cream, caramel, and a very smart sprinkle of sea salt combine to make oatmeal something you’re actually excited to wake up for in the morning. They offer 25 different ways to enjoy your oatmeal, some savory like the “Truffle RisOATto” which features shaved parm, truffle oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper, some sweet like the “Dulce de Leche Cheesecake” with graham crackers, whipped ricotta, dulce de leche drizzle, cinnamon, brown sugar, and whipped cream or the “Strawberry Shortcake” with graham crackers, fresh strawberries, strawberry jelly, vanilla and brown sugars, and whipped cream. However you decide to top your oatmeal, rest assured this will be the only oatmeal you’ll ever be excited to tell your friends about after.
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September 9, 2013
It all started at Smorgasburg, the weekends only Brooklyn-based food festival that was spawned by the popularity of the food vendors at Brooklyn Flea. People lined up for 20-30 minutes at a time to get a taste of Mighty Quinn’s famous brisket and rightly so, it’s fatty, smoky, perfectly pink inside, and has a just-crisp-enough bark outside. It’s everything you want from brisket. The popularity of their Smorgasburg stand led to the opening of an actual restaurant on the corner of 6th street and 2nd Avenue. And with that came a new expanded menu featuring solid pulled pork and ribs as well (the ribs are more flavorful than the pork). I’m typically a purist when it comes to BBQ, which means I generally have low expectations for the sides, salads and pickles. But while the meats were all fresh and fatty – which is what you want from BBQ – the acidity and sweetness of the various sides (burnt end baked beans and sweet potato casserole), salads (coleslaw) and pickles (red onion, cucumber and pickle chiles) complemented the meats so well, they made the entire meal more complete. Mighty Quinn’s is still rocking and rolling at Smorgasburg as well (through November), so you can head out there too for a taste of their ‘cue. If you want to see some video food porn of Mighty Quinn’s brisket, check out my Smorgasburg video for two quick but sinful shots around eleven seconds in.
Mighty Quinn’s Website
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September 6, 2013
Clockwise from top left: Defonte’s #20, Parm Turkey Sandwich, Dram Shop Double Cheeseburger, sugarSweetSunshine Banana Pudding, Court Street Grocers “Delight,” Brindle Room Steak Burger, Xe May Classic Banh Mi, Dough doughnuts at Smorgasburg, Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
I used to love baseball season. That was until I worked in production at the Mets TV station from 2006 to 2009 and had to literally analyze all of their heartbreaking season-ending losses. Being a fantasy baseball addict didn’t help either. I typically managed two or three teams per season, from April to September, an endeavor which girlfriends everywhere readily admit leaves them lonely and deserted. As a result, I essentially retired from serious baseball fandom, finding greater solace in the past over the present. After all, with the exception of Shake Shack at Citi Field, baseball’s past offers much greener grass than the artificially enhanced, fancily manicured outfields of today. Fortunately, I still have NFL football Sundays. It’s a once-a-week (well really three times-a-week if you count Thursday & Monday) excuse to pretend you’ve never received a bad cholesterol report and “fried” is one of the major food groups. With that in mind, here’s NYC Food Guy’s list of Nine Game Day bites to eat, take out or recreate at home and ensure your NFL Week 1 kicks off in style.
September 5, 2013
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Among my crew of fellow foodies, Ample Hills Creamery gets talked about more than Miley’s twerkin. The flavor everyone raves about is the aptly named “Salted Crack Caramel,” because once you start eating, it’s very hard to stop. If you love the intersection of salty and sweet, this is the flavor you’ll be telling the kids about back in Manhattan. All you need to know is that the creamy caramel ice cream is loaded with crunchy bits of crushed Saltine crackers, also covered in caramel. Still unconvinced? Watch the video. Figuring out what to put on top of your ice cream is always a slight conundrum, but expertise must equate to proximity because my friend Suzanne, who lives right around the corner from Ample Hills, recommended hot fudge and she was spot on. Her favorite flavor is “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake” but sadly they were out of that when I arrived. If they have it when you’re there, get it. She has a track record after all.
Ample Hills Creamery Website
September 4, 2013
Clockwise from top: Mushroom tacos, chips and guacamole and stewed pork tostada. My favorite bite of the night is not pictured: the black bean and sweet plantain cheese quesadilla. It hit the salty-sweet, melty-crispy notes in all the right ways. Overall, not life changing Mexican food and definitely not destination worthy, but if you’re in Prospect Heights and in the mood for Mexican, your stomach and wallet will be satisfied. Cash only.
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