“Sir can you step to the side please, you were chosen randomly for an additional search…”
The quote above described the only moment in my entire New York trip, that I really didn’t appreciate. In the twenty plus years of living in the United States as a legal citizen, never have I been subjected to a “random” (felt more racially profiled then anything) search on the basis of my physical appearance in any major International airport. It’s quite sad really, seeing as I thought most New Yorkers would reflect from the 9/11 incident and actually embraced their enormous diversity in apparently one of the greatest cities in the U.S. (at least that’s what a lot of New Yorkers pride in telling me). Or perhaps, it’s just the TSA well… being the TSA as illustrated by Penn & Teller’s blog post seen here.
Which is part of today’s theme, diversity and what it has brought to the New York food and drink scene. I came here on a whim, because of two missed out opportunities in LA. I figured this trip is exactly what I needed to clear my head and get back into the grind. I had my perception of NY’ers as rude, inconsiderate, always on the go and people with their heads stuck up their asses when it comes to their city and food (boy was I wrong).
It was the complete opposite, nearly everyone was pretty chill, considerate, apologized when they bumped into me (with only two unapologetic incidents) and helpful when you need directions as an Out of Towner. It didn’t matter if you were black, white, yellow, and/or brown. People of all shades and sizes colored NYC in the skyline and urban surroundings.
I could probably rant for hours about each place. Considering we have a lot of places to discuss, I’ll divulge only the important details on each spot, on your next trip to the Big Apple:
Creme Brulee and the PB & J. But especially the Creme Brulee, wish they made the portion a lot larger like the rest of their flavors.
Opt out of the broth and get the noodles and lamb as is (unless it’s a cold Autumn or Winter day). Otherwise you’ll be sacrificing the bite in texture. Runner up goes to the lamb burger (you can get it in handheld form as an alternative and avoiding another Laundry incident.
Spicy Redneck, can do you no wrong. New Yorker is classic but the Redneck stacks texture and savory flavor, bite after bite. Coleslaw, bacon and relish. Come to papa because cholesterol heaven is just a few Crif Dogs away.
It’s popular, everyone knows it. Strawberry is one of my favorite fruits. But do yourself a favor and get it plain, believe me, the crust itself has enough flavor and texture to contrast the creaminess of the cheesecake interior.
Time to settle the debate on who’s the better Fast Food Burger; Coast to Coast. I’ll have to say although the meat patty is slightly thicker and slightly more juicy, In N Out overall, tops Shake Shack in flavor, texture and pricing. Honorable mention to their Hot Fudge and Vanilla Milkshake. You can definitely hold your ground against the Neopolitan shake of In N Out.
The stew is great, filling and will turn into a Paella portioned fried rice, after consuming most of these ocean tidbits. However if you watched the movie Oldboy and you wanted to re-live their infamous Octopus scene. Might I suggest the ordering Live Octopus and wrestling the suction cups with your tongue. Currently offered in their Queens borough location.
Comparable to many of the Prime Ribs I’ve tried at other BBQs, Las Vegas Buffets and etc. Plataforma was a nice and humble Brazilian experience and of all their cuts of meat, the Prime Rib was a big hit for me.
Fatty Cue, takes what you know of BBQ, adds plenty of Hipster flavor, special bone stock and flips the script on many of the classic BBQ dishes you know of today. Their South 6th cocktail shown here and Smoke Bone Cocktails are worth the sip. Not pictured (but provided on our Facebook Fan Page) honorable mention goes to their Lamb Shoulder, Brandt Brisket and First Prize Pies (Banana Toffee and Salted Chocolate Pretzel).
10 Degrees has a nice and comfortable corner in the east village. They even have a buy 1 and get the second 1 (of equal or lesser value) free during their weekly Happy Hour. My main go-to in the middle of a hot East Village afternoon, their Kentucky Cocktail; Sweet, strong and straight to the point. Ask for Frank or Elizabeth and tell them the Foodoofus sent ya.
The Steak was decent a bit dry, however their Bernaise and Frites are top-notch. The Frites are crispy in texture and the Bernaise is smooth, without an oily after taste.
After I denounced 2 Brothers Pizza of fraudulent pizza, I thought I lost all hope in NYC. That all changed the night before my flight with an introduction to this popular joint. In Dean Martin fashion when the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, it’s Grimaldi’s. This last suggestion may seem like a cardinal sin, but with a fresh slice I wouldn’t mind dipping it into a small puddle of ranch dressing… hmm tasty.
Overall, NYC has a plethora of options to choose from, whether it’s affordable ethnic fare to high-end haute cuisine. As a first timer barely scratching the surface, there were a couple of missed targets: The infamous 53rd and 6th Halal cart, any of David Chang’s Momofuku’s (Milk Bar, Ssam bar, Noodle bar and Ko), Le Bernardin (Domain of Eric Ripert, regarded as The French Prince of Seafood) and more. I am very much looking forward to my return in the future and hopefully my palate, knowledge of food/drink and writing will become more refined over time.
Now heading into the second part of this issue: a refreshing bodega concept, an American classic and a farewell dinner to boot.