Tag Archives: street cart

Midtown Lunch 5th Birthday – 06.11.2011

From one food blog to another:
Happy 5th birthday Midtown Lunch!
I know it is hard eating in the shadow of the mighty juggernaut that is EatClub but hang in there, one day you will make it (whimper).

Eatclub spent the day celebrating, but mostly eating, with ML.  They organized a slew of vendors for an AYCE and AYCD ‘fest.  It was hard keeping up with fellow eaters as we devoured the best portable food Midtown had to offer while pretending to give competent reviews of taste, quality, etc.  We ate and drank our hearts out.


Certe’s lobster sausage sandwich with fingerling potato salad.  Oh you fancy huh?


Grilled roast beef from Tri-tip grill.


A tomato basil slice from Eddie’s Pizza cart


Ginger slush with mint courtesy of Kelvin


Ma Peche.  Bahn mi?  Oh my!


Lamb pita exquisitely cut on the bias.  Kwik Gourmet indeed!


Wafels & Dinges signature wafel


Biryani Cart’s Chicken Kati roll.


The master himself, Mr. Rahman from Kwik gourmet poses with yours truly

We enjoyed the opportunity to hit up carts that were Vendy award notables as well as venues that are open only during the day in midtown. All in one spot and all you can eat of course.  Some of the newer faces on the scene were knockouts.  Wafels & Dinges (pronounced ding + like the name “Gus”) had a delicious Belgian waffle topped with whipped cream and their homemade gingerbread sauce, Speculoo.  Dense and savory sweet with a crisp exoskeleton of caramelization, this small waffle satisfied like it were twice its size.  I predict Kelvin Slush as the beverage to watch this summer as they put a unique twist on the tried and true slushie.  Personally, it will replace the Korean frozen yogurt phenomenon going on, as my dessert of choice in NYC.  I’ll have the ginger slush with mint please.

The mexican truck, El Rey del Sabor was a let down.  The chicken, pork, and beef fillings were all bland with the only good thing being the actually hot salsa.  Super taco truck on UES is infinitely better.  Time to get another mint slush.  Biryani Cart offered a chicken kati roll that was mildly spicy but with almost too intense curry flavor.   Add to that a sweet and greasy paratha wrapper and this tiny roll is almost too intense to handle.  For me it was just too much going on.  Sip more of that slush to cleanse the palette.

Tri-tip grill presented their roast beef on a simple potato roll which was a carnivore’s dream come true.  Charred beef flavor was prominent and the time spent roasting all night paid off for the 3 dudes running the booth.  Congrats on a simple and well crafted sliced roast beef sandwich.  Time to refill that slushie.  Certe had a lobster sausage sandwich was as inventive as it was delicate.  Served on a crusty roll, the “sausage” was light and flavorful as well as alluring to the eyes.  Bonus points for charring grill marks and proportionately downsized shredded toppings.  Sip the slushie before it melts too fast.  Ma Peche showcased their version of a bahn mi with marinated lamb in a chewy dense baguette.  Intensely spiced and juicy, it was an interesting take on the classic viet sandwich.

It was my running favorite until I tried Kwik Gourmet’s lamb pita.  The humble cart with no line and stocked with 2 fully dressed chefs hurriedly prepping does not call much attention to itself.  After all, one passes by a cart selling some variation of lamb and pita on most every street in Manhattan.  They were the best cart there and I know I had to take a picture with lamb guru Rahman.  The run of the mill looking pita has in it the best cart cooked lamb ever.  Generous portions of marinated real lamb chunks in a warm supple pita with a rich yogurt sauce, it was better than the slushie I was habitually sipping.  And that says a lot.

[vimeo 25004256]


DJ Slushy Jeffy and standing behind the Fresh Prince of Pway

Spring Jubilee Street Festival – 05.30.10

Spring Jubilee Street Festival
Lexington and 34th-24th St.
New York City

With sunny skies, warm weather, and Memorial Day Monday looming around the corner, it was the opportune time to trek into the city and search for outdoor eating.  The Spring Jubilee street festival is held annually in the Murray Hill (aka Curry Hill) neighborhood of Manhattan and while it wasn’t the most diverse and varied street festival, it was a fine walking food tour that glorious Sunday afternoon.

The main food vendors are, unsurprisingly, gyro carts, thai food, and more gyro carts.  Yes you can get cheap socks, faux Gucci shades, and pashminas scarves but Eatclub held its mettle and diligently searched for Eats.

Some quick tips:

1. If you are pressed for time, just walk one block.  All the carts seem to repeat every street.

2. Not all kebabs are created equal, search for vendors that just threw skewers on the grill, thus insuring succulent meat morsels.

3. There are gems to be found, like the Japanese cart, the Mexican stand, $1 Thai food and $1 lemonade.

Good
Great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, and not to mention cheap.
You will find something to please everyone

Bad
Every block is the same.  The variety stinks.

Ugly
It is easy to overindulge here; gyro, satay, and funnel cake don’t mix.

festi-Bru

Super Taco – 04.29.09

Super Taco
truck parked on 96th and Broadway
(6pm-late night)

Possible Swine flu pandemic grips nation with fingers pointed at Mexico and New York City with the most reported cases in US.  I know, let’s go to the city to grab some real Mexican food prepared by Mexicans.  Great idea!  Only 2 brave souls accepted this grave task, bravely putting their lives in danger by dutifully heeding Eatclub’s call to eat authentic.  We survived but caught an incurable infection:  Mexican food fever!


Fast and friendly staff

Super Taco is street food at its most evolved.  It is indeed a truck parked on a corner with a full kitchen busily preparing fresh food as it is ordered.  There is an expansive menu (though some knowledge of Mexican is required), a makeshift salsa bar with lime wedges, and even a counter for eating standing up.  Somehow, this truck even manages to have a phone number for takeout orders.  For cart comparison’s sake, 53rd & 6th Halal cart makes Super Taco look like white table cloth fine dining.


Three carnitas tacos


Steak, chicken, and al pastor tacos

We ate tacos.  Real tacos at $2 each:  chicken, carnitas, al pastor, and steak.  You get a double corn tortilla piled with your meat of choice, and a mountain of onions and cilantro.  Slather on some red and green salsa, squeeze the lime wedge and savor this super taco.  The fillings were all fresh but some definitely stood out.  Carnitas were very cartilage-y and were an acquired taste.  I am sure its authentic but it wasn’t for us.  The steak was just average tasting but you can’t expect quality beef from a truck.  The chicken was outstanding, clear tasting flavor and juicy enough to quench your thirst after crawling out of the Baja desert.  Al pastor was the meatier and heavier alternative but just as good.  Perfectly cooked marinated pork strips cooked up with a touch of pineapple.  Drool.  This truck is the real deal.

Good
The TACOS!  @$2 a piece, why not try them all, especially the chicken and al pastor.
Large menu and open late.  You can even call ahead for pickup.

Bad
Carnitas was like eating a taco filled with gristle.

Ugly
You may not get swine flu from the food but perhaps from the cook.

Brucio

For dessert, we stopped by Koronets near Columbia University for their infamous pizza slice.  It was big.  Quarter shown for reference.


1 large cheese slice for $3.50

Mamoun’s Falafel, Joe’s Pizza, 53rd and 6th, Red Mango – 08.13.2008

Mamoun’s Falafel
119 Macdougal St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 674-8685

IMO the best falafel in NYC. A village landmark, it’s more than just the falafel that makes this hole-in-the-wall joint stand out, it’s the snapshot of NYC life it captures. There is only one narrow entrance to the dimly lit 2 table dining room/ordering area/kitchen. In there amidst the chaos, to-go customers, sit-down eaters, and delivery boys shuffle around and single file line emerges with diners patiently waiting for cheap and tasty middle eastern comfort food. They have schwarma (real lamb freshly sliced from the spit), kufta, various kebabs, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, etc.  NYU students, bar hoppers, tourists, vagrants, hipsters, and professionals all make up the line that often forms out the door.


Mamoun’s falafel. Always order more than 1.

Prepared freshly when ordered, the falafel sandwich comes with 3 falafel balls mashed in a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, onions and tahini sauce. Pair it with the hot sauce (hot) that is floating around the tables in a communal squeeze bottle and prepare yourself for a flavor explosion. The fresh veggies and tangy tahini are a bright contrast to the crunchy, heavily spiced and herby fried falafel. The hummus is excellent: smooth and flavorful despite its bland appearance. How can something vegan taste so good? Truly a food miracle in my book. Grab some falafel in the quick moving line and eat outside on the bench to enjoy ethnic fast food with an eclectic view.

Joe’s Pizza
7 Carmine Street (and Bleecker St.)
New York, NY


The Sicilian slice with a dusting of parmesan.

“Without a doubt this is the best pizza in the entire city,” Ben Affleck says in a NY newpaper. I have to disagree with the Daredevil. The pizza is average. Yes, I tried it only once and yes the fresh mozzarella slice looked good but I am basing my opinion on what I consider a reliable barometer of good NY/NJ pizza: the Sicilian slice. I have no idea what authentic Italian roots it has but it doesn’t matter. I judge by your plain Sicilian slice. It was large and cheesy and for $2.50 it was a great value. The large crust was airy and crunchy with some buttery flavor but the other 2 elements of the pizza trinity (cheese and sauce) were off the mark. I may try their plain slice to give it a proper tasting but Joe’s is about as unremarkable as Gigli right now.

53rd and 6th Halal Street Cart
Corner of 53rd Street and 6th Ave. Cart across from Hilton driveway and next to water fountain.
Open 7pm-4am
New York, NY


Very messy and very tasty.

Another NYC landmark, 53rd and 6th goes by many names: street cart, halal guys, platters, gyro man, street meat…the list goes on. And so does it’s line for food served in humble aluminum trays and plastic forks; a wait that can be up to 40 minutes on any given night. Why all the fuss you ask? Juicy grilled chicken and grilled gyro meat over surprisingly flavorful yellow rice. It is true the portions have shrunk from ginourmous to now huge, and the food isn’t cooked at the cart anymore, and yes prices have gone up but you will not find a better and tastier deal for $6. And who knows the city’s best food spots than NYC cabbies: where they congregate and spend their hard earned tips for inexpensive, quick, and filling food on the go, an eater must also eat. Order the combination platter with rice and pita, slather on the yogurt sauce and atomic hot sauce, grab a spot on the nearby benches and enjoy NYC street cart dining at its finest.

Hint: The other less busy looking cart across the street and diagonal to the Hilton is run by the same guys. When the line is huge, go here. Don’t let others convince you otherwise, IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME.

Red Mango
723 8th Ave. ( @ 46th Street and 8th Ave.)
New York, NY


Red Mango frozen yogurt with mango, raspberries, and mochi.

Korean frozen yogurt, or as I call it KoFroYo, has become Eatclub’s defacto standard post-Eatclubbing dessert. This trendy hotspot serves up sweet, tangy frozen yogurt with a myriad of toppings that span from fresh fruit to dark chocolate chips to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Its yogurt is certified active from American Yogurt Society (something like that) and according to its website, only 80 calories per serving (small). Healthy, tasty, and good for you. What more could you want? Perhaps lower prices but the quality is consistent and the shops are a hipplace to hang out and people watch. There are other KoFroYo chains out there but Red Mango was the first in the states (popped up in Cali first) and it is the best.

Correction:  Pinkberry was first in the US in 2005 but Red Mango has been around in South Korea since 2002.  Thanks to xteethx, one of eatclub’s ever vigilant readers.

All this in one night. We ate till we puked. Thanks to E, Soph, Bethany, Haeme, Annie, and YM for making it through this ephemeral eatclubbing extravaganza.


The city that never sleeps and always eats…

-bru