For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.
Apologies to Lady Gaga, but meat sculptures were invented a long time ago. Maybe we didn’t wear them like the pop icon does, but as soon as people realized they could chop up meat and reform it into a tube, casing, or mold, we started eating them. And we’re still at it. Here are five meat shapes that tasted as good as they looked.
NUMBER 35: PIGS IN A BLANKET at BROOKLYN PIGGIES
Just like every other childhood delight, the pig in a blanket has been reinvented by a Brooklyn-based company with good intentions. Brooklyn Piggies can be found at most of the summer food markets, like Smorgasburg, doling out little nuggets of deliciousness. These weenies are a smoky blend of beef and sausage wrapped in a buttery and tender puff pastry blanket. A dip into some spicy brown mustard, it’s a wonder we’ve suffered through mediocre microwaved cocktail nibbles for so long. Price: 3 pieces for $5
|Available at Smorgasburg:
80 North 5th Street (at Wythe Avenue),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Winter Location: Saturdays and Sundays)
NUMBER 34: TRUFA SECA from CHARLITO’S COCINA
Stinky Brooklyn is a wonderful place. It’s a cheese shop and grocery in the heart of artisanal foodie Carroll Gardens. I never know what I will find when I wander in. One Saturday, a representative from Charlito’s Cocina, a charcuterie company in Long Island City, was offering up slices of their salami. He saved the best and most decadent for last. They dry cure a heritage pork sausage and add lots of rich, meaty flavors with the addition of sea salt and flecks of black truffles. Thank you Stinky! Price Varies
|Available at Multiple Locations|
NUMBER 33: PABLO ESCOBAR at LOS PERROS LOCOS
SADLY, LOS PERROS LOCOS IS NOW CLOSED.
The first German immigrants hawking hot dogs in New York could never have imagined the wacky toppings Los Perros Locos adds to their franks. Inspired by street food in South America and influenced by Lower East Side drunk food, this new hot dog shop makes mighty tasty concoctions. I particularly love their Pablo Escobar which is a charred all-beef dog topped with crisp pineapple salsa, a smoky apple chipotle slaw, and a dusting of salty cotija cheese. The Germans would have loved it. Price: $6.50
|LOS PERROS LOCOS|
|201 Allen Street (between East Houston and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side
NUMBER 32: TESTA at THE PINES
Head cheese is not the most appetizing term, but testa sounds a lot easier to ingest. Whatever you call it, the homemade face and head parts at The Pines is beautifully executed. Less gelatinous than most iterations, here the texture works lovely with seasonal accompaniments. When I tried it a few months back, it was served with large chunks of sweet pumpkin bread, acidic pickled celery, and tart huckleberries. Doesn’t matter what you call this, just don’t not order it. Price: $14
|284 3rd Avenue (between Carroll and President Street),
NUMBER 31: FRANKFURTER at EAGLE PROVISIONS
SADLY, EAGLE PROVISIONS IS NOW CLOSED.
When you order a frankfurter at Eagle Provisions in Park Slope, you don’t get mustard or sauerkraut or even a bun. If you’re lucky the Polish butcher will warm it up for you. But none of these are necessary here. And while the links are probably more often purchased for home consumption, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a fork and eating it immediately. That’s when you discover the crisp snap that gives way to a juicy, smoky meaty interior. It’s an unlikely spot and presentation, but it’s one of the best hot dogs in the city. Price: $5.39/lb
|628 5th Avenue (at 18th Street),
South Slope, Brooklyn