Tag Archives: East Harlem

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

VENDY PLAZA, 1607 Park Avenue (at 116th Street), at La Marqueta, East HarlemLast year I was unable to attend the Vendy Awards honoring the best street food vendors in the city. It’s my favorite day of the year, but unfortunately it also happened to coincide with a big family event in another state.

The event is coming back this Saturday, September 12 and I already have my tickets. Unfortunately, it is sold out so if you have not purchased tickets yet, I’m afraid it’s too late. But there is an alternative. On Sunday (and every Sunday through November), the Street Vendor Project will also be hosting Vendy Plaza.

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My search for the best ice cream in New York continues ….

ICE & VICE, iceandvice.comI first learned about Ice & Vice when they received a Vendy Award nomination for best dessert. They operated out of LIC Flea and Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Those are two places that I had yet to visit since they were both a bit out of my usual route.

Then I got to personally meet the owners Paul and Kendrick when I made a series of videos on all the nominated vendors. They were awesome and the video turned out great, but unfortunately they had run out of most of their popular ice cream flavors on the day of the shoot. I was left with their Mexican vanilla with black sea salt. It was great as far as vanillas go and the salt was exotic and balancing.

But I’m just not a vanilla guy. Especially when Ice & Vice is making flavors like Pork Your Melons (honeydew with prosciutto and white balsamic), Tico Time (guava, chiles, lime, and plantains), and Movie Night (buttered popcorn, raisins, and chocoalte flakes). How can you stick with vanilla when you have options like those?

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Category: Ice Cream

Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. NYC Food Cart Tour is my exploration of the hard-working vendors feeding NYC’s population every day.

For five weeks, the folks at the Vendy Awards (and the Street Vendor Project) teamed up with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito to host Vendy Plaza with a roster of rotating vendors serving unique and diverse food offerings and music. The goal is to activate the outdoor space that’s part of the public market La Marqueta in East Harlem and gather people from the area and afar. It’s a fun afternoon and the last event (for 2014) is this coming Sunday, November 23.


Category: Video

Now that I’ve eaten my way through somebody else’s list (Time Out New York), I’m ready to compile my own 100 spectacular things I’ve tasted in 2012. Look for another five dishes every few days.

NUMBER 60: PORK ARISTA SANDWICH at EATALY

Pork has never gone out of style – except maybe with the Jews and Muslims (for them, it was never in style). But those of us willing to eat in sin know the decadent delight in the flavor of fatty, salty pig. It’s pretty irresistible, which might be why so many religions find it reprehensible.

The Italians have certainly embraced the swine and nowhere is that more evident than at Eataly’s rotisserie, where the roasted meat sandwiches change daily. Every Monday they offer the Pork Arista (which was also named one of Village Voice’s top dishes this year). The soft and peppery roasted pork needs no mustard or vegetables – just a buttery baguette to sop up all the flavor. This is only available for lunch, so pass the crowds and follow your nose (not your religion). Price: $11.80/$13.80

ROSTICCERIA AT EATALY
200 Fifth Avenue (between 23rd and 24th Street),
Flatiron District
(212) 539-0204
eatalyny.com/rosticceria

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For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

Sometimes conquering this list is all about convenience. I was attending a friend’s birthday part at Patsy’s Pizzeria up in East Harlem one night and I realized Taco Mix, a list item stop, was a few blocks away. Since I very rarely (if ever) find myself in this part of Harlem, I decided to make a pre-pizza taco run. Ah, the life of a food blogger!

Taco Mix is a hole in the wall with a single table in back and a standing room only counter. It’s what all good taco places should be. I was sort of surprised at the crowd inside, but I managed to order my Al Pastor Taco, scarf it down, and make it to the party just a few minutes late.

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I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 70: BROCCOLI SANDWICH at NO. 7 SUB SHOP

The menu at No. 7 Sub Shop, which is located inside the Ace Hotel, is bizarre. And even I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. The odd combinations sounded exciting, but a sandwich simply called Broccoli was confusing. Who wants to eat a broccoli sandwich? But after being blown away by the General Tso’s Tofu (a strange combination that was delicious!), I figured I’d take a chance.

Listen to these ingredients: broccoli, lychee, pine nuts, and ricotta salata cheese. What the – ? It works wonders. The earthy roasted broccoli is spectacularly tender and plays off the salty cheese and the tangy lychee. The pine nuts add the perfect crunch. This may be one of the most bizarre sandwiches I’ve ever encountered, but it’s definitely one of the best. And there’s no meat anywhere. Imagine that! Price: $9

NO. 7 SUB SHOP
1188 Broadway (between 28th and 29th Street),
Inside the Ace Hotel
Flatiron District
(212) 532-1680
no7sub.com

NUMBER 69: AL PASTOR CEMITA at EL PASO TAQUERIA

El Paso Taqueria is my go-to restaurant whenever I visit my friends who live in the food lacking area of East Harlem. They live off the 103rd train station. A little further north or south has plenty of options, but in this area there’s nothing terribly exciting (especially now that La Fonda Boricua closed). But El Paso Taqueria, which has a few other locations nearby and recently expanded from a take-out shop, serves delicious, authentic Mexican food in a grown-up comfortable dining room.

I’ve eaten in a few times, but usually still do the take-out or delivery. And once I discovered their cemitas, it’s hard for me to try anything else. The flattened, grilled sesame bread holds any number of spicy, sweet ingredients. I’m partial to the smoky grilled pork (al pastor) accompanied by stretchy salty oaxaca cheese, sweet marinated pineapples and onions, and large intense chipotle peppers. It makes my trip to this neighborhood worthwhile. Price: $6.95

EL PASO TAQUERIA
1643 Lexington Avenue (between 103rd and 104th Street)
East Harlem
(212) 831-9831
237 East 116th Street (between 3rd and 2nd Avenue)
East Harlem
(212) 860-4875
64 East 97th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue)
East Harlem
(212) 996-1739
elpasotaqueria.com

NUMBER 68: BURGER at BURGER & BARREL

When I went to lunch at Burger & Barrel in the touristy, shopping district of Soho, I felt like I was in a chain restaurant in a shopping mall somewhere in middle America. I’ve heard this place fills up and is quite a scene at night, but for lunch it was reminiscent of my suburban, food pathetic childhood. Maroon 5 playing on the radio didn’t help.

But the food, especially the famous Bash Burger, was nothing like the grub you get at Applebee’s or TGI Fridays. Chef Josh Capon (of high-end fish bar Lure) concocts an amazingly delicious, perfectly cooked burger. The caramelized onions and bacon jam bring a rich, sweetness to the charred meat patty. And just in case there wasn’t enough flavor, he tops the bun with two fried thick onion rings. You can see why this burger won a People’s Choice Awards. Has Ruby Tuesday’s ever done that?? Price: $15

BURGER & BARREL
25 West Houston Street (between Mercer and Crosby Street),
Soho
(212) 334-7320
burgerandbarrel.com

NUMBER 67: SAUSAGE, BROCCOLI RABE, MUSHROOM, & TALEGGIO PANINI at BOCCA LUPO

I had heard raves about Bocca Lupo since they opened in 2006 and walking by, it looks like a very romantic, lively restaurant. But the menu I had seen online didn’t scream “dinner” to me. This restaurant is mostly known for their tramezzinis and paninis. And while there were plenty of cheese, wine, and sliced meats listed, I kept putting it off because I prefer more than a little grazing when I go out for dinner.

Turns out I greatly underestimated Bocca Lupo. We had meatballs, lamb chops, a nice salad, and a wonderful panini. All were filling and tasty and we left spending just a moderate amount of money. The panini was the panini of my dreams. I’m still dreaming about the classic combination of fennel-studded pork sausage, bitter and tender broccoli rabe, soft and meaty mushrooms, and melted nutty taleggio cheese. The crusty bread was a phenomenal crunchy beginning to the garlicky flavors inside and the side of cauliflower was greatly appreciated and more refined than a bag of chips. Looks like Bocca Lupo got the last laugh. Thankfully so. Price: $11

BOCCA LUPO
391 Henry Street (between Congress and Warren Street),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
(718) 243-2522

NUMBER 66: TURKEY CLUB at COURT STREET GROCERS

Poor turkey. Aside from Thanksgiving, I think it gets beat up quite a bit. It’s usually amped up with chemicals and turned into a thinly sliced deli meat that’s mostly bland and dry. But the turkey revolution has begun. More and more high end deli/restaurants are making a moist, tender fowl.

Court Street Grocers specializes in interesting and artisanal food products, but at the back counter they have a menu of some well-thought out, tasty sandwiches. I’ve had a few amazing specialities there, but the Turkey Club has got to be the best. It’s a double layer of turkey goodness. The first layer is a mound of turkey confit (that’s right, it’s cooked in fat), which brings even more flavor to the already superior dark meat. And the second layer houses juicy, moist white meat that’s been marinated and roasted in herbs. Smoky bacon, a schmear of mayo, crisp iceberg, and a fresh tomato slice round out the top layer. It’s sandwiched with Orwasher’s white bread and puts all other turkey clubs to shame. Makes me want to join an actual Turkey Club. Do those even exist? Price: $12

COURT STREET GROCERS
485 Court Street (between Nelson and Huntington Street),
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
(718) 722-7229
courtstreetgrocers.com

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