Tag Archives: Polish

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.

The greatest day in mobile food vending is back. On September 12, the Vendy Awards will take place on Governor’s Island honoring the greatest in New York’s food vending community. Tickets are still available for purchase here. For the next few weeks, I’ll be documenting all of the nominees in three categories.

Rookie of the Year: Old Traditional Polish Cuisine

There’s dozens of taco trucks, plenty of pizza vehicles, and a myriad of lobster roll wagons in this city. But there’s only one truck selling the hearty, traditional food from Poland. Pierogies and kielbasa make for excellent street food and Old Traditional Polish Cuisine is cooking them up with authentic flavors and straight from the heart.

Old Traditional Polish Cuisine

Dessert of the Year: Doughnuttery

Evan Feldman had a brilliant new idea about doughnuts. At Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market or at Broadway Bites, he fries all his mini-doughnuts to order (on an invenive machine) and then shakes them up with uniquely flavored sugars infused with surprising ingredients like coffee, bacon, or purple potato chips. This makes for a magical, fresh, and addicting take on the usually ordinary fried dough.

Market Vendor of the Year: Gumbo Bros.

At Madison Square Eats, you can find a range of food vendors, but the one to check out as the weather gets colder and you start craving hearty, spicy stews is Gumbo Bros. Started by friends and LSU alum Adam and Clay as a way to fill their gumbo craving, it’s one of the few spots in the city to get authentic, full-flavored Cajun food.


Category: Video

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

KARCZMA, 136 Greenpoint Avenue (between Manhattan Avenue and Frankin Street), Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Normally, I try to be mindful of eating too many carbs. A sandwich is one thing, but double or triple carbs in one meal is only reserved for special occasions. But when the weather gets as cold as it has been lately, all bets are off. I bring out my sleeping bag coat and I order carb upon carb upon carb.

So I did not feel even the slightest bit guilty when a large bread bowl of steaming Polish soup was placed in front of me along with a side of mashed potatoes and bacon. That’s how Karczma, the kitschy Polish diner out in Greenpoint, serves their white borscht. The side of potatoes is not optional and is included in the $3.50 price tag.

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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

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

BROOKLYN PIGGIES
Available at Smorgasburg:
80 North 5th Street (at Wythe Avenue),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Winter Location: Saturdays and Sundays)
brooklynpiggies.com

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My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….

SADLY, EAGLE PROVISIONS IS NOW CLOSED.

EAGLE PROVISIONS, 628 5th Avenue (at 18th Street), South Slope, Brooklyn
When this hot dog search began last year, I received comments urging me to check out the frankfurters at some of Brooklyn’s Polish meat markets. I hear Polish and I immediately think Greenpoint – the neighborhood known for pierogies as much as its known for hipsters. I still need to get out there to try Mazur’s Meat Market, but my first Polish hot dog experience was at Eagle Provisions, which is situated in the in-between neighborhood of South Slope. Some might say this is Sunset Park, others Greenwood Heights.

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Category: Hot Dogs

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 20: HAZELNUT SOUFFLE at MEHTAPHOR

Just in time for the biggest consumer holiday of them all, I thought it would be appropriate to examine five of the sweetest dough-based bites I consumed this year. Christmas time is for cookies and cakes, but most of us are happy to eat them all year long. When done right, the warm doughy concoctions are transcendent.

Chef Jenghar Mehta certainly knows from cakes and cookies, having been the pastry chef at Jean Georges. Most familiar for his appearance on the Next Iron Chef, this man seems to be able to do it all. At the end of a very nice and affordable savory meal of unique global flavors at his restaurant Mehtaphor, we stumbled upon his masterful hazelnut souffle. Light and airy, while also being buttery and rich, it paired nicely with a scoop of rum raisin ice cream. Price: $7

MEHTAPHOR
130 Duane Street (at Church Street),
Inside Duane Street Hotel
Tribeca
(212) 542-9440
mehtaphornyc.com

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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 60: DUMPLINGS at WHITE BEAR

All the dumplings I tasted out in Flushing (the Chinatown of Queens) were stellar, but the best version I had was at an unassuming little storefront that used to be an ice cream shop (and still has signs for it!). White Bear serves up my favorite dumplings in the city.

And while most reviewers and eaters go ga-ga over the #6 (the wontons with hot sauce), I preferred the simplicity of the #19. The moist filling was full of complex, diverse flavors and textures: crunchy Chinese cabbage, meaty pork, and spicy ginger. The wrappers were the softest and most tender I had sampled. It almost didn’t even need the soy vinegar that they’re served with. The #6 were also pretty darn tasty, but I recommend coming here with some friends and trying as many different varieties as possible.

WHITE BEAR
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue (entrance on Prince Street between Roosevelt and 40th Road)
Flushing, Queens
(718) 961-2322

NUMBER 59: PIEROGIES at LOMZYNIANKA

You can get pierogies from almost any corner in Greenpoint. While the young hipsters are moving in, the Polish community is not going anywhere. My favorite of these Polish restaurants (I’ve not been to all of them) is Lomzynianka, which resides on the main drag of Manhattan Avenue. The food is affordable, hearty, and authentic.

I liked this place so much that I brought a tour group by one Saturday. I was hired to customize a food tour of Brooklyn and this was a must-stop. We got a tasting of their pierogies and all the different stuffings (including potato, mushroom and sauerkraut, and beef) are delicious, but I really love the Farmer’s Cheese. This is not made from the milk of a farmer, but instead a sweet cow’s milk not too dissimilar to cottage cheese. The rich sweetness of the stuffing is cut by the crunchy, greasy dough wrapper which is topped with beautifully caramelized onions. A side of sour cream adds some cooling tang. Price: $5.50

LOMZYNIANKA
646 Manhattan Avenue (between Bedford Avenue and Norman Avenue)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
(718) 389-9439
lomzynianka.com

NUMBER 58: HOUSEMADE RICOTTA RAVIOLI at ABC KITCHEN

Of all the things I tasted at ABC Kitchen, I’m sort of shocked that the dish I keep coming back to were the ravioli. I only had a taste of them since somebody else at the table ordered them, but I was surprised at the brightness and sweetness to this rather ordinary sounding dish.

The plump ravioli were stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese and topped with parmesan and herb oil. Underneath was a complex, but light tomato sauce. These flavors are rather obvious and traditional, but here they were elevated to something fresh and delicious. And that’s why I can’t stop thinking about a bite of someone else’s dish. Price: $15 (appetizer)/$23 (entree)

ABC KITCHEN
35 East 18th Street (between Broadway and South Park Avenue)
Flatiron District
(212) 475-5829
abckitchennyc.com

NUMBER 57: BUREKA at GAZALA PLACE

Ever heard of Druze food? I hadn’t either until my first visit to Gazala Place some years ago. Druze is actually a religious group that primarily reside in the Middle East, with Israeli, Syrian, and Lebanese influences. The food is easier to classify as Middle Eastern. And the only place I know of that serves this speciality cuisine in the city is Gazala Place, which now has two locations.

The rotating list of fillings is always encased by a rich, buttery bun made of browned flaky phyllo dough. The sesame seed crusted pie falls apart in tender delicious bites. I’m partial to the sundried tomato and goat cheese stuffed boureka which has a savory sweetness that makes me want to learn more about Druze food.

GAZALA PLACE
709 Ninth Avenue (between 48th and 49th Street)
Hell’s Kitchen
(212) 245-0709
380 Columbus Avenue (between 77th and 78th Street)
Upper West Side
(212) 873-8880
gazalaplace.com

NUMBER 56: VARENIKI “KUBAN” at CAFE GLECHIK

Whenever I travel anywhere, I make it worth my stomach’s while. So when I took the trip out to Coney Island one afternoon, I figured I’d better get in all the eating I could. And since the Russian-Ukranian neighborhood of Brighton Beach was just a few blocks away, I knew I’d be having a taste of Eastern Europe. But I’m never content just sampling one thing, so before the main course of a gutbomb chicken tabka at Kebeer, I visited nearby Cafe Glechik for an appetizer of Russian dumplings.

This place is known for the varniki, which are smaller and more delicate than pierogies. I chose the Kuban, which houses mozzarella cheese and is topped with a gorgeous amount of my favorite herb, dill. They knew how to win me over. An order comes with about 20 of these almost bite-sized dumplings. They were so tender and pleasant that it was practically impossible to not finish the entire plate. Price: $8.50

CAFE GLECHIK
3159 Coney Island Avenue (between Brighton Beach Avenue and Brighton 10th Street)
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
(718) 616-0766
1655 Sheepshead Bay Road (between Jerome Avenue and Voorhies Avenue)
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
(718) 332-2414
glechik.com

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