Tag Archives: Veronica’s Kitchen

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.

We start just about every one of our Financial District food cart tours at Veronica’s Kitchen. This is where Veronica Julien is preparing the best jerk chicken I’ve tasted in the entire city. She’s been doing it for almost 10 years and works harder each week than I do in a single day.


Category: Video

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 45: PUPUSAS at EL OLOMEGA

The winner of this year’s NY Vendy Awards (the awards given out every year to food carts and trucks) was Solber Pupusas, which has been serving pupusas at the Red Hook Ball Fields for the last 10 years or so. But about a decade before Solber pulled up to the soccer park, El Olomega began serving these Salvadoran specialties. And they’re still doing it every April through October.

Pupusas, for the unfortunate uninitiated, are grilled corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and any number of meat or vegetables (including Time Out’s favorite, zucchini). The fillings are always fresh and flavorful here and they’re held up by a charred sweet corn patty and a trio of sides: tomato salsa, fried plantains, and a tangy mound of pickled cole slaw. I think it’s about time El Olomega got some Vendy love.

EL OLOMEGA
Red Hook Ball Fields
Clinton Street and Bay Street
Red Hook, Brooklyn
elolomega.com

NUMBER 44: JERK CHICKEN at VERONICA’S KITCHEN

I’ve been on somewhat of a jerk chicken kick this year. Maybe it’s because I’ve been immersed in the world of food carts (because of the Urban Oyster tours) and there are quite a few Caribbean vendors making their own versions. One of the best I’ve ever tasted is the one coming out of Trinidadian owned Veronica’s Kitchen.

Veronica Julien serves a wide range of Caribbean specialities, like roti and curry goat, but her chicken is phenomenal. Due to space restrictions on her cart, she roasts the chicken (as opposed to the usual grilling), but still gets a smoky dark char on the meat. Speckled with pepper flakes and cooled down with allspice and garlic, the fall-off-the-bone meat is full of flavored and feels as if it’s been lovingly cooked in someone’s home kitchen. It just so happens to be a kitchen on wheels. Price: $6/$8

VERONICA’S KITCHEN
Front Street (at Pine Street)
Financial District

NUMBER 43: CHICKEN SOUVAKI STICK at SOUVLAKI GR

It sure says something if I eat the same thing for lunch over and over again. I’m the kind of person who likes variety and mostly prefers to go to new restaurants rather than repeat places and if I do re-visit a restaurant, I will most definitely try something different (unless a dish made this list, of course).

Whenever I’m down in the Financial District (which is about twice a week), I make a stop at the Souvlaki GR truck to get a few of their chicken sticks (usually over a salad). This Greek food truck is just over a year old and already has two Vendy Awards, a brick and mortar restaurant, and a spot on my 100 Best list from last year for their Greek fries. The more authentic order would be pork (Time Out even included that on their current list), but I prefer the leaner and softer chicken. They shun the chicken breast and instead use marinated skewers of chicken thigh (the more flavorful cut) on the charcoal grill to give it a blackened, tender flavor that is tastier than any chicken should be. Included in an order is their unbelievably fluffy homemade pita bread and real Greek tzatziki sauce. Price: $1.75 per stick.

SOUVLAKI GR
Front Street and Old Slip,
Financial District
116 Stanton Street (between Ludlow and Essex Street)
Lower East Side
(212) 777-0116
souvlakigr.com

NUMBER 42: LAMB MARRAKECH at BISTRO TRUCK

There have been quite a few changes at Bistro Truck this past year. For starters, they decided to bring the love to other neighborhoods in New York (instead of parking every day in the Flatiron, like they did the previous year). They also re-vamped the menu, adding a delicious lamb burger and fish sandwich.

Their famous lamb marrakech also got some tweaks. Instead of using lamb meat, owner Yassir Raouli now uses a whole lamb shank. It’s served on the bone, which is beside the point since the tender braised meat falls right off it. It’s topped with some caramelized onions and almonds for texture, with a side of cous cous, salad, and spicy harissa sauce. This is the kind of gourmet food you expect at a restaurant, not a food truck. However my behavior of gnawing on the bone to savor every morsel of meat is probably best tolerated on the streets. Price: $10

BISTRO TRUCK
Locations Vary; Will Return in the Spring
Follow on Twitter: @bistrotruck
bistrotruck.com

NUMBER 41: CHICKEN BREAST KABOB at KWIK MEAL

I mentioned above that Souvlaki GR uses the thigh meat of the chicken because it has much more flavor than the easy to dry out breast meat. Well, Muhammed Rahman at Kwik Meal has been using the thigh meat for years in his chicken over rice. But this year, he began offering the white breast meat as a chicken kabob over rice. And he’s somehow figured out how to master this forbidden poultry cut.

The chicken is marinated with special spices including cumin and garlic and dotted with red chili flakes. The smoky meat is grilled perfectly maintaining a tender, juicy texture. A serving of the famous green chili sauce adds some tangy  heat while the yogurt sauce cools things down a bit. A definite notch up from most halal carts in the city.

KWIK MEAL
West 45th Street (at Sixth Avenue)
Midtown West
kwikmeal.net

Once again Time Out New York released their Top 100 Dishes of the year and once again, I’m going to eat my way through every one. And no price point or subway delay will stop me. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.

Most people would throw in the towel right now. I’m not most people.

Technically, I’ve failed. One of my Time Out list items is unattainable. Barry’s Jerk Delights, which supposedly served some amazing jerk chicken, is no longer open. I had been calling for a few days and the number had been temporarily disconnected. I tried not to freak out and chalked it up to maybe a changed phone number.

But when we arrived in a rough neighborhood of the Bronx and looked for the storefront that matched Barry’s address, we found something that was not on Time Out’s list: a shuttered storefront with a sign reading, “Coming Soon: Richie Rich Caribbean Taste”. Where was Barry’s? Looks like we were too late. I guess Barry’s has gone out of business.

I was really craving some spicy jerk chicken too – not to mention eager to get another list item. Since I did go up to where Barry’s was supposed to be and did everything I could (aside from traveling back in time) to taste the list item, I’m going to check it off and use this space to talk about another jerk chicken that I think deserves mention.

Veronica’s Kitchen is one of the carts I frequent on my downtown food cart tour. And she serves the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had. It’s served on the bone, but Veronica’s culinary techniques is no match for that bone. The meat slides right off. The moist white meat, which is dotted with dark-drown spices and flecks of red chilies, melted away with each delicious bite. Allspice and scotch bonnet peppers are the usual main ingredients in jerk and they were ever present here. And while the heat is intense, it never gets to the point of being overwhelming.

She serves it with some spinach-flecked rice and a choice of any southern comfort side, my favorite being the soft macaroni and cheese and the intensely flavored pumpkin.

Barry’s unfortunately got away from me, but I’m still going. I’m more than 3/4 through the list and I already know there will be more bumps in the road. But like I’ve said, nothing’s going to stop me from trying all 100 dishes. I just might have to make a few adjustments. I’m sure Time Out will understand.

Would Barry Jerk Delights’ Jerk Chicken make my Top 100 of the year? I guess I’ll never know, but I assure you Veronica’s Kitchen’s version will, earning a 9 out of 10. I can only imagine it is as good, if not better than Barry’s. But for now, I’ll just have to keep imagining.

VERONICA’S KITCHEN
Front Street (at Pine Street)
Financial District

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