Our one and only Bub got to grace NYC with his presence by attending the amazingly awesome Tribecca Film Festival. Okay, so maybe Bub was the lucky one and not NYC but either way I thought I would try and do something a little different this week. Let me start out by saying that I have been to New York four times in my short time on earth for various reasons. Being the foodie that I am, it’s one of the first things that I look into when planning a trip. What type, style, nostalgia and specialties does a town have as far as eats. New York is a game changer in the food world. Instead of asking what do they have, you have to ask what don’t they have. You can spend as little as $2.50 for street cart hot dog or as much as $1000 for an ice cream sundae at Serendipity covered with $23k edible gold leave and a special vanilla bean from Madagascar along with the rare chocolates flown in from Venezuela’s coast. That is the amazing thing about food in New York, it doesn’t have to break your wallet to be great. So….drum roll please…. Here are my top five MUST HAVE noshes while in the Big Apple.
5. Grays Papaya Dog.
No worries, this isn’t some hippie, vegan, “I don’t eat pig” type of hot dog. Grays is located on 402 Sixth Avenue and Broadway and is a staple for the hot dog lovers. They have the “recession special” for $3.50 which includes a papaya drink and two hot dogs with everything (everything in NY terms means mustard, sauerkraut and onions). For you NYC newbies out there, NYC onions are not your run of the mill sliced onions. No sir. Think of it as more of a sauce. They take sweet onions and cook them with vinegar and ketchup until they are more like marmalade. They are FREAKING FANTASTIC and even your every day street cart dog will have them. It may sound a bit different but it WORKS. The flavors and textures all blend together to create a wonderful taste. The sweetness melts with the saltiness and then the tang and BAM – it hits all the flavor notes on your taste buds and is a must try for a mere $3.50
4. Black and White Cookie.
Ah, the famous Seinfeld cookie. The TV show may not have made the cookie but it did make it more famous. Like most things in NYC, you will find hundreds of imitators ranging from purses to food to Rolex watches – there is always a knockoff somewhere. Same thing goes with the infamous Black and White Cookie. However, at William Greenberg Desserts on Madison Avenue and 82nd, you will find the best. Since 1946, Greenberg Desserts have been cranking out these politically correct cookies. These cookies aren’t just your average cookie. Their texture is more like a sponge cake and that fluffy goodness is then covered with a layer of fondant. As you guessed it, the fondant is vanilla and chocolate, hence the “black and white cookie”, I know: DUH! It is light and airy and a perfect desert, or breakfast, or dinner…well, you know what I mean – it’s great at any time!
3. Egg Cream.
How disgusting does an “egg cream” sound? Don’t let the name fool you, they are delicious. It is a simple NYC drink that you can find at Einenbegs. Yep, that’s right, it’s a drink. No, it’s not some old timey bare knuckle boxing drink that a boxer would drink to cure rickets. It doesn’t even contain eggs. Say What?? It’s a mixture of milk, seltzer and chocolate. I know, you are salivating even thinking about it now and the gross thought of creamy eggs is out of your mind. It has a rich and smooth chocolate milk flavor that doesn’t give you that full belly feeling you get after woofing down an entire glass of chocolate milk. The added bonus is that you get chocolate flavored burps for a good portion of the day. The gift that keeps on giving!
2. Katz Deli.
Okay, there are a TON of delis in NYC and every other state you go to touts a NY Style Deli. None of them, and I mean NONE, can compare to Katz. It’s everything that’s right with a deli and that’s why it’s been copied all over the United States. All of their sandwiches are made to order and piled high with your choice of meat, cheeses and bread. The simple pastrami on rye with a little mustard will knock you out. If you aren’t a fan of pastrami they have you covered by offering up corned beef, roast beef homemade soups, new and old pickles and just about every combination you can think of. Now, it is going to run you about $13 a sandwich but you are a beast if you can finish even half of it so it does carry some bang for your buck. Half now, half later means two meals in one – BONUS!
1. Slice of Pizza.
Yep, that simple, just a slice of pizza is the best cheap eat. I purposely didn’t recommend a certain place because this no doubt will start a “Gangs of New York” style street brawl. NYC residents are beyond passionate about their pizza. You can find a place on just about every corner with a slice going from $1.25 to $5.00 depending on the location and toppings. However, I recommend your first slice being one that is barren of all toppings and just has sauce and cheese. Get a real taste of the pizza before piling all of those tasty toppings on it. They say there is something different about the thin crust of a New York pie that is unlike any other. Maybe it’s the water or their technique in making and heating the slice. Regardless of what their trick is, it makes for a mouthwatering slice of heaven. There is something special about a NY pizza. For the price you cannot go wrong thanks to the giant slice you are given. It is the size of two normal slices – which accounts for the famous taco type fold style of eating. There is just something satisfying about folding a slice while stepping outside to listen to the humdrum of the city and taking that first bite of the chewy thin crust that makes this the number one nosh in NYC.