Sesame pancake and pork & chive dumplings from Vanessa's Dumplings, Lower East Side, NYC. After 10 visits I stopped counting. The combination of the greasy, nutty, chewy pancake and the tender, juicy dumplings scented with ginger has won me over again and again. Watching the ladies make them through the glass window and consuming them on the street makes for an experience I will never tire of. One of my favorite places to bring out-of town guests.
Peanut butter glazed, strawberry jelly filled doughnut and Blackout doughnut from the Doughnut Plant, Lower East Side, NYC. Shocking that this is on my list, I know. The most surprising part is that I have not had one from this place in a month and a half. You'll pardon me if my typing is a bit off as my hand is trembling Pricey, yes, but always top notch and the when their doughnuts have a name listing the main ingredients not only can you taste them but they really shine through.
Man-Made Mascarpone & Fluent In French Toast rice puddings at Rice To Riches in Nolita (North of Little Italy), NYC. This place has been around for over a decade selling nothing but rice pudding and I am always blown away at first bite every time I go there. The MMM is my go-to flavor but they really nailed it with the FIFT!
Nutella-Banana panini from BITE in Greenwich Village, NYC. Nutella, bananas and pressed, crunchy, crispy ciabatta bread. What's not to utterly love? Belushi had his Little Chocolate Donuts, I have this.
Lamb sausage with yogurt-mint sauce at Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System. I only made it here once in 2010 with Chris & Amy and my girlfriend, but what an impression it made. A nicely charred lamb sausage encased in a hollowed out, toasted baguette and slathered with a most tasty yogurt-mint sauce. A kissing cousin to the gyro.
BBQ Beans with burnt ends at R.U.B. BBQ in Chelsea, NYC. A must order when I go here. Some love it or hate it but I can't get enough of them. Powerfully flavored, spicy and packs a smoky punch in the mouth!
Margarita slice and Spinach & Artichoke slice at Artichoke in the East Village, NYC. A relative newcomer on the scene but a standing room only place cranking out some delicious pies. The S & A slice tastes like the best party dip ever found it's true home on a pizza. And it appears Old Man Parker's Major Award "Fragile" lamp has been resurrected!
Toasted Marshmallow milkshake at STAND in Union Square, NYC. Like a campfire in a glass. Nuff said.
Various pizzas from Pulino's Bar-Pizzeria on the Bowery, NYC. From the top: meatball pizza with pickled chiles, rock shrimp, fennel & sausage pizza and I'm not entirely sure of the third one but it might be the roasted pork pizza we had. There was all amazing and unlike any other I have ever eaten. Light, crispy, chewy and abundant in flavor, they won us (my girlfriend plus two of our friends) over.
The "That Way" sandwich at This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef in Greenwich Village, NYC. I HAD to include the exterior lest anyone think I was making up the name of this place. I had been reading about this spot for months and it more than lived up to my expectations. Fall apart tender roast beef, fresh mozzarella melting under hot beef gravy and a sturdy roll that holds up well...well, it was a messy affair, but soooo good.
The whole menu at Shopsin's General Store in the Essex Market, Lower east Side, NYC. A bold statement, sure and having only been there twice perhaps a bit too confident but I have never been so completely moved by food. Everything pictured here was like an opera of tastes without a single false note. From the crispy fried potatoes to the green chile cheeseburger sliders, apple-cinnamon pancakes and the butterscotch ebelskivers, everything was addicting. Pricey, sure. All fresh, local ingredients, doubtful. However, the respect that Kenny and his family give the ingredients they have on hand has enabled them to turn out some of the most inspired food I have seen in years and all in a tiny closet of a food stall. This approach has won them legions of fans and after having a chance to engage kenny in conversation, I count myself among them.