After downing those tasty slices, we walked south to 116th St. and then west to Lexington Ave. to catch the 6 train down to the Upper East Side. Harlem definitely has more of a family/neighborhood feel to it than many areas of Manhattan and the influence of the residents, especially in Spanish Harlem can be seen here in the form of religious figurines and images for sale and Lucha Libre masks.
After a brief ride on the subway, we got off at 86th St. and walked one block east to 3rd Ave. and our third stop, Papaya King
. The hot dogs here are not the best I've ever had but they do scratch a certain itch and sometimes I just crave them. Getting a couple of hot dogs and a cold papaya or coconut drink here at this tiny, tiny place is a true NYC experience.
I've always been a big fan of the Papaya and the Coconut Champagne drinks. Sometimes after a run in Central Park I'll come over here and get a couple of dogs and a drink as my post-run reward.
I love all of the different signs they have in here promoting the drinks as health tonics. My favorite is the one that says their hot dogs are tastier than filet mignon. I do enjoy these dogs but that may be pushing it!
I'll take one of those really dark, crusty dogs, please.
A dog with sauerkraut, mustard and ketchup and a Papaya drink was just what I needed. The dogs usually come plain and the countermen will add sauerkraut and/or onions in sauce free of charge. Adding mustard and/or ketchup is at the customer's discretion. Stephen Rushmore Jr.
and a few others headed across the street to pick up some shakes at the Shake Shack across the street. And as Stephen recalled, this location recently started serving fresh cut fries. He brought some over and they were really good. I took a pull off of
The Travelin' Man's Chris'
Pumpkin shake which was also quite good.
A few people peeled of the tour and went shopping and met up with us at the next stop, Lexington Candy Shop
, which was just a short walk from Papaya King. This was a bit tight. They were pretty busy and 15 or so people walking in at once made it even moreso. Between booths and seats at the counter we managed to make it work.
Love that neon!
And a vast collection of commemorative Coke bottles on display in the window. I always seem to find one I've never seen before.
I went with a root beer float with chocolate ice cream which was good.
I really loved Dayna's rice pudding. I LOVE Rice To Riches on Spring Street but this rice pudding really reminded me of the one I had as a child and it truly tasted homemade.
As Buffetbuster was perusing the menu he came across the first audible of the day. This Lexington is known for their malted, shakes, egg creams ands such but a "butter burger"? Wisconsin this is not but he opted for it and a few of us gave it a try. While I'm sure this burger won't leave anyone at Solly's in Milwaukee quaking in their shoes, it was mighty fine. A nice amount of pink still in the meat and buttery good! Well played, BB!!
And of course, the obligatory picture pif a Roadfooder taking a picture of their food. Thanks for the action shot, TTM!! WJ's friend Ian and Stephen Rushmore Jr. had to take off at this point. Thanks for joining us guys!
Chris & Amy had peeled away from this stop to check out another place and on the way there came across Le Churro
, the second audible of the day.
Churros are a fried dough piped into a deep fryer and usually coated in a cinnamon-sugar mix or offered with dipping sauces.
Chris & Amy shared this chocolate coated one which was really good.
I picked up an order of 4 with a side of Milk Caramel dip. Another winner and that dip was amazing. Reminded me very much of dulce de leche. The only weak point for me is that the dip was served cold and had I known I would have asked for it warm.
Buffetbuster and Mariton grabbed a thick hot chocolate and said it was quite good. Looks like I'll have to make another trip to check out some more churros!
After out tasty churros snack we took the Lexington Avenue line (the 6 train) down to 59th Street and walked west past Central Park to our next stop. Apparently, you CAN get to Carnegie Hall without practice, practice, practice!!
A few blocks south we arrived at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel
Just inside the lobby and inside the velvet curtain is this neon cheeseburger sign, home of Burger Joint
. Honestly, I had tried this one time some years ago and just didn't get the appeal. Then Stephen Rushmore Jr. had written a review here on RF and I decided to give it another try. Boy, am I ever glad that I did. This is one place you would never think to find when walking by an upscale midtown Manhattan hotel.
Plenty of interesting signs while you wait in line. It's a tiny place and the line can be pretty long to get in. When I came by earlier in the week it was 38 minutes from when I stepped in line until I ordered. I had thought about scrubbing this from the tour as it really can be problematic with a large group but I felt that the burgers were really worth it so I had faith that it would all work out. As it turned out about nine of us went to the hotel and six of us ended up going in while the others checked out the hotel. Dayna, myself, Wanderingjew, Sandra, Karilyn and Kendall waited in line for about 20 minutes.
Just know what you want and how you want it as they are usually very busy and want to keep things moving along.
A simple menu
The burgers here pick up a wonderful flavor from being cooked over an open flame grill.
My cheeseburger (cooked medium) with ketchup, mustard and mayo. Not the best shot ever but a darn tasty cheeseburger and very juicy.
My cheeseburger with the "works" from earlier in the week. A much better picture. These are a joyous mess to eat and totally worth the wait.
My burger and fries. I do like the fries here though they are not the best I've ever had. Like McDonald's style, only better.
I finally decided to try the chocolate shake. This really reminded me of the McDonald's version. Far from the best shake I have ever had it really came into its own when I used it as a dip for my french fries, which elicited many arched brows from my fellow booth companions. Fortunately, I was vindicated later on when Chris said he used to dip his fries into his Frosty at Wendy's as a kid. I knew I liked you, man!!
Some shots of the hotel lobby
We exited through this bar. I really was drawn to this and would love to come back for a drink.
Initially, my thought was that some of us could take our burgers and fries to go and sit here in Paley Park on 53rd Street near Madison Avenue. There are a few parks like this in the city with waterfalls that provide an tiny oasis away from the noise and craziness of the Big Apple.
And right next door, as I discovered were 5 sections of the Berlin Wall on display. We didn't make it here as this stop would have put us behind and we might have missed our last stop on the tour. Here's some info in case anyone wants to check it out on another trip: http://1000thingsnyc.com/berlin-wall/
We took a short walk and hopped on the R train at 57th Street and exited at 23rd Street & 5th Avenue, right in front of the iconic Flatiron Building (named so as it resembled a cast iron clothing iron from the time when it was built (1902)). I love the building from this angle. Almost seems like an optical illusion. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatiron_Building
Our last official stop on the tour was Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
, right across the street from the Flatiron Building.
Love those old stools.
Man, EVERYBODY is into Breaking Bad!
When we arrived Tim, Teri and Colleen were already here and seated at a table in the back. I was disappointed to find out we couldn't sit in the back as well as they had closed it off for the night. We had gotten there at 5 and they were closing at 6. So the gang found space at the 2-tops and stools in the front.
I split an egg salad with lettuce on rye with Karliyn. A classic sandwich that they do very well.
A side of tart potato salad that I think was a mayo/vinegar mix.
And a chocolate egg cream to wash it all down. I know some of the others had ordered pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup, tuna/egg salad combo sandwiches, etc. Please feel free to post any photos/comments, I'd love to see them! Eisenberg's is really a classic New York place that has me coming back again and again.
The Travelin' Man and a photo of Josh Ozersky (aka Mr. Cutlets). Separated at birth?
That's it for the official tour. WJ, Sandra, Karilyn, Tim, Terri and Colleen had to take off so we said our goodbyes, Buffetbuster and Mariton decided to call it a night but would be around tomorrow to meet up.
But stay tuned...much more to come at the "after tour" and the next day!!!
<message edited by billyboy on Sat, 02/22/14 4:53 AM>