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Papaya Dog

1 Feb

Papaya Dog

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
239 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
(215) 468-1546
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Nearest Transit:
1 Av (L)
3 Av (L)
14 St – Union Sq (4, 5, 6, 6X)
Facebook // Foursquare

Quick food that usually stomach-able for most New Yorkers

There’s no shortages of hotdogs in New York City; there’s carts, stands, trucks, and even restaurants all dedicated to selling this stuff. Most aren’t great, but they are a staple of NYC. I grew up in NYC and I grew up eating hotdogs. Over the years, it has been a love-hate relationship. Like McDonald’s, I know this stuff isn’t good for me but for nostalgia’s sake I keep coming back.

Papaya Dog is a hotdog joint that I’ve been to a couple of times now. They have locations scattered around the city, but the only one I’ve ever been to is the PD off of 1st Ave in the LES. The dogs here are nice and crisp, having been cooked on griddle instead of being drowned in steaming water. The buns are toasted on a grill along side the dogs. Choose from: regular, turkey, or even vegetarian. My usual is two regulars ($1.50 each), they offer a combo that gets you two dogs and a 16 ounce drink for $4 (I think it use to be only $3.50). They boast that their drinks have no artificial chemicals and are 100% natural, but they taste like the complete opposite. They also serve Fries, Philly cheese steaks, and other sandwichs. Skip all that junk, the hotdogs are the only thing worth trying here.

Papaya Dog
French fries (looks and tastes as though they have been deep fried many times over)

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Bobby Van’s Burger

31 Jan

Bobby Van’s Burger

Rating: ★★★☆☆
120 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
info45@bobbyvans.com
Website
(212) 575-2599
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 12 am
Nearest Transit:
Times Sq – 42 St (S)
47 – 50 Sts – Rockefeller Ctr (B, D, F, M)
42 St – Bryant Pk (B, D, F, M)
Facebook // Foursquare

Off to the side and back of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse sits a small open kitchen grill that wips up burgers at a frantic pace to meet the demands of the midtown lunch crowd. The wait during peek hours can get pretty long, average 25 minutes in my experience. The burgers and fries are decent, not the the best I’ve ever had. The cooks are not very consistant. I always order my burgers medium, but results tend to very. It’s a lottery, sometimes the burgers come out awesome and other times they are over cooked. Fortunate for me, I’ve had better luck than my friends and colleagues who I’ve dine here with. A patter gets you a burger with fires and onion rings. I usually opt for the 1/2 pound sirloin burger ($7) with creamed spinach on the side, which is amazing. They also serve sandwichs, pizza, and salads. I dont know why, as no one seems to order them. Seating is available in the atrium directly in front of the restaurant.

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

9 Mar

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

Rating: ★★★★☆
53rd St & 6th Ave, New York, NY 10079
support@53rdand6th.com
Website
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 7:30 pm – 4 am
Nearest Transit:
7th Ave-53rd St (B, D, E)
5th Ave-53rd St (E, V)
57th St-6th Ave (F)
Facebook // Foursquare

Not much to look at but extremely delicious

The 53rd and 6th Halal Cart is easily the most popular street vendor in New York City, if not the world. Lines can be seen over a block long, which amounts to as long as an hour wait. Their enterprise has grown from a single cart to five affiliate carts, the busiest still being the original on southwest corner of 53rd and 6th.

Their menu is pretty simple, choose a choice of meat (chicken or lamb or both) on a peta or patter. A platter includes rice and sliced pita. Top it all off with their special white sauce and if you dare, their red sauce. The white sauce is what I think makes their food so addictive. Their chicken and lamb with lettuce on rice or a peta is decent, but when you add the goodness of that creamy sauce it makes their offering utterly orgasmic. The red sauce is really hot, try a little before opting to have your food sprayed with fire.

The guys are fast, be ready to order when it’s your turn and have your money in hand. They only accept cash.

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Wrap

Chicken Wrap – $4

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Preparing
Chicken and Lamb Rice Platter with White Sauce – $6

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Ordering

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

22 Jun

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Rating: ★★★★☆
65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
info@chinatownicecreamfactory.com
Website
(212) 608-4170
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11 am – 10 pm or 11pm
Nearest Transit:
Canal Street (J, M, Z, N, Q, R, W, 6)
Grand Street (B, D)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

This is the place to go for ice cream in Chinatown! You’ll always find a crowd here.

The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is an Asian inspired homemade ice cream parlor. It serves custom cakes and fresh ice cream in a variety of unique flavors. My favorite are egg-tart, zen butter, almond cookie, black sesame, and pistachio. They also have the common chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and some sorbet for the less adventurous folks. Experimental flavors are released are periodically.

For $3.75, you get a “one-scoop” cup or cone, which is really two scoops that can be split between two flavors. Larger portions are not too much more.

Don’t expect seats here, most just huddle outside and eat it in front of the shop. Be sure to have cash in hand, like most shops in Chinatown, they don’t accept credit cards.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
“One scoop” black sesame cup (but really two scoops) – $3.75

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

New York Hot Dog & Coffee

10 Mar

This venue is closed.

New York Hot Dog & Coffee

Rating: ★★★☆☆
245 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Website
(917) 388-3742
Price: $
Hours:
Sun-Thu, 11am-11pm
Fri-Sat, 11am-1am
Nearest Transit:
W 4th St (A, C, E, B, D, F, V)
Christopher St (1)
Christopher St (PATH)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Authentic Korean Ingredients, but a very pricy gimmick

New York Hot Dog & Coffee is a popular tube-steak chain in South Korea with over 170 branches. Their first venture outside of their home land is none other than New York City. Stationed in the West Village, New York Hot Dog & Coffee offers hotdogs with Korean toppings, Korean style burgers and tacos. I tried their signature bulgogi hotdog ($5.99) and bbq chicken wrapdog ($5.99). The bulgogi and bbq chicken tasted authentic, but the hotdog was very generic. The ingredients don’t mix and it tasted like two separate items. The bread was nice and fluffy, while the wrap was bit on the dry-side. The coffee was decent, nothing to brag about. In typical Korean-fashion, they also offer waffles and frozen yogurt. Overall, the food is decent, not great, and definitely overpriced.

They have some seating in the front and a pretty cozy lounge with a sunroof out back. In talking with the manager, Sandy Choi, she informed me that they also offer free in-store WiFi and urges customers to take advantage of that.

New York Hot Dog & Coffee

New York Hot Dog & Coffee

New York Hot Dog & Coffee
Bulgogi Hotdog + Kimchi Bulgogi Taco + Small Fries

New York Hot Dog & Coffee
Bulgogi Hotdog – $5.99

New York Hot Dog & Coffee
BBQ Chicken Wrapdog – $5.99

New York Hot Dog & Coffee
Belgian Waffles

New York Hot Dog & Coffee

Luke’s Lobster

20 Nov

Luke’s Lobster

Rating: ★★★★☆
93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
luke@lukeslobster.com
Website
(212) 387-8487
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu, Sun 11 am – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 11 pm
Nearest Transit:
1st Ave-14th St (L)
Astor Place (6)
2nd Ave-Houston St (F, V)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Luke’s Lobster offers the best value on lobsters, crab, and shrimp rolls in the city PERIOD

For a lobster roll in New York City, Luke offers the best value. Granted you’re not going to get sit down service like you do at Pearl Oyster or Ed’s Lobster, but their lobster is fresh, they serve them perfectly, and the price is definitely right. Their rolls are served in two sizes, small and large, but are really tiny and small. As of November 18, 2009, they go for $8 and $14 respectively. They also serve delicious crab ($5/$9) and shrimp ($4/$7) rolls too. For the best value, grab one of their combos. The $20 Taste of Maine combo includes a small lobster, crab, and shrimp roll, as well as a par of Empress claws and a package of Miss. Vickie’s chips and a bottle of Maine’s Root Drink or Poland Spring Water. The Noah’s Ark combo is double the Taste of Maine offering with a $2 savings at $38. Butter, mayo, and seasoning is optional, but they are light by default. If you like your rolls really buttery, do let them know when ordering. Like I said earlier the rolls are really small, but a roll and a half with a bag of chips should be enough to satisfy most hungry stomachs.

I love Luke’s because unlike most lobster rolls served in NYC, the lobster is not shredded or minced but are served in huge chunks/bits. Plus I’m not a huge fan of mayo, so the way Luke’s serves their rolls are ideal for me. I’ve never had a lobster roll in Maine, so I can only compare it to what I’ve had in NYC and I think Luke’s the best so far.

The restaurant is really tiny with limited bar-style seating (8 seats at most) and is not recommended for groups. If you’re a fan of lobster roll, this is not one to be missed.

Luke’s Lobster
Small Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp Roll and 2 Empress Claws – Part of Taste of Maine Combo – $20

Luke’s Lobster
Menu as of November 18, 2009 – View Larger Image

Luke’s Lobster
Miss. Vickie’s Chips and Maine’s Root Drink

Luke’s Lobster
Large Lobster Roll – $14

Luke’s Lobster
Large Crab Roll – $9

Luke’s Lobster

Wafels & Dinges

22 Jul

Wafels & Dinges

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Moving Target (See Schedule)
dinges@dedinges.com
Website
(646) 257-2592
Price: $
Hours:
Varies by day (See Schedule)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Wafels & Dinges has the decent Belgian waffle. Stick with the basics if you want wholesome Belgium Waffle, try the off-menu items if your feeling adventurous.

Wafels and Dinges (W&D) is a Belgian waffle purveyor that also has a line of packaged waffles sold in organic grocery stores such as Fairway, Food Emporium, and Garden of Eden. They operate out of a truck and can be found in various locations throughout Manhattan, depending on the time of day. See their truck schedule here or follow them on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on their whereabouts.

W&D has some god dam good waffles. I like their liege waffle ($5), it’s nice and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside. They also have a good selection of dinges (toppings) to choose from; the first one is free, the second is +$1 and +$2 get you unlimited dinges or a WMD (Waffle of massive deliciousness).

In addition to traditional Belgian Waffles, they are also experimenting with nontraditional favors. These are items not on the menu and it’s a bit of a secret, but if you ask for it they will serve it. The two that I know of and have tried are their BBQ Pull Pork Waffle and Bacon & Syrup Waffle. Both are decent, but not spectacular. There may be other items on this off-menu that I am not aware of, please contact me if you know of others.

Overall, I would recommend sticking with their regular offerings for that good wholesome Belgium Waffle taste and trying their off-menu items if your feeling adventurous; either way you can’t go wrong at Wafels & Dinges.

Wafels & Dinges
BBQ Pull Pork Waffle – $8.00

Wafels & Dinges
business as usual

Wafels & Dinges
The Truck

Menchanko Tei

7 May

Menchanko Tei

Rating: ★★★☆☆
131 E 45th St (btwn Lex Ave & 3rd ), New York, NY 10017
Website
(212) 986-6805
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thur 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Fri 11:30 am – Midnight
Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sun 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Nearest Transit:
Grand Central (4, 5, 6, 7, S)
Lexington-3rd Aves-51st St (6, E, V)
Foursquare

Not the best, but decent for a midtown lunch.

Menchanko Tei serves decent ramen, not the most authentic but definitely acceptable. The service is fast and their prices are not too bad. They have two locations, both in midtown (131 E 45th St & 43 W 55th St), the 55 St location was under renovations a month ago and I’m not sure if they have re-opened yet.

During my last visit to the 45th St location I tired their Hakata and Shoyu ramen, both were respectable but not comparable to Ippudo nor Santoka. Their gyoza gets a huge “Don’t Buy”, it  not fresh and tastes like it’s from a package. Overall, I like Menchanko Tei for lunch, but only for it’s ramen and nothing else.

Menchanko Tei
Pork Dumplings – $4.75

Menchanko Tei
Hakata Ramen w/ Mochi – $10 (8.50+1.50)

Otafuku

29 Apr

Otafuku

Rating: ★★★★☆
236 E 9 St (btwn 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St), New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-8503
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Thu 1 pm – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 11 pm
Sun 12 pm – 10 pm
Nearest Transit:
Astor Place (6)
8th St-Broadway (R, W)
3rd Ave-14th St (L)
Facebook // Foursquare

Otafuku is usually crowded with people eating their takoyaki (hot wheat-flour balls with a piece of boiled octopus inside) outside of the shop because they don’t have proper seating and the customers can’t wait to eat their takoyaki (me included). There’s often a 5-20 minute wait for takoyaki because they sell so well, but you can call ahead with your order so you don’t have to wait. In addition to takoyaki, they also sell yakisoba (pan-fried noodles) and okonomiyaki (Japanese-style unsweetened pancake). Try one of their four combos, I often order combo B (6pcs takoyaki & 1pc okonomi) or C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba). They don’t accept credit cards, remember to bring cash.

Otafuku

Otafuku
Combo C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba) – $9

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

29 Apr

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Rating: ★★★☆☆
620 8th Ave (btwn 40th St & 41st St), New York, NY 10018
info@schnippers.com
Website
(212) 921-2400
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu 11 am – 9 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 11 am
Sun 11 am – 8 am
Nearest Transit:
8th Ave-42nd St (A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, S, 7, N, Q, R, W)
42nd St-5th Ave-6th Ave (7, B, D, F, V)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen is a fast food joint in a diner environment. Food is made to order and rather quickly for that matter. Their burgers are surprisingly good and the mac and joe is one of my favorites. They serve wine and beer to complement your meal as well has handcrafted milk shakes and unlimited refills of fountain drinks. Their sweet potato fries are popular amongst the crowd; I haven’t tried yet it, but I will on my next visit. There’s plenty of seating indoor and out (when weather permits) with a rest room intended only for customers (door code on the receipt). Schnippers is not the most healthiest of places to grab a bit nor is it a “must try”, but they do have decent food and it’s worth trying for individuals longing for a burger in the theater district. Be warned, Schnippers is a bit pricey and if you’re ordering a burger remember to state how you’d like it cooked, or else it will be served medium.

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Mac and Joe – $6.99

Schnipper’s Quality KitchenSchnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Sloppy Fries – $6.99

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
Hamburger and Fries – $8.25 (5.50+2.75)

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen