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Seeking Culinary Dining Oddities


DanM
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Our plans for our whirlwind tour of New Yorks culinary landmarks is coming together. We are curious about some of the more odd and unusual offerings available in the city. The oddities can be in the food, restaurant/store, or the proprietor. Any suggestions? My pregnant wife thanks you.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Okay, not exactly an oddity, but I have found it's pretty hard to get a great HALF-SOUR pickle outside of NY. When I was pregnant here in CA I would have killed for one; instead I had to content myself with Japanese pickles and those peculiar sour gummy candies. Yes, I was a walking cliche.

Also, and less typical I suppose, I craved BBQ pork in my middle trimester. If I had been living in NY, and if it had existed then (which it didn't) I would have been a regular on the line at Momofuku for one of those pork belly bun thingies. For what its worth, my daughter doesn't like sour pickles, nor does she like animal fat. She must have had more than enough her first few months of life.

Just curious, but what exactly qualifies as odd? To me, odd is when out-of-towners want to go to Gray's Papaya. The papaya drink is okay, but I think the hot dogs are terrible. Apologies all round in advance to the many fans of Gray's; I don't mean to be incendiary. In its favor is price.

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Without knowing where you're from or where you're already planning to go, I might say:

Blue Ribbon Bakery Market - savory matzoh cracker with garlic, rosemary and parmesan cheese

Victory Garden - salted caramel goat ice cream with creative toppings like havlah, figs, roasted tomatoes, etc.

Doughnut Plant - interesting seasonal/creative doughnuts like blackout, tres leches, pistachio, green tea, carrot cake, etc.

WD-50 - our only real molecular gastronomy offering

Txikito - Basque tapas

Momofuku Milk Bar - Christina Tosi's sugar-obsessed dessert lab for a revolving menu of items like apple pie cake, pretzel cake, dulce de leche cake, candy bar pie, cereal milk soft serve, grasshopper pie, crack pie, corn cookie, etc.

Zabb Elee - Issan (Thai) food

Takashi - organic/sustainable Japanese yakiniku, heavy on the offal

Xi'an Famous Foods - food from Shaanxi province in China, don't miss the cumin lamb hand pulled noodles

Shopsin's - family business, weird hours, oddball menu & service, breakfast and lunch only. No copying what others are eating. No cell phones. No parties greater than four. Don't go if you're picky or have allergies or want modifications or are sensitive to cursing. Items like freakfast sliders, mac and cheese pancakes, slutty cakes, sandwiches with the "bread" made out of french toast or pancakes, made-up soups from around the world (i.e., "this is what I think Kenyan soup would taste like" not "this is the kind of soup they eat in Kenya"). Some people hate it; some people love it.

Halal Guys cart at 53rd and 6th - make sure you go to the southEAST corner before 8pm, and the southWEST corner after 8pm.

Defonte's - you know that "sandwich day" episode of 30 Rock? That's this place..

Torrisi Italian Specialties - upscale-ish American-Italian with global influences (Jamaican, Chinese, Jewish). No reservations. Show up at 5:45pm to put your name down. There's a nightly prix fixe menu (~$50) for dinner based upon what's local and fresh. It changes all the time.

Mile End - Quebec food -- pastrami, poutine, Montreal bagels, sells out quickly

Kabab Cafe - Egyptian food and offal

Red Hook Ballfields = a series of food trucks serving arepas, huraches, ceviche, elote, agua fresca, and more (open only during the warmer months)

Joyride Truck - caffeinated frozen yogurt

City Bakery - pretzel croissant and the baker's (aka leftovers) muffin

Sigmund Pretzelshop - pretzels the way they were meant to be, they also do pretzel sandwiches and interesting flavors and dips

See also M. Wells (assuming their new location is open by the time of your trip)

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Shopsin's - family business, weird hours, oddball menu & service, breakfast and lunch only. No copying what others are eating. No cell phones. No parties greater than four. Don't go if you're picky or have allergies or want modifications or are sensitive to cursing. Items like freakfast sliders, mac and cheese pancakes, slutty cakes, sandwiches with the "bread" made out of french toast or pancakes, made-up soups from around the world (i.e., "this is what I think Kenyan soup would taste like" not "this is the kind of soup they eat in Kenya"). Some people hate it; some people love it.

Now this is definitely an odd place. It seems like the type of place you stumble into at 3am strung out after a long night of partying.... not that I have any experience with that...

And I am sure this menu on their website is fake. There is no way they can serve that many things.

http://www.shopsins.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/09/ShopsinsL154.pdf

Thanks for the list! My preggo wife is now craving pretzels.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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And I am sure this menu on their website is fake. There is no way they can serve that many things.

http://www.shopsins.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/09/ShopsinsL154.pdf

They can and do. Kenny Shopsin even has a cookbook/memoir out where he reveals some of his secrets (parcooking, parbaking, common bases for dishes, pancake mix, etc.). It's called Eat Me.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Now this is definitely an odd place. It seems like the type of place you stumble into at 3am strung out after a long night of partying.... not that I have any experience with that...

And I am sure this menu on their website is fake. There is no way they can serve that many things.

http://www.shopsins.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/09/ShopsinsL154.pdf

Hey, the Potbelly Stove did it, so why not this place?

Not sure what you mean by oddities, but on the south side of 49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, just off the corner of 49th going west, there's a shop that sells Japanese sweets. If your frame of reference is US and EU sweets, these would definitely fall into the unusual and interesting category, and are also delicious. Nearly every time I go back to NYC, I head there first, luggage and all.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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