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Street vendor meals


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  • 6 months later...

I recently found some great alcapurrias on 116th Street, in Spanish Harlem. Every cuchifrito on 116th has alcapurrias, torpedoes of fried cassava dough stuffed with ground meat, languishing in its window under chicharrones. Almost unrecognizable, however, from these heavy, gummy alcapurrias are those made by the two women street vendors who on Saturdays and odd weekdays operate different tables near 116th and Madison. Each mans a small deep fryer, and takes the alcapurrias right from the oil, so they're light and crispy. Don't know how much longer they'll be out there, with the weather getting cold.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I'd kill for a good alcapurria, but I don't know about going that far north without a reservation.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'd kill for a good alcapurria, but I don't know about going that far north without a reservation.

I'm sure they take reservations. Now, if only they had phones...:wink:

The good news is that if you hike up that way looking for an alcapurria ($1) and neither of the vendors are there, you are smack in the bustle of Spanish Harlem. Patsy's and Rincon Boricua are worthy detours off 116th, and on 116th closer to the Morningside Park there's a stretch of good Senegalese restaurants. But back to street vendors: 116th also has at least three women who sell tamales out of huge tubs.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I'm sure they take reservations. Now, if only they had phones...:wink:

The good news is that if you hike up that way looking for an alcapurria ($1) and neither of the vendors are there, you are smack in the bustle of Spanish Harlem. Patsy's and Rincon Boricua are worthy detours off 116th, and on 116th closer to the Morningside Park there's a stretch of good Senegalese restaurants. But back to street vendors: 116th also has at least three women who sell tamales out of huge tubs.

Oh, and lots of mango-on-a-stick vendors, who'll dress the treat, if you want, with lemon juice and salt.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I'm sure they take reservations. Now, if only they had phones...:wink:

The good news is that if you hike up that way looking for an alcapurria ($1) and neither of the vendors are there, you are smack in the bustle of Spanish Harlem. Patsy's and Rincon Boricua are worthy detours off 116th, and on 116th closer to the Morningside Park there's a stretch of good Senegalese restaurants. But back to street vendors: 116th also has at least three women who sell tamales out of huge tubs.

Speaking of Senegalese restaurants, i wanted to go to this place called Africa, by recommendation of a taxi driver. Unfortunately when i went up there the place was closed. Can you reco a really good senegalese place.

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I'm sure they take reservations. Now, if only they had phones...:wink:

The good news is that if you hike up that way looking for an alcapurria ($1) and neither of the vendors are there, you are smack in the bustle of Spanish Harlem. Patsy's and Rincon Boricua are worthy detours off 116th, and on 116th closer to the Morningside Park there's a stretch of good Senegalese restaurants. But back to street vendors: 116th also has at least three women who sell tamales out of huge tubs.

I've had some very mediocre alcapurrias. Treat enough if I happen to be there, but not, in Michelin terms, worth the voyage, or the detour, :biggrin: but I'll bet those vendors have cellphones. Everyone in NY has one but me.

Those mangoes on a stick don't do it for me and I've seen those vendors as far sough as 14th Street. Actually I prefer the smaller "Champagne" mangoes we've been getting in the past few years. Speaking of 14th Street, the last time I was on West 14th Street there were some vendors selling food in front of a church. I forget just how far west, but it was west of Seventh Avenue or further. We had just had brunch, so I didn't really look closely at what was for sale.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Those mangoes on a stick don't do it for me and I've seen those vendors as far sough as 14th Street. Actually I prefer the smaller "Champagne" mangoes we've been getting in the past few years. Speaking of 14th Street, the last time I was on West 14th Street there were some vendors selling food in front of a church. I forget just how far west, but it was west of Seventh Avenue or further. We had just had brunch, so I didn't really look closely at what was for sale.

this isn't one of the taco trucks that used to camp out there on the weekends was it?? as far as i know (i've stopped by about once a month) they've been gone for a solid 8-10 months now..

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this isn't one of the taco trucks that used to camp out there on the weekends was it??  as far as i know (i've stopped by about once a month) they've been gone for a solid 8-10 months now..

I didn't notice a truck.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Speaking of Senegalese restaurants, i wanted to go to this place called Africa, by recommendation of a taxi driver.  Unfortunately when i went up there the place was closed.  Can you reco a really good senegalese place.

Africa is relocating to a larger space across the street. But whenever I asked the owners when the place would be open, they've said "Next week." It's been a couple of months.

Robert Sietsema, of the Voice, is the man for this type of thing. In Harlem, he likes La Marmite. I like the thiebou dienn at Mali-Ba, 218 W. 116th. I heard from a very credible source that the Wolof tend to live in Harlem and the Toucouleurs (Fulani-relatives) live in Brooklyn in Bed Stuy. I'm not sure if there's a difference in food, but I suppose this a question for another thread.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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  • 2 months later...

Kim-Bop Take Out @ 2W 32, 1st floor (Manhattan) 212.594.1466

Fresh, made to order Kim-Bop:

Jalepeno Roll

Beef Roll

Spicy Tuna Roll

Tuna Roll

Kim-chee Roll

Cheese Roll

Vegetable Roll

Mushroom Roll

Squid Roll

Each Roll and a Miso Soup is $4.50 and quite filling. I just discovered Kim-Bop Take out this week and have gone there every day for lunch. The Spicy Tuna Roll is superior IMHO, and the Squid Roll is also quite good. The place is so small it is easy to miss. There is no place to sit down but there is a counter where you can stand and eat. They also sell Fish Cakes in broth (I have yet to try this). Very nice proprietors.

Edited by mascarpone (log)
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Just curious to know if aynone here has tried the roti truck that's usually down near Maiden lane and Old Slip in the Financial District. It's an aluminum stepvan with a sign for roti and West Indian food. There are dozens of aphorisms and adages, mostly of the inspirational but admonishing variety, painted all over the truck. Is the food any good?  On the rare occasions that I'm there I'm always going to lunch with one person or another and haven't had a chance to try it.

That truck puts out some of the best West Indian food this side of Trinidad. The Roti's are great as are the doubles. Don't forget to save room for what may be one of the greatest pastry desserst known to man; the curant slice. I've heard they have a good prices on phone calling cards too.

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  • 3 months later...

Whenever I am in NYC I grab a pretzel or hot dog from a food cart - but lately, I have noticed that there are so many different types of food carts that almost serve full meals - any recomendations on some of the better type food carts, what they have, and where they are located.

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There's a cart on the SE corner of 67th and Broadway that makes just about the best chicken pita sandwiches I've ever tried. The other stuff looks good, too (especially the falafel) but I always get that chicken sandwich. He's only there weekdays until 4 or 4:30.

I love those meat- and vegetable-filled emapanada-like things sold on tables outside Russian restaurants, bakeries and delis along Brighton Beach Ave. under the elevated tracks. A good cheburek really kicks ass!

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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  • 2 months later...

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to sample the two competing falafel stands near 6th Avenue on 46th street -- "Miriam's Falafel" and "Moishe's Falafel".

Miriam's, on the southwest corner next to 1177 Avenue of the Americas, is the more expensive ($4) and actually is a smaller falafel sandwich than Moishe's -- its less stuffed with salad and the pita is smaller but of the thicker variety -- but contains an equal amount of falafel balls as Moishe and I beleive he is using Israeli tehina as opposed to the domestic Joyva that Moishe's is using, and the balls themselves are nicely seasoned as well as have a nice crunch to them. There's no options with this guy -- You ask for a Falafel Sandwich and he gives you a sandwich already dressed out the way he dresses it, with lots of pepper sauce and already wrapped up in foil. I was there towards the end of the day and he told me I bought the last one, so its possible that this was an anomaly, however. He also told me "This is -the- best falafel. I know you are a new customer but you will be back tomorrow." Indeed, I will be back, but not on his timeframe, unfortunately. I ate the sandwich, standing up on the corner of 6th and 46th with glee.

Moishe's ($3.75) on the other side of the street on 6th, is a different animal. Here the adage of "More is Less" rings true. The Moishe's falafel is overstuffed, to the point where its impossible to eat it with your bare hands -- eating this monster requires a fork and LOTS of extra napkins. Remove all your extra articles of clothing as well. Its utterly drenched with Joyva tahina sauce and the thin pita gets soggy very quickly. The falafel balls are also less seasoned than Miriam's and also somewhat mushy. I basically picked out the balls with a fork and left most of the sandwich over.

Next to Moishe's is a really good fruit shake stand, and for $4 I got a big Strawberry/Mango/Pineapple/Papaya combo which was an ideal match for the falafels.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Near the falafel stands Jason mentioned, on 43rd off of 6th, is a T&T cart that was formerly called the "Trini-Paki Boyz" (I don't believe there is a name, now). Good to very good vegetable roti, and apparently they have amazing shrimp (they are always out when I'm there late on Friday afternoons). A guilty pleasure is essentially the kitchen sink roti - the chicken mixed with vegetables and channa, topped with white and hot sauces. Borders on the salty side, but I'm a bit overly sensitive when it comes to salt.

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  • 3 months later...

New York Daily News article: "City's 4 hottest pushcart chefs vie for 1st Vendy Award"

And the Fab Four Vendy finalists are ...

Babiel Brothers

Rolf, 53, and Wolfgang, 51, serve up fare at W. 54th St.between Fifth and Sixth Aves.[...]

Thiru Kumar

Washington Square Park South at Sullivan St.[...]

The Halal Guys

At W. 53rd St. (temporarily located between Fifth and Sixth Aves.)[...]

Tony Dragones

At E. 62nd St.and Madison Ave.[...]

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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NYTimes article

The five judges, who waited in long lines with the rest of the attendees, voted on a variety of criteria, including food portability and vendor personality.

"They've got it hard," said one judge, Todd Coleman, who teaches a street food class at the Institute of Culinary Education. "They cook in adverse conditions. They have to be social. And they always have to be at the top of their game."

Sean Basinski, the founder and director of the Street Vendor Project, said his group aims to raise awareness of the daily struggles facing the city's estimated 10,000 vendors of food and merchandise.

Do you patronize street vendors in your city or town?

Which are your regular favorites?

"They cook in adverse conditions. They have to be social. And they always have to be at the top of their game." Have you ever really thought about these "requirements" for street vendors? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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  • 11 months later...
Just curious to know if aynone here has tried the roti truck that's usually down near Maiden lane and Old Slip in the Financial District. It's an aluminum stepvan with a sign for roti and West Indian food. There are dozens of aphorisms and adages, mostly of the inspirational but admonishing variety, painted all over the truck. Is the food any good?  On the rare occasions that I'm there I'm always going to lunch with one person or another and haven't had a chance to try it.

That truck puts out some of the best West Indian food this side of Trinidad. The Roti's are great as are the doubles. Don't forget to save room for what may be one of the greatest pastry desserst known to man; the curant slice. I've heard they have a good prices on phone calling cards too.

OK, my friend and I went off in search of this truck today with no luck. Is it still there? What is the exact location? Old Slip and Maiden Lane seem to run parallel, so...

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I like Moshe's falafel which is the cart on the southeast corner of W.46th and 6th.  They pack those babies full so they're messy to eat.  But quite tasty.

Oh yeah, Moshe's. Messy and marvelous. 46th street just east of 6th, on the north side.

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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  • 2 years later...

Two new Mexican Trucks moved into the Village recently, both selling Cemitas in addition to many other things. One is on 6th Avenue, between 3rd and 4th - basically right in front of the W 4th St. Subway Stop. The other was parked on 4th, right off of Christopher St/Sheridan Square, in front of the Chase bank on the corner.

I stopped by the 6th Av. truck for a Lengua Cemita (Tongue Puebla style Sandwich):

gallery_61507_6225_11058.jpg

The sandwich starts with (top down) Cemita bread, mayo, tongue, avocado, chipotle in adobo (spicy!), Oaxacan Cheese, bread.

Delicious, and filling. $6. You get your choice of:

Beef, Chicken, Goat, Pork, Ear, Tongue & Tripe

They also have a ton of other things like Huaraches, Tamales, Tacos, Nachos, Quessadillas, Taco Arabe and others. Seems pretty legit, I look forward to returning to this truck and to trying the one on W. 4th too. Very exciting!

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How are cemitas diifferent than tortas?

I'm no expert, but I know cemitas originated in Puebla and have their very own special sesame seeded bread recipe that is less like a standard roll and more like an egg bread. They are also always heavily centered around the 4 components of the sandwich above: a meat, a mexican string cheese, avocado and a stewed chipotle of some sort. The presence of all of these, at least in my limited book, constitutes a cemita.

In comparison tortas have a more white bread type roll, and ingredients that really range all over the map, but which almost always includes (for example) beans and various salad type veggies like lettuce, tomato etc... The absence of something like cheese, or even different cheeses would be fine in a torta, but not in a cemita.

Hopefully someone with more hands on knowledge than just eating these things whenever he comes across them can chime in.

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