Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oh No! Nathan's Famous Is Changing Their French Fries!

What?! Nathan's is changing their famous French Fries! How can they do this? Don't they know what this will do to the world we live in? Mountains will crumble! Seas will dry up! People everywhere will run around naked screaming at the top of their lungs! Why? Why? Why?

Wait a minute...they're only changing from their usual Maine Potato to Russets because of a shortage? Really, that's it? That seems like a lot of fuss for nothing. Well not exactly. Apparently a bunch of regulars to the original branch on Surf Ave in Coney Island noticed the difference immediately, a few of them even refused to ever buy them again. The nerve. The Katahdin Maine potatoes have less starch in them which means the Fries are a bit sweeter and are a little darker. Russets are very common in terms of French Fry use, but they are high in starch and can seem dry, so to someone that is used to the flavor would actually notice.

It would appear that Nathan's was trying to pull a fast one on their fans even though they knew they'd be back using the Maine Potatoes within a month. I guess the shortage didn't last too long, besides everyone knows the real difference is that the Fries are crinkle cut. Jeez...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kimchi Grill Opens In Prospect Heights

I had the pleasure of eating the amazing food from the Kimchi Taco Truck at the last Food Truck Rally a couple of weekends back, and I must say again it was some of the best food I have ever eaten from a food truck. The flavors were outstanding with combinations that I had never eaten before. A foodie's dream meal I guess. It's always so exciting to find something to eat that truly surprises, not that I didn't have high expectations, because I always do. However with high expectations usually comes disappointment, or at least the feeling of not being satisfied, so again that is why the Kimchi Taco Truck was such a pleasure.
Here is a link to my blog post regarding the amazing Food Truck Rally:


The Kimchi Taco Truck was definitely the highlight of our lunch that day in Prospect Park, so I was extremely excited today to read about their new restaurant in the Daily News. I think it's great when the local press shows some love to a small business, especially a shop like the Kimchi Grill because it deserves our attention. I have yet to visit the restaurant but it is on my list of must go's because if it's as good as their own food truck, then it will be a delicious trip to remember. Please click the link below to the article in the Daily News:


Also, a few weeks back I wrote a post regarding the transition to traditional brick and mortar shops for some of the Food Truck businesses...Please click the link below to read more about it:


Trader Joe's Issues A Recall Of It's Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is not something I would ever buy at a supermarket, not even at Trader Joe's, because usually it's not very good. Plus certain food items have a tendency to go bad really fast so I choose to stay away from them. So I guess it should come as no surprise that Trader Joe's has issued a recall of their prepared BBQ Chicken Salad due to possibly containing red onions that may be contaminated by a potentially deadly bacteria. Scary! The bacteria is called Listeria which can cause a virus that has a 20% mortality rate, yikes!
Fortunately for us these recalls have only affected states out West, but I'd be careful about what I buy even if it's a reputable store like Trader Joe's, you can never be too careful...

Click the link below to read the full article from the Daily News:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Is Completely Irrelevant To Real Issues

Yeah! We went to Chick-Fil-A! I am so great, me and my husband went all they way to Houston just to get a chicken sandwich! What an awesome photo op!

This photo was it for me. I am officially over this whole Chick-Fil-A garbage. They don't deserve my money and I'm not going to give it to them. Yes, everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want, but when it becomes a political message for has-beens like Palin well then it's no longer an important issue.

Honestly it's also not an issue for the mayor of Boston, or Chicago to say that Chick-Fil-A is not welcome. Do you want to know why? Because they have a right to open wherever they want as well as people having the right to protest them for being there.

Come on people, we all have bigger issues than this chicken place.

The Birth of the Pastrami Sandwich

There's just something about a Pastrami Sandwich. Visions of one can often cause weak knees, sweaty brows, or even a nervous eye twitch that doesn't go away for a week until you do a voodoo dance with the blood of a chicken poured over your head (thankfully that only happened once.) Good Pastrami, the kind that melts in your mouth, is prepared with a thoughtfulness that considers the history of the fine meat in our culture, especially here in NYC.

The birthplace of the Pastrami Sandwich...right?

According to some, the recipe for creating delicious Pastrami comes from a Romanian ancestry, and brought to the United States by Romanian Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century. Originally it was called Pastrama from the Romanian original, but many believe it was changed to Pastrami to make it sound related to Italian Salami. The Pastrami Sandwich is said to have been first served in 1887 by Sussman Volk who converted his butcher shop to make the incredibly popular sandwiches, but some believe the sandwich had already made an appearance 10 years earlier, sold in food carts on the Lower East Side. Of course it's all up for debate since the owner of Katz Delicatessen believe that they were the first ones to serve the sandwich back when they opened in 1888. Bottom line, the Pastrami Sandwich was born in New York City.

For me it's the smell because before you even take a bite out of a sandwich you walk into a deli and that aroma smacks you right in the face. At least that's how I like my food to treat me. Wouldn't it be truly amazing for all food to be able to do that?

History. It's an important thing to me, as it should everyone. Thinking back to how those early immigrants risked their lives coming to this country, to bring their culture, their food, what an honor. New York City is built upon the backs of these immigrants. Built upon my ancestors who fought to live everyday in a country where they thought the streets were lined with gold. They brought their food for others to enjoy and to this day their mark is still stamped on this city that I love so much.

I'm just talking about a piece of cured meat, that's all it is, and a sandwich that represents America as much as a slice of Pizza, or a Hamburger or a Hot Dog.

Katz Delicatessen is a shrine to Pastrami Sandwiches. A shrine to those who struggled to make a new life for themselves against the greatest of odds. It had meager beginnings, created to serve the poor who could barely afford to eat.
The Uptown crowd didn't know and didn't care what they were missing, dining in their fancy restaurants, and holding their pinkies high during tea. You see the greatest foods of this country were created by the poor for the poor, an enduring tradition that has continued through generations.

New York City. The Birthplace of the Pastrami Sandwich.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is Harlem Becoming A Dining Destination?

With the recent death of Sylvia Woods, 'The Queen of Soul Food', I wondered what effect it might have on the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant since it has been such a mainstay for all these years. Not that Sylvia's is going anywhere, but when an icon dies it sometimes has a profound effect on all those that they touched in their life. I'm happy to say that after reading a great article in the NY Post, Harlem is in very good hands. Several great restaurants have opened up in recent years, adjacent to the area around Sylvia's, creating a dining renaissance in Harlem. I know that 125th street feels like miles away to some New Yorkers, or that you might feel a bit out of place, but I'm here to tell you that you're missing one of the best parts of the city. What I love about Harlem, though I'm not there often enough, is all of the amazing old New York architecture that is still there, it's like walking thru history. Now with several fantastic restaurants to accentuate the area, there's no telling what heights that Harlem will climb too. Please click the link below to read the article from the Post:


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vitamin Water Joins The Coconut Water Competition With Coco Refresh

While in Brooklyn for Smorgasburg last weekend I had my first Vitamin Water Coco-Refresh, a new entry into the Coconut Water trend. I've tried Vita-Coco, and it was OK, maybe one or two of the other brands on the market, but they were nothing to write home about in my opinion. However the Vitamin Water was way more delicious and refreshing and I didn't feel like I was drinking something that was almost good. I'm sure it has a lot more sugar and calories that regular Coco Water, but I don't care. If I'm gonna drink something I have to enjoy it!

Chobani Yogurt Opens In SoHo

The Chobani Greek Yogurt shop opened it's doors yesterday in SoHo at 150 Prince Street at West Broadway. This is the second non-frozen Yogurt bar to open up in the last couple of weeks which some think might become a new trend. Prices start at $3.75 for a 6oz, or $4.75 for a 12oz., but there isn't a make it yourself option. The choices are:

Fruit and Granola
Peanut Butter and Jelly(Sliced Grapes with Peanut Halves)
Pistachio and Chocolate
Cucumbers with Mint, Salt and Pita's for scooping
Chopped Figs and Walnuts with Honey on top
Toasted Coconut and Pineapple

Plus a few more...

I personally think it's a very interesting concept but don't see it as something that will be rolled out all over the place. Either way it's a really great addition to NYC.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MovieRecipes.net, Where One Goes To Get A Taste Of The Food They Eat In The Movies

Ever get hungry during a movie scene when they are eating? Ever wonder how to make it? The photo above is from a scene in Goodfellas in which the boys make a surprise visit to Tommy's mothers house after they killed Billy Bats in Henry's nightclub. Let's just say I've seen the movie a couple of times. Anyway, in this scene, Tommy's mom (In a typical Italian mothers way) prepares an entire meal in the middle of the night because she thinks her son is hungry. Unfortunately Robert DeNiro, playing an Irishman, dumps a heaping glob of ketchup on his pasta (sacrilege!) pretty much ruining the delicious plate of Spaghetti in front of him...

Well, ketchup on pasta aside, if you ever want a recipe from a movie just head on over to MovieRecipes.net where you might just find what you're hungry for. Started two years ago by Romain Vetter because he wanted to combine his three loves: Eating, Cooking and Movies. Of course I had to put the site to a test and I must say it passed with flying colors!

The test was to see if my favorite Food movie was represented, which is Big Night with Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci. Thankfully the recipe for 'Timpano' is there and that to me shows that someone is paying attention. If you haven't seen the movie you have really missed a great one, see it now!

Check the link below to see a write up about the site from the Daily News:

Also in researching the site I found this blog also dedicated to food in movies:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Great NYC Soda Debate...Is It Just A Big Waste Of Time?

After chowing down on several Hot Dogs at the Nathan's July 4th Hot Dog eating contest, Michael Bloomberg was spotted drinking what looked like a giant, oversized soda. No, not really. I just wanted to put an amusing spin on an already ridiculous debate. Personally I think both sides of the argument are silly.

First you have the Mayor who wants to decrease the size of soda's offered in the City of New York, so no more super-sizing available and no more giant soda's at the theater either. He believes that reducing the size of drinks will help to decrease obesity in the city, but he does acknowledge that it's more than just the soda making people fat. That's all well an good, but what's to stop someone from buying two soda's? How about a restaurant that offers free refills?

Of course you haven't heard anything yet, the other side of the argument is even more ridiculous. The other day I was driving home when a commercial came on the radio that was against the beverage ban. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Someone actually paid for an ad promoting our right to drink soda...and they even had fake testimonials. I couldn't help but laugh, however after thinking about it I just thought it was a big waste of time. I guess the ads may be working since recently 100 protestors showed up at City Hall wearing t-shirts that read...'I picked out my beverage all by myself.' Ooohhh. Wow, 100 people out of a city of 8 million, outstanding support so far.

For people to make this about the right to choose or to suggest that the government needs to stay out of their soft drinks is utterly insane. No one is saying anyone can't have whatever they want to drink. You can still get your Coke when you go to McDonald's, it just won't be as big as it used to be. Is that really something to argue about? You can still go to the supermarket and buy as many 2-Liter bottles of soda as you want.

Honestly, is this really worth the trouble Mike Bloomberg? It just seems a bit misguided to try to limit the size of beverages when you can buy a many as you want. Do you honestly believe the cost of cigarettes are a deterrent to smokers? Don't you think an alcoholic will pay for liquor no matter what the cost? The trouble is he is going after the wrong people. He should be going after the soft drink companies and not the consumers, but he would never do that. He should get behind education to show the effects of drinking sugary drinks like soda. How about putting larger warning labels on the bottles and cans? How about ad campaigns showing diabetics suffering and dying from what they eat?

How about this Mike...don't show up for the Hot Dog eating contest next year instead of showing support of people overeating for no apparent reason...it's completely hypocritical.

Is Taco Bell Outsmarting Chipotle? Jim Cramer Thinks So

What is going on? I happened to be flipping thru the channels last night when I came upon Mad Money, and Jim Cramer was holding up a giant piece of aluminum that was supposed to be a Chipotle Burrito. I'll say that I don't watch the show, but when talk turns to food my interests are peaked. Cramer was explaining that during the last quarter Chipotle's stock had taken a tumble, and not just any tumble, he seemed to think that it was the start of a trend. The end of Chipotle? Not likely. The end to an overvalued stock? Yes. So what does that mean exactly?

We've seen this before with Starbucks. Tremendous growth, stores opening on every corner. Guess what happens...cannibalization of their own brand. Chipotle is no different. Too many restaurants in too many markets is a big part of the problem, but that's not the whole story. Chipotle sees itself, as do I, as a high quality product with high standards, and due to the rise in costs over the past couple of years they've had to increase menu pricing. Combine that with a down economy and you get a $300 million dollar loss in company value. It's not all bad news however. Chipotle has still seen growth in the last quarter, just not where it was just a few years ago.

This is where Taco Bell comes in, sitting there with it's inferior product and bombarding us with advertisements about how cheap they are. You see they have no high standards to uphold. They don't worry about giving you the quality you have been demanding over the last few years. They know that at the end of the day people want to spend less on their food because they feel they have less in their pockets. Chipotle can't compete in that arena. They have to continue to uphold their standards and press their customers with the belief that they offer the best possible product.

Is this the end? Of course not, but it continues a trend of overvaluing companies that explode with growth. The company still expects to open 150-160 stores by the time this year comes to an end, plus the continued plans of foreign expansion will keep them profitable for a long time to come.

Don't worry, those delicious Burrito's aren't going anywhere. However in time we are bound to see a few less Chipotle's than we are used too.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shake Shack Opening In Grand Central???

A very interesting read in NY Mag regarding the issue surrounding Shake Shack's apparent move into a space inside Grand Central Terminal. They won a bid to move into a space currently occupied by Zocalo who doesn't want to go because they believe the bidding was done unfairly. The bottom line? Shake Shack will be paying over $100,000 more in rent plus a chunk of the profits will be going to the MTA...It's sounds a little under the table to me but that's New York! Click the link below to read the full article...


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Smorgasburg Sweets, Dough Brooklyn

Mmmmm....Doughnuts. Yummy, good, and all mine. No one can share because...well just because.

No trip to Smorgasburg is complete without a sweet treat to complete your meal, but for me it's the most important part. Without it I wouldn't feel altogether complete. It'd be like if I was winning a race and just as I was about to cross the finish line they'd forget to hold up the tape for me to run through. No, that's not quite the same, we're talking about food here. It'd be like a Burger without the Bun. The Pizza without the Cheese. Titanic without Leo! Can you imagine? I know I can't.
So when I go to an event like Smorgasburg a part of me is always focused on what I'm gonna eat after my meal is done. Honestly I'm probably thinking about it more. There's just something so intoxicating about sweets, especially very good sweets, and I know you know what I mean.
I try not to overindulge but it's in my nature. How I deal with it is to try and not eat sweets too often, and as hard as that seems it makes the whole experience feel way more special, and that's what I'm going with. I could easily eat Doughnuts every day, especially these from Dough in Brooklyn, but seriously when you only eat them once every so often they are oh so much better.
Just walking past their tent at Smorgasburg is dangerous. You can smell their Doughnuts even if the Fried Fish tent is right next door, and man is the line always long. Anything that delicious is worth waiting for.
Look, even their sign looks like it was deep fried.

Man these Doughnuts were good, mind you, I didn't eat them all myself. After waiting in the line for a lifetime I still hadn't made up my mind exactly what I was going to pick. Should I get just one to try? Should I get two to compare? Aw crap, just give me one of these, one of these and yeah that one right there. In total 3, but I could have easily ordered 6, or 12, or 20.

Lemon Poppy Glazed, Raspberry Glazed and of course a Toasted Coconut Glazed...I mean those are probably not what they're really called, but I was in such a Doughnut haze I might have asked to buy a piece of the plexiglass in front of me. Yes they had plexi protecting the Doughnuts because they need protecting. I guess I could have just told the lovely lady to pick three of them for me because it really wouldn't have mattered.

Up until today Doughnut Plant had the best Doughnuts in the City, however that crown now belongs to Dough of Brooklyn, and man my taste buds couldn't be happier...

Smorgasburg Again? Oh...For The Love Of Food!

Ah, the smell of it, the taste of it...no not the East River. I'm talking about my second visit this summer to Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, and what a perfect day to do so! Of course a whole bunch of other people felt the same way, it was packed, making it a tough challenge to maneuver through the crowds. That's a good thing, right? Lots and lots of people spending their hard earned money on great food. However,  and as usual, I didn't follow my own advice which is to set out with a plan for what I want to eat, that way I wouldn't waste time trying to decide. Honestly that's a hard thing for a foodie to do

First up was a delicious Fresca Pizza with Pepperoni from Rubirosa Ristorante. It was my daughters choice and a very good one. Let me just say that this was as good a Pizza as any in New York as far as Thin Crust Pizza goes. The Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella were amazing as well as the super crunchy Thin Crust. What really got me was the little Pepperoni slices didn't overpower the rest of the flavors on the Pizza like it normally does. Oh man I could have eaten the whole thing, but then of course my daughter would have been mad...I was only allowed a few bites, damn.

My son tasked me with finding him Noodles, that was it, because he basically eats nothing else. Thankfully there were a couple of Ramen Noodles choices at the 'Burg, so I thought it would be really easy. Not so my friends. He was hot, he was tired, he wanted to sit down, oh brother. I simply told him that he had to choose and that if he didn't pick soon I would never feed him again . His eyes widened almost as big as his mouth when his jaw dropped, he couldn't believe what I had just told him. "Daddy, I can't eat ever again?!" With a wry smile on my face I told him I was joking, but six year olds don't have an adults sense of humor. After pouting for a moment he asked me to stop at Ramen Yebisu, which as you can see in the pictures, looked absolutely delicious. However I knew we were taking a chance. Even though I know he likes Ramen Noodles I wasn't so sure he'd like the Spicy Grilled Chicken that they put on top. "I like it." He said. Ok problem solved right? Sort of. After eating most of it, I mean the Noodles, he proclaimed..."That was OK." I beg to differ. I got enough of a taste to know that this was very good Ramen, and the Chicken which you see above, had a really good flavor and wasn't overly spicy. One thing I always forget is that kids remember everything, and because of that joke my son later blackmailed me into buying him a toy...I'm such a sucker.

By the time I had met my family with my food selection, my wife had already eaten her food from We Rub You, so I didn't get a picture or a taste. How selfish! If it weren't for the Italian Beef Sandwich from Home By The Range in my hand I might have been a bit aggravated, but good food always calms me down. This was no ordinary sandwich either. The amazing mixture of flavors was only enhanced by the Au Jus that was poured over the top of the Beef, settling down at the bottom of the container that it was served in. So instead of picking it up and eating it like normal, I took off the top piece of bread to dip and then used my fork to eat the rest. By the time I reached the bottom of the sandwich all that was left was Cheese and Bread that was completely soaked by the Au Jus, so delicious! I almost forgot the Watermelon on the side, not only was it tasty but it made for a truly unique presentation...

Last but not least, I sent my wife over to Mimi and Coco's to pick up some Shrimp Teriyaki Balls, a must have at Smorgasburg every time we visit. It was sort of a punishment, but only because I didn't let her have any. OK, that's not true, I do want to sleep in the bed after all.

What a great day! I love going to Smorgasburg, not only for the amazing food, but for the fact that it brings me to a part of town that is absolutely filled with fun things to see and do.

Next up...what we had for dessert!

Friday, July 20, 2012

NYC Sexy Food Pics Of The Day

Doughnut Plant (Manhattan)
Hill Country Chicken (Manhattan)
Katz...Pastrami (Manhattan)

Lemon Ice King Of Corona (Queens)

Shake Shack (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens)

Sylvia Woods, 'The Queen of Soul Food' in Harlem Has Died at 86

I had the honor of going to Sylvia's once back in the late 90's when a friend of mine thought I needed a little more culture in my life. To be honest with you I was a bit nervous about going to Harlem back then even if it was to have the best Soul Food in New York. Let's just say that the minute I walked inside that restaurant all the nervousness that I was feeling outside disappeared once I smelled the aroma's floating around. The other thing that stood out to me was how welcomed I felt by everyone who worked there, especially since I was the only caucasian that happened to be there that night. I fondly remember the waiter helping me pick out what he thought I would like to eat on the menu. Fried Chicken, Mashed Potato's, Collared Greens, Corn Bread Stuffing and a delicious hunk of Corn Bread. There was more on the table for sure, but I can't really remember.
Sylvia's will always be a story for me to friends that I know will never make the trek uptown, even though I know they would love it. New York has truly lost a legend. RIP Sylvia Woods.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Not To Eat Right Before You See The Dark Knight Rises This Weekend

Ok, this is just a blatant attempt on my part to use Batman on my food blog because I'm super excited to go see the new movie. But seriously people, this movie is really long and you need to prepare for the 3 hours of your life that will never be able to get back. So my advice to you? Do not go in with a full bladder! Think of it as an operation, you need to fast the 24 hours beforehand so there won't be any complications. Thankfully you have me...I have put together a list of 'What Not To Eat' before you go see the movie this weekend, and it is as follows:

Delicious and refreshing. Natures gift to humans. Don't even think about drinking any water before you go to the theater! I don't care if you feel faint since it's 100 degrees outside. No matter what your body is telling you, no matter if your legs feel like jelly, under no circumstance are you to indulge in an ice cold glass (or bottle) of water anytime before or during the movie, and that's final!

Sorry, no. No gigantic, super size, gigantic plastic cups of soda. You think water will do you in? Try 72 ounces of delicious Coca-Cola. I don't care if they are offering special Batman collectors cups at the concession stand, you'll just have to live without it. Besides the fact that it's a liquid, it's also filled with lots and lots of gassy bubbles and you know what that leads to...

Doesn't that look yummy? Well get your stinking paws off that Chili Dog you damn dirty human! Two no-no's...Hot Dogs and Chili, a gastronomic explosion just waiting to happen. 'Nuff said.

I know it's the movies and it's probably the only time you ever have popcorn, but I don't care. Eating this bucket of popcorn will lead to a desire to drink a beverage, and that's my do not eat numbers one and two! Buttery, salty and delicious...and evil, perfectly matched with that ridiculous plastic commemorative cup offered at the concession stand. Don't do it! You will be tempted to eat the entire bucket and drink the whole cup by the time the first trailer appears on screen. What do you think is going to happen? You're gonna try and hold it for as long as you can, then when your kidneys start to convulse you'll barely be able to walk to the bathroom, probably tripping before you get there, smashing your face on the floor and you'll be unconscious. Now do you want that to happen?

Apparently Burger King Loves To Step On Your Lettuce Before It Goes On Your Burger

Yet another reason to never, ever eat at Burger King. This lovely photo was posted online by a moronic BK employee who thought it was a joke! Ha, funny. To think that this idiot would do this at all is just plain stupid, but then to put it online? Did he not think that people wouldn't see it? Come on dude. Especially in the world today when everyone is concerned with where their food is coming from and how it's prepared. Not that I ever expect anything good from Burger King, but this just takes the cake. You might be happy to know that 3 people have been fired over this incident and BK insures us that this will never happen again...yeah right. Please click the link below to read the article from the Daily News to find out more...


Wait, There's A SmashBurger In NYC?

Yet another entry into the higher end, fast food Burger Joints, Smashburger is quickly making a name for itself with Hamburger fanatics all over the country. Not quite as well known as the other two majors in this arena, Five Guys and IN-N-OUT (and Shake Shack to a much lesser extent,) Smashburger is certainly gaining steam with plans of doubling their amount of stores up to 200 locations in the next year. I have only heard good things about this chain based out of Denver, CO, but a couple of things that I have just learned make feel not so great about just who created it in the first place.
Tom Ryan created Smashburger back in 2007 looking to take all of his vast experience in creating a better quality burger than say McDonald's. Well Mr. Ryan once worked for McDonald's, and Quizno's, Pizza Hut and Long John Silvers, not exactly the high quality that Smashburger is trying to promote, but I guess I'm just being picky. While at those wonderfully ordinary fast food establishments, Tom Ryan is credited with creating 'Stuff Crust Pizza,' McGriddles,' and the gloriously fattening McFlurry whatever it is. Now you can't really fault him for any of that and certainly his approach for his new venture is one of a much more genuine operation.
So the other day while reading an article on the incredible growth of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Smashburger was referenced as being one of it's chief rivals. Again I had already been familiar with them for awhile even though I have never been. However in reading further I found out that Smashburger actually has one shop in Brooklyn, and it's at 80 Dekalb Ave! Well now you know that I must go there and give it a try so I can experience their 'Locally Inspired' recipe burgers. For instance:

The Brooklyn
Angus Patty, Grilled Pastrami, Swiss Cheese, Pickles, Onions, Yellow Mustard on a Pretzel Bun


The New Yorker
Angus Patty, NY Cheddar Cheese, Garlic Grilled Onions, Fresh Spinach, Tomato and Peppercorn Garlic Aioli on a Brioche Bun

Hmmm....those both sound super delicious. Basically you will only be able to get these two burgers at the Brooklyn location and I think that's kind of neat. Of course you can have any of their other regular menu items or create your own burger. Smashburger also have a very expanded menu unlike it's competitors, so you can bring someone along who isn't really in the mood for a juicy burger...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Five Guys Burgers And Fries Is America's Fastest Growing Chain

Me personally, I think they should call it Five Guys Fries and Burgers. The Fries are so damn good man! I know I've said it a bunch of times, that I love it when they throw in that extra bunch of Fries into my bag. Dark circles of oil stain the bag. Oh how I wish I had some right now. Well Jerry Murrell, the founder and chief executive of Five Guys, certainly obsesses over the Fries:

“Fries are much harder than burgers,” says Murrell. “We work day and night on them, all the damn time.”

Obviously a passionate guy. What else would you expect from the guy who founded the fastest growing restaurant chain in the US? Currently Five Guys has 1,039 locations with another 1,500 expected (WOW!,) 200 companied owned and the other 839 are franchisees. This is where I start to worry about the company. I know it's a great place, the burgers are good and you know how I feel about the Fries. The problem is that in the US we've been down this road with other companies before, and opening up too fast in too many places can be troublesome. For now though Five Guys upholds strict standards when it comes to buying into the franchise, you have to run the business their way or you're out. Of course there's more to it, but they certainly keep a keen eye on all who join them. One of their motto's is to stick to the menu and keep it simple, because they know where other chains have gone wrong:

“They all started to offer too many items and got away from their core.”

Five Guys is a family run company, the Five Guys being Jerry's five sons. They rely heavily on each others opinions, which can be very strong at times, however their open line of communication are at the heart of why they have succeeded. Still one has to worry if they are getting too big for their own good. In fact in some areas of the country their stores have already begun to compete with each other. Granted they are good at what they do, but the bigger you get the harder it will be to maintain the control they have over the stores.

Please take the time to read a more in depth report about Five Guys from Forbes.com:


Shake Shack And Katz Make List Of NYC's 20 Most Iconic Dishes

I love lists like these.

Makes me want to run out and try each of these 20 meals, oh wait I've already had a few of them. It takes a lot of time and hard work (well eating is never hard work really,) to compile a list like this, so it deserves a proper reading:


Hopefully one of these days I will have the time to create a list like this...let's just hope it's sooner than later...

The Foodie Life, Or Life As I Know It...Part I

What a dilemma. I've got about an hour to get across town to 1st Ave to try this new sandwich place that I've heard is amazing. It's 95 degrees outside and I'm wearing dress shoes. A Roast Beef sandwich with Fresh Mozzarella, and drizzled with Au Jus, awaits me at a place called This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef. Honestly what is the dilemma? Nothing is out of the realm of possibility when it comes to eating the next best thing, you see this is what I set out for each and every day. Of course it doesn't always happen...there are lots of swings and misses. Really, that's what keeps me going because I believe that theres always something better, something new that will become my favorite whatever it is.  The sun is relentless in it's pursuit of my nearly bald head, I wish I was wearing shorts, and one of those safari hats with the built in fan. Sweat is pouring down my back, do I already look ridiculous? Maybe, but this is the life. I arrive just as I am about to burst into flames, a fate only reserved for vampires and construction workers. Of course the shop has no air conditioning...figures. That no longer matters. The trek is part of the experience even if I almost died, ok that's a bit of a stretch, but this is not for the everyman I tell you. Most people wouldn't do this. Most people wouldn't spend their first few hours of work deciding what is too far to walk for a delicious once in a lifetime sandwich.
I think I'm nuts. It borders on torture really. To walk halfway across town to a tiny whole of a shop where the ac is on the fritz, to try a sandwich that might just be a let down. How could it be a let down? I think. No way.
My attitude borders on blind faith assuming that no matter what I choose will be good, no in fact, great. Fried Chicken from Texas near Madison Square Park. Ice Cream sandwiches from a food truck in midtown. A Vietnamese sandwich on Broome Street. Whatever it is, it's going to be delicious. That's what I have to believe because I'm taking a huge chunk of my day to go and find the place. Honestly the excursion is part of the experience, it wouldn't be as exciting if all the places were right around the corner, it would just be easier. I'm not sure everyone understands my plight or gets my motivation. Who cares.

A little more than ten years ago I moved away from New York City, all the way across the country to Arizona. It was for work...well it was more than that. I wanted to experience something new, not in a food sense, I'd always been drawn to the Southwest...I don't know why. First it was Phoenix, a place where I felt like I was on vacation everyday. It was only for 9 months, but those were the most memorable 9 months I'd ever had, seeing a part of the country that I somehow always knew that I'd see. The brown landscape littered with the silhouettes of cactus and palm trees. Sunsets so vivd that I'd pull my car over because I couldn't imagine missing it. Was I the only one? Then promotion came and I was asked to leave a place I didn't want to leave, to go to Houston, a place I didn't want to go. This is where it all started.
Houston is an interesting city and I don't mean that in a good way. The best way to describe it is that it's all over the place. What do I mean by that? There is no rhyme or reason to how anything is laid out, there are no zoning laws and certainly no planning. Hey let's build an apartment complex next to this power plant, that seems like a good idea. OK, I'm exaggerating, but for a New Yorker it was like someone was playing SIM City that didn't really know how to play. What I will say about Houston was that it had a ton of great restaurants and one of my favorite grocery stores, Central Market. We lived in an apartment complex just down the street from the store, so we spent a lot of time there. Central Market was truly a gourmet store that offered top quality products in an absolutely gorgeous environment. And that was the draw for me. My favorite section of the store was the sandwich bar where several people stood creating made to order sandwiches. You could choose whatever you wanted or they had a list of some of their signature creations. Two of them were my favorites: The Cuban Sandwich and the Californian.
What makes a good sandwich is the bread, and at Central Market they had some of the best breads you could find in Texas, probably in the whole country. Up until that point I had been a spoiled New Yorker never having to worry about what kind of bread would be used for my sandwich since it was almost always good. Moving out west made me realize quickly that the bread quality wasn't nearly the same. Some say it's the water. I don't know, it's just better.
Back to the sandwiches...the Cuban was a delicious version of the traditional Cubano with it's pressed, crispy panini bread. It was my first true love at the store and I'd say that for the first few months in Houston that's was about all I ever ate. That was until I saw someone with the Californian Sandwich. I'm not a Wheat Bread guy and I would never have ever asked for any sandwich of mine to be made with it, but the day I first saw one of my colleagues eating that sandwich I was hooked. It had Fresh Sliced Turkey, Sliced Avocado, Sprouts, Chives, Cranberry Sauce, Mayo and the kicker, Bacon. All I could say was wow. Up until that point I had been pretty basic in my sandwich choices. Ham, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo on a roll. Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo. Breaded Chicken Cutlet, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo. I never realized how boring I was. That was the moment I became a foodie.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

McDonalds Has A Monopoly On French Fries At The Olympics

If you are going to the Olympics this summer I hope you like McDonald's French Fries, because there the only ones you're gonna get. McDonald's signed an exclusive rights deal with the Olympic organizers to be the only company to be able to sell French Fries at this years London Summer Olympics. It's a monopoly I tell you! I have to wonder how on Earth could the English let this happen? First there was the outcry from some US politicians (politicians are funny) that the USA Olympic uniforms were not actually made in the US (Oh NO!,) and now this? The hypocrisy! What a world! Seriously though, what if I don't like McDonald's Fries and I want to eat some at the Olympics? Wait a minute. It is the Olympics isn't it, where athletes have trained for years to be in tip top shape to try and win a medal, and they're serving McDonald's? I get it, the food is for all the unhealthy people sitting in the stands, gotcha. You'd think that the food at the Olympics would be all fresh and filled with good ingredients. Super duper shakes with vitamins that make you feel like you could run a marathon. Nope. I'm sure McDonald's is gonna pay Michael Phelps a ton of money to stand on a diving board with a Cheeseburger in his mouth proclaiming that's all he eats when he trains. Whoops, he already does that for Subway. Eat Fresh!

Cool Haus NY, For Me, The Best Ice Cream Sandwiches In New York

A few weeks back I posted an article from the NY Daily News that proclaimed the best Ice Cream sandwich in NYC was the Rainbow Cookie Ice Cream sandwich from the Chelsea Pizza Parlor, Donatella. In that same article, in second place, Cool Haus NY was singled out for having some of the biggest and tastiest Ice Cream sandwiches in the city, and I was immediately intrigued. Up until this past Sunday I had yet to make my way to one of their 3 carts in the city, and maybe that sounds like I wasn't trying hard enough, but in my world...good things come to those who wait. I certainly could have rushed over and grabbed one of their 'Sammies' to scarf down all by myself, but what's the fun in that? To me Ice Cream is something to be shared or experienced with others, especially children, and I'm no different. Both of my children would have been pretty upset with me if they had found out that I had gone to Cool Haus without them. Of course I could have lied to them, but I wouldn't have been able to live with myself, besides I already lie to them about going to the movies without them.
Rewind to Sunday when I took the family to the Food Truck Rally in Prospect Park, where 16 of the most delicious Food Trucks in the City were offering their wares. All I wanted was Cool Haus, plain and simple. Sure there was lots to eat, and I ate a lot, but to me one truck stood high above the rest. Nothing so sweet and delicious could ever come without a bit of disappointment because I was hoping to try their Fried Chicken and Waffles Ice Cream, but it was not on the menu. So sad. Life is like that I guess, kind of like Sweet and Sour Chicken at a Chinese restaurant. There wouldn't be happy without a whole lot of sad. OK, I'm overdoing it, but that's how I roll.
Undeterred I perused their menu for the next best thing while my kids screamed out their choices. "I want Chocolate Chip Cookies!" Said my youngest, which was seconded by my Daughter who is four years older. "What Ice Cream do you want guys?" I said calmly pointing to all the choices posted on the side of the truck. My son looked at me with a puzzled look and said..."But Daddy you know I can't read." Of course he can read, he just wanted me to read it for him. We decided on the Banana Ice Cream with some kind of Liquor in it, though I didn't tell him, and my Daughter chose the Root Beer, which would have been my third choice. Mine was the obvious pick, and I'm never one to just go for the simple, however I have often contradicted myself when there is so much to choose from. There it was, staring me right in the eye with a neon sign hanging above it screaming...'EAT ME!' There wasn't a sign, I was imagining that. Anyway I landed on Beer and Pretzel Ice Cream with two Snickerdoodle Cookies to complete the sandwich.
I gotta say that the first thing that amazed me wasn't the size of the sandwiches, but with the absolutely spot on flavor of each and every one. The Beer and Pretzel tasted like Beer and Pretzels. The Root Beer tasted like Root Berry. The Snozzberries tasted like Snozzberries! Oh sorry, that's from Willy Wonka, I do get carried away sometimes. Seriously though it's all about the flavor.
Then of course there's the presentation. When they hand you the just made sandwich it's like a gift from the Ice Cream Gods, wrapped in a freakishly edible piece of paper. Paper doesn't sound to appetizing, does it. Let's just call it a wrapper, but it is essential. Speedy consumption is certainly recommended since the Ice Cream melts pretty fast, but that's all part of the fun. Then there's always the fact that my Son will not finish his whole sandwich, which ultimately means I have to eat the rest. What a burden.
$6 bucks a pop might sound like a lot, and for some people it might just be. However, and I've made this point many times before, when you consider the quality, the flavor, and the presentation, there's no denying that Cool Haus NY is well worth it. There is also no doubt that I won't be completely happy until I try that Fried Chicken and Waffles Ice Cream, and I won't sleep a wink until I do! OK, that's a lie.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Food Truck Rally Was Terrifically Delicious! Part II

Ok, now we are getting down and dirty...not dirty as in food of course. The highlight of the day (for lunch, not dessert,) was the Kimchi Taco Truck, and let me put it to you this way, the food we ate was the best Food Truck Food that I have ever eaten, seriously. It's not even close. We ordered a slew of dishes starting with the Korean BBQ Beef Short Rib and Seared Spicy Pork Tacos. Every single bite was tasty and scrumptious, even the little Corn Tortillas were something of a treat. Really it was the mix of all the ingredients that made it such a treat. Next up was the absolutely stunning Spicy Grilled Chicken Kimchi Bowl and if I had been able to, I would have snagged this from my wife's hand to eat the whole thing myself. It was not meant to be. The far too few fork-fulls that I did manage to get were a perfect mix of flavors similar to the Taco's, but far exceeding them in overall taste. There were so many good things about the dish...the Rice, the Kimchi, Pickled Daikon (whatever that is it was delicious,) Kimchi Slaw and Cucumber Kimchi, it's almost too much when you see it all typed out. To top it all off we also ordered some of their homemade fresh Kimchi, like there was any doubt when the truck is called Kimchi. This is what being a foodie is all about. Taking the family to a place to find exclusive and unique eats that maybe none of us would have if we didn't go, then finding an outstanding truck like the Kimchi Taco truck makes it all worth it. Not to say the other trucks didn't impress, of course...

My choice was premeditated. Right from the get-go I'd been hankering for the Mexicue Truck since it seemingly had avoided me for the past couple of years. Of course I don't mean it really avoided me, It's just that every time I've planned on grabbing some food from their truck something has always gotten in the way. Whether it be a schedule change or weather or something like that, our paths had yet to cross...until today. By the time it had come for me to pick up my food, everyone else was already sitting down to eat their choices, and unfortunately it made me rush. I quickly, and hastily, only selected two of their Tacos...BBQ Short Rib and Chicken, not taking the time to maybe choose something else as well. Suffice it to say they were some delicious Tacos that I shoved into my mouth. I will say that I should have drizzled some of Mexicue's sauce that they had on their counter, but I'll blame that on trying to hurry over to the family. No matter. I added a Mexican Bottled Coca-Cola to the meal, and if you have never had one, it's an amazing difference to the junk that they can and bottle in this country. As for overall satisfaction I'd say I was satisfied and will certainly give them another try because I just have this feeling...

Last but not least was the Lobster Roll that my wife's aunt had from the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck (fondly known as 'Big Red'), $16 bucks worth! Pricey you may say, but for the quality of the Lobster it was well worth it. She got it 'Maine Style' in which the Lobster is tossed in light homemade Mayo, topped with scallions, and then stuffed into a top-split roll. This roll was as good as any I have ever tried, including ones I have eaten up in Cape Cod.

A pretty awesome day. Not only was the food great but the setting was just as good. Grand Army Plaza is the perfect setting, with it's eclectic mix of architecture and glorious sculptures honoring the past, it was an honor to be there...oh and filling too!