I have lived in NYC for 7 years. And I love this city – I do. From its grimy subways to its (now defunct) MOMA button-tickets to the way that Riverside park smells after it rains…I would kiss its sidewalks if I wouldn’t get some unspeakable disease.
I especially love the plethora of delicious food that ranges from holes in the wall to 3 Michelin starred eateries. It has more good restaurants per square foot than almost anywhere on earth (scientific data provided by my mom).
But we don’t do everything right, do we?
If you are a visitor or a recent transplant, there are a few pitfalls you can make.
Just follow this list and you will avoid all that is unworthy of your stomach space.
I have eaten tacos in the city. And I have enjoyed them. I admit this. However, not one taco I have had can go toe to toe for value and taste with the lousiest taco on any street corner in Tucson, AZ. Those greasy flattop trucks with their grimy Tupperware containers filled with incendiary salsa, roughly chopped cilantro and onion, and lime wedges. Those thick, lumpy tortillas that are obviously handmade and that caramelized, crispy, beefy carne seca. It’s, like, 3 for a dollar. And whether it’s 1 AM or 5 at night, it is always super delicious.
Chicken in foil, rumaki, pineapple on everything and drinks served in a coconut. I LOVE 1950s inspired Hawaiian and Polynesian food – the sweet, sticky sauces, the succulent meats, the conspicuous absence of any vegetable not coated in sugar. And they do it well a lot of places. Just not here – the L + L is a pale comparison to its Pacific counterpart). Could you imagine what a good plate lunch would do to the food frenzied citizens of NYC?
Similarly to generic fast food, this is sadly lacking in the NYC restaurant scene. I ‘m not talking about small, casual affairs that offer merguez sandwiches. I’m talking about places like Dar Maghreb, where an expansive restaurant tiled with turquoise and gold is filled with pillows on the floor and elegant belly dancers who entrance you as you lick powdered sugar from your finger and tear into sweet and savory pigeon pies.
I mean, is that so much to ask?
Generic fast food
It’s not that it’s done badly here, it’s that there is none here. Where are the multiple Taco Bells? Why is Wendy’s just in midtown? And for the love of all that is holy, SONIC, WHERE ARE YOU? I am a Shake Shack devotee, but damn it, sometimes a gal just wants tator tots and a diet limeade!
Because nobody does it like the Brits. Here, it is too often served with whipped cream instead of clotted cream, with sandwiches far too thick, and with tea that is the equivalent to bathwater. Worst of all, it’s often served in a casual manner. NO, NO , NO! That’s not what high tea is about! It’s about dressing up in clothes that you never wear and look somewhat dated. It’s about the ritual of spending 3 hours taking smack in low whispers. It’s about getting a sugar rush right before dinner time. It’s fancy, damnnit, and it should stay that way! (sidenote – the only place I have been for tea that has even approached my totally snobby standards is The Carlyle).
I realize that this post is heavily slanted towards the West coast, and don’t think that my allegiance lies there just because of my birth certificate.
I love NYC. I live in it, and for it.