You know how commercials make their food look really good by using fake plastic props? Well, Shake Shack’s actually look like that!! (see figure 2)
With Lindsey out of town visiting her family, I decided to take a jaunt to the famed burger joint in Madison Square Park, in front of the Flatiron building. I braved the 45-minute line (figure 1), which is something I NEVER would have done in Atlanta.
Luckily, it’s every bit as good as advertised. Extremely greasy, but clearly quality beef, and the cheese had burnt char on it - melty in the middle and crisp on the outside. Maybe not the best burger I’ve had, even in New York, but it’s arguably up there, and more than well worth a visit - especially on a sunny, 67-degree afternoon. The setting alone makes the food that much more enjoyable (figure 3).
Last night, in honor of the Top Chef: Texas finale (which, admittedly I have not seen at press time, though I do know what happens - thanks, Facebook!!), Lindsey, myself and our new-New York friend (though we know each other via mutual friends in Atlanta) got together and cooked a couple recipes from Food & Wine submitted from former Top Chef contestants.
The results? Seared Scallops with Bacon-Braised Rainbow Chard (yes, Lindsey’s back on the bacon train for the time being) by Stephanie Izard; and Ginger-Lime Baby Carrots by our hometown Atlanta chef Richard Blais.
The analysis? Lindsey said it was the best scallops dish we’ve ever made, or that she’s ever eaten. I can’t remember which. Either one could be correct in my book. An all-around triumph. Plus, both dishes were super easy, and the scallops cost more than the rest of the ingredients combined. The even brighter side to that is we ACTUALLY served correct portion sizes, and there are three uncooked scallops waiting for me at home tonight, which I will promptly sear and place upon my reheated chard concoction.
We’ve been here in New York now for just more than a month, which sort of blows my mind. It feels like we’ve been here for years and for just a few days all at the same time. We’ve thrown ourselves into the experience head first, taking in everything we can in the spirit of we only live once. Specifically, that we only live in New York once.
We’ve kept so busy, in fact, that we haven’t given ourselves time to really process the change. To realize that it’s no longer a simple drive up GA 400 to hang out with my sister and play with my nephews. To understand that we can’t just throw the dogs in the car and drive over to our friend’s place to grill out on a Sunday night. To comprehend that all the things we’d grown to love and count on for the past 7 years in Atlanta are now nearly a thousand miles away.
My sister and I have birthdays that are 3 weeks apart, hers being Jan. 27 and mine Feb. 10. Every year in recent memory, we’ve done a joint birthday celebration in Atlanta. Nothing crazy, just our family getting together at a restaurant in town. But it was something I’d grown to count on…a small tradition.
I think that’s what I’m missing right now. Those traditions—big and small—that had become such a natural part of our lives that we didn’t know to miss them, until now.
It’s a hard thing, to learn to live a new life in a new city. But, it’s exciting too. Despite some tinges of sadness here and there, that underlying sense of excitement and adventure has never left us.
Another thing that hasn’t left us? Our love of Mexican food, especially tacos (hence the photo at the beginning of this post). And, in New York, the city of every food imaginable, they have been surprisingly hard to find.
There are plenty of Mexican restaurants in our area, but they tend to be upscale-ish. We just want a simple, straightforward taqueria. Unfortunately, the more we searched for—and couldn’t find—this taqueria, the more we craved tacos. To the point of obsession (for me, I shouldn’t speak for Dan).
On the first Saturday of every month, the Brooklyn Museum hosts Free Target Saturdays, which means free admission, special music, guided tours, food, drinks and other revelry from 5 p.m. on. Not too far from the Brooklyn Museum is Gueros Brooklyn. Gueros is a taqueria.
I’m not going to say that the reason I suggested going to the Brooklyn Museum last Saturday night was my hope that we’d go to there afterward, but I’m not going to say it wasn’t at least part of my motivation to make the trip either.
Gueros is essentially a counter with a few tables, and, based on our experience Saturday night, it’s a pretty busy place. After eating some of their cheap and delicious tacos, I understand why. It is what it should be: a no-frills, neighborhood taqueria. And they have real, white Mexican cheese dip. That’s huge.
Too bad for us, it is also about an hour trek from our apartment in the West Village. I have a feeling that means we’re outside of their delivery area. Good for us, though, is that we found a nearby stand in (!): Tacombi.
Tacombi is a food cart inside Chelsea Market, a mere five blocks away from our apartment. Yesterday, Dan and I walked there for a quick lunch (he had a meeting in the city and was working from home), and it…was…glorious. The photo at the top is of their sweet corn and poblano pepper tacos. Yum.
Glorious as it was, this search is not over. No matter how many pitchers of margaritas or baskets of chips and salsa we have to go through, we will not stop until we find the best taco place in New York.
Do you know of a great taqueria that we should try?
What a pleasant surprise to come home to after a 13-hour day, especially since it came on the heels of a four-day business trip. Fettucine with wild mushroom sauce (left), with a tasty appetizer/side - it served as both - of cauliflower latkes. We didn’t have the ingredients for the aioli on the recipe, so we improvised with our own! Thanks to my lovely wife and distinguished co-blogger for the great recipe choices and superb cooking.
It’s the first day of February and it’s 60 degrees in Manhattan.
I thought that deserved its own paragraph. Anyway, Dan and I had big plans to walk to Madison Square Park today to get lunch al fresco at Shake Shack. Not even a quarter of the way there, we realized how hungry we were. There was no way we’d make it another 10 blocks without having low blood sugar anger attacks.
Thankfully, A Salt & Battery, a little fish and chips shop on Greenwich Ave. between Horatio and Jane streets, came to the rescue. We sat outside on a bench and shared a large order of fish and chips with a side of coleslaw.
Food was really good, but enjoying lunch outdoors in the dead of winter was even better.
Magnolia Bakery, we meet again…