Thursday, August 13, 2009

For The Love of Food

Silverware is overrated. Who doesn't enjoy the freedom and fun of diving hands first into an incredible dish? So wash up and get ready, because I've compiled a list of my favorite New York City spots to eat with your hands. It may sound barbarous, but in a city where the knife and fork have reigned supreme, its nice to know that low brow street food has made its way into the culinary hearts of New Yorkers.

First up is NYC's hottest ramen spot, Ippudo. Even Frank Bruni has boarded the ramen train, and he was thoroughly impressed by Ippudo's bravado. I discovered this portal to Japan through Mika the Nail Diva, and although it boasts increasingly long waits due to its popularity, the wait is always worth it. Once inside you must try their deconstructed steamed buns which come with either chicken, pork or shrimp - light, fluffy and delicious. Ippudo, 65 4th Avenue, between 9th & 10th.

Mexican food isn't exactly the lightest fare, but the tacos at Mercadito are incredibly fresh and flavorful. I was never that enamored by tacos, but that changed after I took my first bite at Mercadito's. Their pescado tacos pop with the addition of homemade tomatillo salsa, and their mole tacos are heavenly. Mercadito, 179 Avenue B, between 11th & 12th.

An open-faced sandwich never sounds all that enticing until you see what Cafe Gitane has hiding up their sleeve. The cozy French-Moroccan cafe serves hands down the best summer sandwich I've had in the city. Their Pains Garnis, or sandwiches to you Americans, are all fantastic but the real gem is their smoked chicken on cranberry-nut bread with mango, arugula and mayonnaise. Cafe Gitane, 242 Mott St, between Prince & Houston.

My love affair with oysters began last year and it's still going strong... okay, I'm obsessed. The second anyone mentions oysters I become a raving lunatic. So having an authentic seafood oasis around the corner from me is both a blessing and a curse. The Mermaid Inn is always stocked with amazing oysters from both the East and West coasts, so when a craving strikes I know where to get my fix. The Mermaid Inn, 96 2nd Avenue, between 5th & 6th.

Last up is my favorite cafe in the city. It's spacious, comfortable, and packed exclusively with Italians. Everything about Epistrophy Cafe is authentic, from the wait staff to their unbelievable cappuccinos, and rustic food. I often spend hours there with my laptop, grateful for their free WiFi, and crispy paninis. A real Italian experience isn't complete without an amazing meat and cheese platter, and Epistrophy's Tagliere di Terra truly offers a taste of Italy. Epistrophy Cafe, 200 Mott St, between Spring & Kenmare.

Photograph by Maya from Itinerant Foodies

1 comment: