Friday, November 30, 2012

Bagel Doctor West in Franklin Square, NY

While on Long Island, I had a bagel for breakfast from a restaurant called Bagel Doctor West. I suppose there is or was other Bagel Doctors in the area if they needed to add West to the end of the name. The restaurant was in a small strip mall and was typical of many of the other bagel places in the area.
I had an everything bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese. The bagel was large and tasty, although it was slightly lacking in the seed department. I always find it interesting how different places do smoked salmon cream cheese. Sometimes it's the normal color of cream cheese with bits of lox mixed in, while other times it's blended resulting in a pink cream cheese that looks like it should be some sort of dessert flavor. Bagel Doctor West did the pink cream cheese. I personally prefer the first way of doing salmon cream cheese, but I still enjoyed this bagel regardless.

Bagel Doctor West on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck

Mister Softee is an ice cream truck franchise that seems to be very prevalent in the New York/New Jersey area. These trucks are found all over the place, whether it be in a city park, street corner, or doing the traditional ice cream truck thing by driving around residential neighborhoods. Unlike many of the ice cream trucks that are found down south, Mister Softee serves soft serve ice cream rather than only pre-packaged stuff. On my various visits up north, somehow I always find myself making a purchase from a Mister Softee truck. There's really nothing exceptional about the ice cream, but I enjoy the novelty of ice cream trucks. Here's a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate from a Mister Softee that I waved down on Long Island.
Mister Softee trucks make it to the middle of the East River too. I found this truck parked on Governor's Island. I noticed the Mister Softee trucks parked in New York City parks have much higher prices than the trucks that drive around outside the city.
Mister Softee recently appeared in Orlando for a while. This Mister Softee truck was often found at the local food truck events and was occasionally spotted driving around neighborhoods. I'm not entirely sure if this truck is still around, but it has been a while since I've seen the Orlando Mister Softee Truck.
One thing that bothered me about the Orlando Mister Softee was that the people running it said it was impossible to dip a cone in both sauce (chocolate or cherry) and nuts. The Mister Softee trucks up north all do it, so I don't see while it would be impossible in Florida. Here's a cherry dipped vanilla cone from the Orlando truck when they were at Lake Lily in Maitland.
This discussion of ice cream trucks has become much longer than I originally intended when I started writing this post, but I enjoy ice cream trucks. I apparently enjoy writing about them too...

Mister Softee Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nathan's in Coney Island, NY

I was in New York. I had just rode thirteen miles on a unicycle from the Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island. The end of this epic ride was in front of the original Nathan's Famous hot dogs. It was time to eat and a hot dog seemed like an appropriate food.
The inside of Nathan's was very busy with lines stretching out of the building. I got the feeling that most people in here were tourists, just like me, coming to get their taste of a famous Coney Island food.
I ordered a hot dog with sauerkraut. It was exactly as I expected, just like what is served at the countless other Nathan's locations around the country. It was a hot dog, nothing more. The sauerkraut did dress it up a bit, but in the end it was still a pretty standard hot dog.
Nathan's hot dogs are highly overrated, but a visit to Nathan's in Coney Island isn't really about the food. It's about the whole experience of going to a fast food landmark. Just don't throw up your hot dog when you get sick on the Cyclone or Wonder Wheel afterwards...

The Original Nathan's Famous Est. 1916 on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Taj in East Village, NY

Another night in New York and I found myself looking for dinner again. This took me to the Little India section of the East Village where I ate at a restaurant called Taj.
They had musicians providing entertainment with sitar and drums near the entrance of the restaurant.
Taj offered a six course dinner for under $10, so that's what I went with. Course number one was a bowl of red lentil soup. The bright orange color of red lentils make soup look more enticing compared to their brown counterparts.
Course number two was a samosa appetizer. The vegetarian samosa contained potatoes and vegetables, wrapped up in a pastry-like shell.
The third, fourth, and fifth courses were all served simultaneously. These included a basket of naan and a big plate of rice for the table to share. The main course also came out at this point. This was the chicken tikka masala in my case. Cubes of chicken were served in an orange, yogurt based sauce and was very tasty. The vegetables that were also supposed to be in the dish were unfortunately nowhere to be found.
Course number six was rice pudding for dessert. I honestly wasn't counting how many courses we were served for the entire meal, so it was an unexpected nice surprise when dessert was served. It was an even nicer surprise when a second serving of rice pudding was brought to the table after we finished the first!

I enjoyed my meal at Taj. I really like these multi-course meals that all of the Indian restaurants in this neighborhood seem to all serve. They end up being a really good deal for the price, and I would much rather eat Indian food like this as opposed to the much more common Indian buffets.

Taj on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oliviero Café in New York, NY

I was wandering around Manhattan near Times Square late one evening when it was decided that everyone was hungry and food was required. Without venturing too close to the overpriced chains that dwell in Times Square, we decided to try a deli/supermarket/convenience store that was open called Oliviero Cafe.
They had a much bigger selection of foods than I was expecting. There was a salad bar. There was a sandwich counter. They had sushi and a pasta bar. It seemed like they were in over their heads in trying to do everything, but it seemed to be working.
I ordered from the Korean section of the menu and had the vegetarian bibimbop. Not being well rounded in my Korean foods, I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting but it was described as a rice bowl. The bibimbop turned out to be a large bowl of steamed rice topped with a fried egg, mushrooms, onions, squash, carrots, and broccoli in what tasted like a teriyaki-like sauce.
Korean food was the last thing I was expecting when I walked into Oliviero Cafe, but I enjoyed my meal. It is hard to go wrong with a bowl of rice, vegetables, and an egg...

Café Oliviero on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 19, 2012

Triple Crown Diner in Jamaica, NY

Random post about a Greek diner in Queens called Triple Crown Diner. The diner is located relatively close to the Belmont Racetrack, hence the Triple Crown name. Like most of the other 24-hour diners like this in the area, it's superior to one of the chain 24-hour restaurants for late night food.
I ordered scrambled eggs, homefries, and toast on my visit to this diner. It all tasted exactly how you would expect. The eggs tasted like eggs, the homefries needed salt, and the toast was pre-buttered. It did the job for late-night food...

Triple Crown Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mama's in Copiague, NY

I headed out towards a Long Island beach town while in New York. This brought me to Copiague where I had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mama's.
The meal started out with a basket of garlic knots. The doughy knots of tastyness were covered in plenty of garlic and parmesan cheese and were served with a bowl of tomato sauce for dipping.
For another appetizer, everyone shared one of the specials that Mama's had for the day. It was a large caesar salad topped with fried calamari. I've never seen that combination before, but I liked it.
We also had the Margherita Pizza. This pie was topped with lots of fresh mozzarella, sauce, and basil. It seemed like the pizza was cooked a little unevenly with one side of the pie being way more doughy than the other, but otherwise this was a very respectable pizza!

Mama's Pizza & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Lobster Place in Chelsea, NY

A recent visit to New York involved a visit to the Chelsea Market. This was my first visit to the Chelsea Market, regardless of all of the foodie press that it receives. I personally found all of the industrial remnants of the old Nabisco factory that once occupied the space as one of the most interesting aspects of the whole market. While there, we ate dinner at The Lobster Place.
The Lobster Place was a large seafood market with all kinds of sea life for sale. Lobsters were included in this selection, of course. The smallest lobsters that they had available while I was there started at about $25, and lobster honestly isn't my favorite marine crustacean, so I passed. Everyone else seemed to be gobbling them up though.
I went with a sandwich from what they called the Shack in the Back.
I ordered the Smoked Salmon Baguette, consisting of vodka dill smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese, and onion on a baguette. When I went back to pick up the food, I received this sandwich. My first thought was that toasted white bread definitely wasn't what I would call a baguette. Second thought after I saw that the salmon was mushed up into a salad and saw bacon on the sandwich was that I wasn't given the correct sandwich. Turned out I was given the Crab Club instead...
 I took it back and the guy behind the counter started arguing that I told him I wanted a Crab Club even though my receipt listed the proper sandwich. Begrudgingly, I eventually was given my proper sandwich which was much more to my liking. The sandwich had very tasty, thinly sliced, lox-style smoked salmon. The bread was nice and crusty and was much better than the Crab Club's bread. Chips, cole slaw, and a pickle were served on the side.

Someone else at the table ordered the Salmon Rillete Roll. This sandwich had a mix of fresh and smoked salmon in salad form. My sandwich was superior...
The Lobster Place was an experience. The huge selection of seafood for sale was very fun to look at, but the food itself was slightly forgettable. My sandwich was good, but any bagel place could serve something up just as good and out of the sandwiches I saw, mine looked like the best option. Plus, the whole sandwich mix-up and the employee arguing that it was my fault didn't exactly seem right...

Lobster Place on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bad Burger in East Village, NY

Another NYC food post! I had lunch at a restaurant called Bad Burger while up there. Bad Burger had a large selection of burgers on the menu, along with breakfast served all day. I actually did not eat breakfast on this particular day, so I knew which menu I'd be ordering from.
I had the Huevos Rancheros, consisting of a large tortilla topped with scrambled eggs, black beans, home fries, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. It was a huge amount of food and was very tasty. Pretty much everything on the plate was flavored very well, with the possible exception of the sour cream since it tasted like plain sour cream (as it should).
With the nature of travel, chances are that I will never return to Bad Burger. If I did live in New York though, I would consider coming back for another plate of these huevos rancheros...

Bad Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 9, 2012

Organic Falafel Street Cart in New York, NY

Who needs variety? The previous post that was published on this blog was about Halal carts in New York where I tried some of their falafel. I'll keep with that theme and write about more falafel from a New York City street vendor. I was wandering around lower Manhattan looking for a place to get some breakfast and came across a street festival. There was a stand selling organic falafel and I decided it would work for filling my breakfast requirements.
The falafel pita was a bit overpriced (I'm assuming because of the organic part) compared to most, but I still went for it. It was filled with falafel, stuffed grape leaves, lettuce, tomato, rice, and the obligatory white and hot sauces. I honestly wasn't a big fan of this particular sandwich. I found the falafel and rice to be very dry and bland tasting, regardless of the sauces. The grape leaf was a nice touch, but it didn't make up for the rest of the sandwich. Towards the end, I found myself sharing some of the rice and pita with the pigeons that were swarming in the park where I sat down to eat rather than finishing the sandwich myself.
Regardless of not being a big fan of the sandwich, eating street food in New York always makes me happy for some reason. There was also a very nice view of this humongous building, which I honestly had no idea was so large already. For some reason, I still thought there was still arguments going on about the final design...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halal Carts of Bellerose, NY

New York is a wonderful city when it comes to food. So many people from all over the world, in such a tight concentration, all bringing their foods along with them. I mentioned in a previous post that I came across an Indian/Middle Eastern neighborhood in Queens that I never knew existed. I had some vegetarian Indian food on that initial visit, but I also noticed some Halal carts parked on street corners. I had heard of New York's Halal carts, but I had never eaten at one up until now...

The first time I wanted some late night food that wasn't a diner or fast food, I tried Sahara Halal Foods. This cart was apparently connected to the Middle Eastern supermarket behind where they were located.
I tried their combo plate, which came with thinly sliced gyro meat, chicken skewers, and chicken kofta. The three meats were served over a huge mound of yellow rice and a salad consisting of exclusively iceberg lettuce. I had everything topped with their white sauce and hot sauce. 
One of my co-eaters for the night ordered the falafel platter. I traded some of my meat for some of her falafel, which was also very tasty. I liked how mine came with a nice variety of meats. A huge pile of only falafel might have gotten boring after a while.
On another late night a few days later, I returned to this neighborhood and tried Muhsin's Halal Cart. This cart was located diagonally across the street from the Sahara cart and had a very similar menu. The major difference that I noticed was that Muhsin's used white rice as opposed to Sahara's yellow rice. Both had decent lines when I ate at each.
I tried a falafel sandwich from this cart. A big puffy pita was filled with several falafel balls, lettuce, tomato, along with white and hot sauce. It was good, but I think I should have gone with another one of those rice platter things.
I enjoyed my late night New York street food experiences during this trip. I can now say that I've tried the famed NYC Halal carts that I've heard so much about! These are another type of street food that is missing from Orlando as far as I know. We have a falafel truck, but I don't know of anyone selling late night, Middle Eastern meat over rice. I predict one would do very well parked outside some of the clubs in downtown Orlando. I couldn't care less about the religious affiliation, but just make a similar style of food. I'm waiting...

Sahara Halal Cart on Urbanspoon


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