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Category Archives: nyc

Have a Heart

I headed back home recently to celebrate my birthday with my parents. And celebrate I did by eating a burger in the heart of New York City: Times Square. We decided to check out Heartland Brewery’s HB Burger which touts itself as “the only full-service burger-oriented restaurant in the Times Square area”. I opted for their standard HB burger which uses fresh ground Pat LaFreida patties and tops them with aged NY cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, an onion ring (!) and garlic aioli all on a brioche bun.

The burger came out medium as requested (and I should hope so if burgers are your business!). In typical LaFrieda fashion, the meat was juicy and delicious. Bacon was smoky and crisp, pairing nicely with the aged cheddar. My only complaint would be the bun. It’s no secret that brioche buns aren’t my first choice, but when done well they can be excellent. This bun was overly dry which totally threw off the great taste of all the other burger components. Oh sure, it came in handy sopping up all the meat juices, but having to take extra sips of my beer in between bites became tiresome. My mom order the crab cake burger and had the same complaint, eventually giving up on the bun entirely. Some of the other burgers are served on a potato bun, which I would have preferred but obviously wouldn’t have been able to contain all the toppings. In any case, this was still a solid burger that you can enjoy right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of NYC (without any creepy costumed characters trying to steal your fries).

Burger rating: “B”

 

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The Splatty Awards!

Welcome all to our 100th post! In honor of this milestone, I bring you a little something I like to call “The Splatty Awards!”: recapping the best things I have been eating, drinking & doing for the past year or so.

Best food item that comes in a jar: Tomato Conserva at In Riva 

Briefly removed from their winter menu for a few weeks in December (in which I cried into my pillow every night), the Tomato Conserva is back in action!

This sweet bruschetta will have you licking the jar clean & begging for more!

Best New York City to Philly transplant (other then myself): Shake Shack

Danny Meyer’s fast-casual burger joint quickly gained a fandom on Sansom Street in the summer of 2012, and expanded this year with outposts in University City & King of Prussia.

The Smoke Shack was initially conceived for the Philadelphia location, but has expanded to all Shacks globally.

Best food I used to be terrified of but now can’t stop eating: Oysters

Yeah, they’re slimy and salty and weird and jiggly, but they’re also delicious!

I’ve been making it my mission to hit every buck a shuck & half price oyster night in town.

Best pop-up: Lucky Old Souls’ Patty Melt Pop-up at Kennett

 When the LOS truck’s engine went kaput this fall, the team at Kennett lent them a hand – and their kitchen – for the evening to raise money for a new one.

And maybe I’m a little bit biased because it was my suggestion to turn out patty melts; a once in a blue moon burger special they were serving up on East Passyunk last spring.

Best Beer Drinking Event: Philly Beer Week Opening Tap

I’ve been partaking in Opening Tap for the past two years now, and seriously, if you’re not making this a priority during PBW, you’re missing out.

Opening Tap showcases the best and brightest of the local Philadelphia beer scene under one roof (the Independence Visitors Center, to be exact). But remember, it’s a marathon – not a sprint!

Best Beer Drinking Event Involving Animals: Summer Ale Fest at the Philadelphia Zoo

Great Beer + Local Food + Adorable Animals = One of the most awesome times you will ever have. Don’t forget to take a selfie of yourself “drinking a beer” with a tiger!

Most of the animals are actually awake compared to a day trip, and zoo docents are on hand to provide detailed information on your favorite critters.

Best Happy Hour (tie): Sampan and Alla Spina

Sampan gets the advantage as they have happy hour 7 days a week from 4-7 PM, but Alla Spina offers some great bar bites and their Victory Brewing beer collab, Novello, for only $3!

Don’t miss Sampan’s edamame dumplings or the pretzel bites with beer cheese at Alla Spina (they come in an adorable wooden piggy)!

Best Brunch: Jerry’s Bar

The Brunch crowd mourned the loss of Cafe Estelle for many months, but Marshall Green’s famous & delicious sticky buns have finally found a new home in Northern Liberties.

I hated Bloody Marys until I tried the one at Jerry’s and now I’m hooked. Seriously – best Bloody Mary ever!

Best Restaurant: Spot Burger

But isn’t Spot Burger a food truck?”, you’re probably asking yourself. Well, who says a restaurant needs to be defined by four brick walls?

 SpOt Owner/Grillmaster Josh Kim is the hardest working man in these streets right now, and he proves it on a weekly basis with his innovative specials (like a $10 Lobster Roll this summer), as well as his philanthropic efforts. He supports dozens of college organizations and local charities, frequently running specials and donating portions of his proceeds to these causes. He’s been a champion for food truck rights in Philadelphia, residing on the board of the Philly Mobile Food Association, and turned the corner of 33rd and Arch St into the “Food Truck Mecca”. So next time you see his yellow cart around, grab some grub; you won’t be disappointed! Spot serves up one of the best burgers in town.

And that concludes our awards ceremony! I hope you’ll at least check out some of the places and foods I love, in addition to the delicious burgers I recap for you guys each week. Got any great places and foods you think I should try? Post em up in the comments section and maybe they’ll wind up on my “best of” list next year!

Smorgasburg!

A few weeks ago after a Friday night bender in NYC, my hangover left me with an insatiable hunger to eat ALL THE THINGS! But what did I want? (Making decisions when hungover is wayyyy hard, bro.) Enter – SMORGASBURG: An outdoor food flea market wonderland located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You want a chicken pie pot with a corn on the cob on the side and a vegan, low-fat, organic smoothie, plus some s’more macaroons for dessert? Well, your wish has been granted because you can find pretty much anything and everything your palate desires in this lot located down by the East River which houses several dozen vendors every Saturday. 

 Yummy-ness awaits just past these chain-link gates!
With so many options to choose from, we were unsure just where to begin. We did a lap around first so that we didn’t choose one place and then walk 5 feet, see an awesome-r place and then go “SHIT! I shoulda went there instead! 
Obviously I was tempted to go for a burger first, especially when DuMont was serving up 6 oz mini sliders. Since we were sharing, it was kind of a one-bite deal, but still pretty juicy & tasty! I loved the tiny brioche bun, but the bread & butter pickles were kind of meh. (Those are my dad’s favorite, not mine.)

Our next stop was Lumpia Shack. If you’re not familiar with lumpia, they are delicious Filipino spring rolls – and I’m a giant sucker for them. 

They had a special roll of the day, which was Kaldereta – a short rib filled spring roll – so we got an order of those, as well as their “vegetarian option” consisting of a fresh veggie and tofu salad on a crepe, almost like an inside-out spring roll. The Kaldereta rolls were good, but the salad was a little bit lacking. I was kind of unsure what to even do with the crepe since it was soft and mushy from the salad, so it was too hard to eat. I think maybe if they kind of rolled the crepe around the salad like a wrap, it would be a little easier to eat. 

Kaldereta lumpia!
“Fresh Lumpia” salad – tasted good, but not well executed.
Just shortly down the walk from Lumpia Shack we found Brooklyn Piggies, where they were serving up fat little pups in puff pastry. Too awesome to pass up, and at only $2 a pop, we just had to get one. My only complaint is that the puff pastry crumbles as soon as you take a bite, so you’re kind of like, grasping at these bits of dough falling out of your mouth. Still yummy, though!

What food adventure would be complete without dessert? We stopped at Dough, whose slogan is “We Fry in Bed-Stuy”. These doughnuts are probably the best thing to come out of that part of Brooklyn since Biggie Smalls! They’re big and yeasty and delicious – and they blow Federal Doughnuts right out of the water.
I ordered a Cafe Au Lait doughnut and it was so friggin good that I was greedy and didn’t even share with my dining buddy. (Sorry! But c’mon, look at that thing! You wouldn’t share either.)
And finally, just when we thought we had eaten everything we could and we were going to explode, we decided we just had to get a little bit crazy and try out fried anchovies at Bon Chovie. With an awesome, rockin’ name like that, how could we not check them out??
 For those about to Nom, we salute you. 
(Yes, I know that is AC/DC and not Bon Jovi, but just go with it.)
So, I’d never had an anchovy before. I have never had a desire to have an anchovy. But I’ll try anything once. Because hey, you never know – you might like it. 
 And… yeah, that’s it. I took one bite and I did not like it. Anchovies are not for me.
(This was also probably the worst thing to eat when it was 97 degrees out.)
Smorgasburg has something for every one, so pack up your shit and head over there some Saturday afternoon already! (And if you can’t find anything you like there, then you’re the pickiest eater alive and I have no respect for you.)
 
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