Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Brunch is definitely a big deal in New York. 
It goes on a lot longer than in London and doesn't seem to be confined to breakfast foods (burger for brunch anyone?)

Last week we went to Red Rooster in Harlem (an easy 20 minute stroll from our flat) for their famous Gospel Sunday Brunch.

It was completely packed when we arrived with a very buzzy atmosphere. We were part of a large group and were originally told it would be a 90 minute wait (no reservations allowed). 

However the amazing gospel singer had just started up and it seemed worth the wait. She was great and really worked the crowd - there was a lot of American clapping and whooping!

Thankfully we were seated in less than half an hour and immediately ordered coffee and corn bread served with pots of honey butter and tomato jam. I would have been completely happy just eating that!

But there was a whole lot more to come... 

Everything was absolutely delicious (although I have to say I still don't really get the appeal of grits) but special mention has to go to the super tasty and crispy fried chicken with yummy hot sauce. 
Perfect comfort food for a freezing cold Sunday. 

Look how happy I am with the spread before me!

It was lovely as always to see Elaine who was in town from San Francisco.

This kind of food seems completely American to me and it was really great to experience something that felt so new as New York often ends up feeling similar to London.

 Having said that I got really excited walking through Harlem on a busy Sunday morning as it felt so much like my lovely Dalston!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Food cart heaven

Today we had an amazing afternoon of non-stop eating thanks to Cat who gave us a food cart walking tour as our welcome to New York present. 

It may have been a little overcast and drizzly but it was a brilliant two-hour, 6 course, walking lunch with a very knowledgeable and entertaining actor/foodie/blogger tour-guide and some completely delicious dishes to be sampled.

So this is what we ate today...

Cart 1. Trini Paki Boys

Possibly the most unassuming (and interestingly named) of the food carts, you really wouldn't notice this one in the crowd of midtown carts. But it was probably our favourite food of the day! 
This cart has been run for 23 years by Fatima (from Trinidad) and her husband (from Pakistan) and now her five sons help out too.

Spicy chicken curry and rice with three sauces (hot, white and tamarind). 
Apparently many other cart owners have tried to buy her hot sauce recipe for quite large sums of money and you can taste why. 
So good!

Cart 2. El Ray Del Sabor

Pork quesadilla with guacamole, tomato salsa, sweetcorn salsa and chipotle sauce.

Very tasty Mexican food and the chipotle sauce was good and smoky. 
Possibly the least exciting course of the day but that's probably our fault as we were too scared to go for the grasshopper quesadilla option (two in our group did and their only description was 'crunchy').

Cart 3. Bapcha

Apparently Babcha is Korean for rice cart. 
They served us a selection of Korean meats with spicy noodles. Chicken, pork and beef were all delicious but the Galbi beef was our favourite. It was marinated in pear juice, soy sauce and spices and was incredibly flavoursome and tender. Will definitely be back here and I also want to try out their eat-in restaurant in Korea Town. Even the two Korean girls in our tour group thought the food was excellent.

At each stop we learned a bit more about the history and politics of food carts in New York from our super enthusiastic tour guide Brian Hoffman.

Cart 4. Biryani Cart

This place has won so many awards and seems to have featured on every US cooking show. Apparently after 11pm you have to queue for over an hour for your curry.

We got to eat their amazing chicken kati rolls and we must remember this place for when we're craving curry. 

The group waiting for their kati rolls 
(everyone was getting pretty full by this point but still going strong!)

Cart 5. Kwik Meal

 Final savoury course was falafel from Kwik Meal. These falafel were incredibly fresh and crispy and the yoghurt sauce was garlicky heaven. We also got to sample their famous leg of lamb. Mmmm.

Cart 6. Wafels and Dinges


Apparently dinges is the Belgian word for stuff and in this case applies to all the stuff (or toppings) you might want to put on your wafels.

Dense, moist, caramelly wafles were coated in their signature spread - Spekuloos Spread.
Looks like peanut butter but is made from Belgian ginger cookies and is such a yummy dinges.

 And the best things is that every Monday the Wafel and Dinges truck is based right at the end of our street - this might have to become a new start the week tradition!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow day!

This is the sight we woke up to on Saturday morning... our first New York snow!  
(it was possible the earliest and quickest I've seen Dave get up since we got here)

We love snow! 
It wasn't too deep but it was the kind of fluffy, powdery snow you just don't seem to get in Britain.

Straight after toast and coffee we got wrapped up in our winter gear and headed down to Riverside Park. 
Even Broadway felt really peaceful.

 The park was in full-on Snow Day mode (complete with friendly park rangers serving free hot coffee)

Everyone seemed so happy. Snow! On a Saturday! 

Lots of people were sledging (there were even quite a few cross country skiing) and all the hay-bales in front of trees and benches that we'd previously queried now made sense. 
They are sledging buffers!

Luckily the snow didn't interfere with our Saturday evening plans. 
We left the city for a night to have dinner with Dave's new team at his boss's lovely cottage in the Palisades. 

 By Sunday evening the snow was pretty much gone but we're hoping for more before winter is out!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A week in iphone pictures

This past week looked a little like this...

 Returning home with a $10 mirror from Craig's list we ended up walking through Times Square...

I've been volunteering and it's been great to be back in a productive office environment. 
Especially when this is what I see when I leave the building in the evening.

 Commuting views.

It's been a really cold week and apparently the snow is heading our way. 
Fingers crossed we wake up to a white weekend tomorrow!