June 13, 2014

Food Truck Friday: Neapolitan Express

I'd seen the Neapolitan Express pizza truck many a time outside my workplace – but as someone who tries to keep simple carbs to a minimum, I managed to resist it for a while.

My coworker, CJ, had raved about how delicious it was. I finally decided to take her at her word and joined her for a quick lunch one day.

If you know me even a little bit, you know I love spicy. So the A Diavolo, with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, hot cherry peppers, and spicy sausage was an easy pick for me. 
CJ's Di Parma (which I tried later--delish!)

I love everything about this pizza – the perfect amount of red sauce, the spiciness of the peppers and the sausage, but above all, the amazing crust.

I'm on of those people who often leaves the crust for others. I'm more interested in the toppings and the sauce, frankly. However, this was one of the most amazing crusts I've ever eaten: light, fluffy kind, chewy, flavorful. It was perfection.

This went above and beyond my expectations. In fact, I went back a few weeks later and ordered the same pizza CJ ordered (di Parma, with chewy strips of prosciutto and fresh basil leaves). Once again, I was not disappointed. If you want fresh, chewy, delicious, flavorful pizza, find the Neapolitan truck, and treat yourself!

Follow them on Twitter @NeaExpress! 

June 06, 2014

Food Truck Friday: Langos

I do my best to pack fresh, healthy lunches, but sometimes even the best of intentions get sidetracked.

I spotted the Langos truck and immediately shelved my fresh salad that I'd brought for one more day, and chowed down on a Hungarian specialty: Langos.

Langos (pronounced Lang-osh) are a type of yeasty bread covered in garlic, sour cream, and cheese. What's not to love? The crust reminds me a bit of a danish, chewy and flaky and not at all heavy.

I opted for the pepper lovers, which came with red and yellow peppers, aged Gouda cheese, and a sprinkling of freshly chopped chives.

This entire bit of deliciousness was 7 dollars-- a steal to me!

The staff are friendly, the toppings are fresh, and it doesn't take much time at all. I waited maybe 5 minutes, and chatted with the friendly workers in the truck who are eager to talk about their homeland of Hungary. I admitted I didn't know much about their country, but they were quite enthusiastic that I should visit sometime!

You can follow them on Twitter to find out where they're serving for the day-- @langostruck. Enjoy!

May 22, 2014

Bigelow's Clam Shack (Long Island, NY)

ABF & I have been driving by Bigelow's Clam Shack (in Rockville Centre, Long Island) for a good 6 years, but it wasn't until last weekend that we finally went inside and tried the goods.

It is a tight little space with a bit of seating around the countertop, and a steady business in take out orders.

ABF & I started with Stewart's black cherry soda, a splurge all its own.

I was beyond hungry, and I wanted a little bit of everything... but I really wanted the clam strips. We ordered the clam strips appetizer to share. This was beyond delicious- fried but not greasy, chewy but not rubbery, and a salty briny taste that reminded me of a day on the beach in the best way.

We also got some onion rings (did I mention how hungry I was?), and they were okay. Just okay. The breading at Bigelow's tasted very bland to us. However, they offer plenty of condiments at the table, from hot sauce to vinegar, so I suppose that's the point. You can change the flavor with every bite.

ABF ordered the fish & chips with flounder. This was tasty, and quite a large serving of fish (three pieces), and also came with fries. Skip the fries.

I ordered the fried cod sandwich. This also came with 3 big pieces of juicy cod. I got a slice of cheese as well, because I apparently I decided to go all out on this meal. Soda, fried food, AND cheese? Why the hell not?!
My sandwich was good-- delicious fish, even better with the tartar sauce, but I, too, could have skipped the fries.

Bigelow's was also a very welcoming spot, with great service and friendly staff. They checked in on us a few times (more than one person, even) to make sure we were enjoying the meal and that we got everything we ordered (oh boy, did we!)

We walked out of there stuffed to the gills (ha), but I still found myself wishing I'd had more clam strips. I'd go back in a flash for the clam bellies sandwich (yum!) or more clam strips, but I'd skip the onion rings & fries the next go-round.

Bigelow's Fried Clams
79 N Long Beach Road
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
(516) 678-3878

May 09, 2014

Food Truck Friday: Red Hook Lobster Pound

The last few times I've made it to the Red Hook Lobster Pound's truck, they've been out of lobstah! It makes sense-- due to my work schedule, my 'lunch' hour doesn't start until about 2:30. I don't EXPECT them to still have food at that time, but I can't help but try.

This week, I got lucky! At 2:30 I spotted the truck right outside our Midtown office (normally it's a short walk down 6th Avenue), and they still had rolls!

I wanted the "Connecticut style" (warm with butter-- is that a CT thing??), but they were out of those. They only had the "Maine style" (with homemade lemon mayo). Normally I like my lobster rolls cold, tossed with melted butter, but I was willing to try something new.

Since I was one of their final customers of the day, and they didn't have the roll I wanted, the guy running the truck kindly threw in a free Maine root beer (and I threw some ones into the tip jar)! If you've never tried one of the Maine brand of sodas, you are denying your taste buds a delicious privilege. Every flavor, from blueberry to sarsaparilla to root beer, is perfectly balanced, not too sweet, and not too bubbly, either!

Don't be shellfish-- leave some clams in the tip jar!
The roll was ready in no time-- the bun was toasted on the outside, buttery on the inside, and the filling was phenomenal-- fresh, tender, delicious lobster with a scattering of crunchy scallions. I wasn't sure I'd like the onions in it, but they really made that roll sing. The lemon mayo was applied sparingly, which I appreciated, and the lemony kick was pretty good (I don't really like mayo, so this is high praise from me).
I would definitely go back to this truck again-- even if it meant walking a bit. The roll was $16, which is about double what I normally pay for lunch, but it was worth it! You can read the truck's menu here, or follow them on Twitter @lobstertruckny

April 28, 2014

Friend of a Farmer: Breakfast

After a deeply disappointing dinner, I returned to Friend of a Farmer at ABF's request-- he'd had one of the best breakfasts EVER there, he insisted, and I should give it one more chance.

I was meeting up for a weekday breakfast with my friend Jeannie-- she lives a few states away but was in town for a conference. I couldn't pass up the chance to spend some time with her!

We got a cozy two-top in the upstairs area, where I've never sat before. Cute room! It has a fireplace, a country feel, and warm tones all around the open-air layout.

I was really hungry and almost picked a breakfast that came with pancakes, bacon, and more-- but opted not to get that one. I wasn't in the mood to take chances, so I ordered something I love: Eggs Benedict.

The dishes are very bare bones, no frills or even a fruit twist on the side. Mine came with a very small portion, maybe 2 heaping tablespoons, of home fried potatoes. My eggs, however, were perfectly cooked and delicious. The Hollandaise was very light with a bracing lemon kick to it, thin but very flavorful.

Lonely Omelet
Jeannie ordered the Farmer's Omelet, which came with spinach and cheese. She asked for an English muffin on the side instead of home fries (see my dish-she wasn't missing out on much!), so when her omelet arrived, it looked a little sad in the skillet with all that empty space where potatoes would have been. Aesthetics aside, Jeannie enjoyed her omelet!
We both got French press coffee, and this was fantastic. Velvety smooth, rich, and not a hint of burned or bitter flavors. Stellar brew!

The service was wonderful-- our server was friendly and funny, came at the perfect times to check on us, and while he did NOT rush us out of there, he was also quick to bring us back the bill so we could head out for a lovely walk through Manhattan..with a stroll right past nearby fancy-pants Gramercy Park, of course. Prices are also very reasonable (about 20 pp for breakfast and a pot of coffee, including tax & tip).

Friend of a Farmer definitely redeemed themselves in this instance, and I wouldn't hesitate to come back again for breakfast!

Friend of a Farmer

77 Irving Place

New York, NY 10003

(212) 477-2188

April 25, 2014

Food Truck Friday: Moshe's Falafel

The warmer weather has led me to thaw out the Friday Food Truck segment! I realized the other day that the lunch 'hour' had ended a while ago for most people. It was much closer to 3pm and I found that the first few trucks I wanted were all out of food. Denied!

The workers at Moshe still had a good crowd going, their workers were keeping up a friendly banter, and holy moly were their prices low!

I got the 5 falafel with 2 pickles, tahini dipping sauce, and hot sauce for three dollars. THREE. DOLLARS.

These are hands down THE lightest falafel I've ever eaten. They're fluffy, crunchy on the outside, and pretty tasty, too. The tahini and hot sauce go together quite well, but that hot sauce does creep up on you!

I enjoyed the friendly and fast service and would definitely swing by that cart again!
Moshe's Falafel
Corner of 6th Avenue and 46th Street

April 24, 2014

Purina One Cat Cafe: NYC

I don't wait in line if I can help it. Not for Cronuts, not for brunch, not for nightclubs. If there's a line over 20 minutes, I'm on to the next place. This is New York City, for crying out loud! Options abound at every block!

Then came the country's very first cat café to NYC. Apparently, I threw all my standards out the window – in exchange for a few minutes with some cuddly kitty cats. I'd actually been hoping to visit the cat cafe in London, but its opening was delayed until a week or two after our big trip in January (posts on THAT trip coming soon!)

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the line for the cat café wrapping all the way around the building on Bowery. It went pretty quickly at first – moving about 20 feet in about 20 minutes. Then we stood there for a long, long time. All in all, I waited THREE HOURS. I still cannot believe I did that. I had lots of company though, from tourists to locals-- and it wasn't just all ladies, either, despite the many 'cat lady' references I've heard this week. It was actually a very diverse and amiable group of people who just think cats are cool. Ya dig?

 About 30 minutes before I went inside, one of the women working at the café came out and asked us all to keep our visits to 30 minutes. Were they not already asking everyone that?

Inside the café, you can get free coffee and free snacks. They had muffins and cappuccinos and drip coffee when I went in-- all from Brooklyn-based Cafe Grumpy. I had to pass up the final blueberry muffin and go right to the kitty cats. Priorities!

By the time I got inside, the cats of had a long day of tons of attention. Most of them are very chill, sleeping on people's laps or resting on the perches around the room. The cats were all extremely well-behaved and seemed quite at ease, despite all the people (and a multi-person film crew setting up and breaking down all over the place). These cats are clearly very well cared for and look quite healthy and happy. The socializing didn't seem to bother them at all, but there were lots of safe, quiet hiding places for the ones who needed a break. I saw about six in the rotation around the room. I have to say some of my fellow cat lovers could do a better job of sharing the love, but whatever. (I'm looking at you, sofa-hoggers!) You just have to walk up to someone holding a cat and get in on the fun.

If you're going, I don't recommend going alone like I did. It's tough to snag a cat and a place to sit at the same time. I did get to cuddle with Little Miss Valerie for a few minutes – oh man, I was this close to adopting her myself. However, someone already beat me to it. In fact, four of the 16 kittens had been adopted by the end of that day

So how was the food? While I turned down the chance for a muffin, I actually did go back afterwards for a cappuccino. The baristas we're making adorable kitty art in the foam. My "cat'accino" was absolutely fantastic. Smooth, rich coffee from the folks at Cafe Grumpy- and it was free! 

Artsy kitten in the foam!

Hopefully they get a little better about managing the visitors and people won't have to wait so long. 

So it's not the same as cafes in other countries, where the food area & the cats mingle. The areas are very separate, but who cares!?! Kittens!

If you're in NYC and want to go, I do suggest you bring a friend (and/or a book and maybe even a snack) and don't be shy about asking to hold or play with any of the cats- but get there soon! The cafe closes on Sunday, April 27th!

Purina One Cat Cafe

168 Bowery

New York, NY


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