I tried to order from “Carl’s Steaks” a week before this review got posted, but even at noon when the lunch rush has only begun, the line to order from this truck was wrapped around the block. The following week it returned, I made a sneak attack to it at 11:30 when there was practically no one there yet, and finally got my Philly Cheesesteak.
“Carl’s Steaks” and their long, black truck are a sponsor of the Yankee’s and list that they are the “best sandwich in NYC” according to AOL Cityguide on the side of their truck. That is quite the claim to make, especially when we have already reviewed heavy-hitters like Alidoro and Olive’s who blew me away. I am a lover of all things cheese steak, and was glad to give this one a try, but when the truck is already placing it on a high pedestal before you can even order, my expectations were far greater than my reality.
In the world of pizza, does size matter? Of course it does! Size is relative when it comes down to pizza pies, however, as some places do slices and others only do pies. I can’t say I have a preference, but I do love a comically large slice of pizza.
Francis Garcia and Sal Basille (who you may recognize from Cooking Channel’s awesome show, “Pizza Cuz”) opened their first “Artichoke” location in 2008, and have quickly expanded to a trio of pizzerias across downtown Manhattan. Enveloped in the world of pizza since they were children, working in their father’s “Basille’s” restaurant in Staten Island, “Artichoke” is the epitome of high-flavor bar pizza, without “bar-pizza” being an insult to the food.
It’s a no-nonsense pizzeria from the moment you step in to their MacDougal St. location, with a few stools on the side of the wall, and one gigantic brick oven in the center of the place. The surly waiter will take your order while you wait on the side and admire the lamp in the shape of a women’s leg in stockings from “A Christmas Story” (a Very Italian prop to have since it’s from the fra-ghee-lay region). Much like the lone server/ pizza-maker guarding the place, the slices from “Artichoke” do not mess around.
Bienvenidos a Cuba y Miami! Helmed by brothers Danny and Albert Teran, the “Miami Food Machine” truck is dishing out Cuban delicacies in “The Big Apple”, but savvy foodies will have a sense of deja vu when they stop by.
Originally known as “Bongo Bros.”, whose logo you will still see on some of the older employee’s shirts, the truck was closed and forced to rename due to a lawsuit over its moniker, courtesy of Gloria Estefan, who owns a chain of restaurants that used a similar name. Re-opening late last year, the current title harkens back to an earlier time for Gloria, and has a great neon 80’s vibe to add to the fun of it. I had been to “Bongo Bros.” previously twice, and was unimpressed, enough that I never went back to them. However, with this new name also comes a new menu (at least partly new), so it was time to give the truck a second chance… or first try, depending on your perspective.
The winners of the 41st sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year were announced this evening at the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.
The awards, from the Specialty Food Association, were presented at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by internationally-acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson. A sofi is the highest honor in the $86 billion specialty food industry. The Awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association (formerly NASFT), a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.
This year’s contest was the largest in its 41-year history, with specialty food makers submitting 2,573 products across all 32 awards categories. Check out the winners after the jump!
Born in South Africa, Justine Pringle moved to America and eventually met her husband, Andy Laird, who was a musician who performed often in the city. In an effort to sell merchandise that was more than just shirts or CD’s, the couple decided on a whim to make chocolates. Much to their surprise, the sweets caught on and soon their side-job turned into a full-time career and enterprise, “Nunu Chocolates”.
The name originates from a term in Africa for young children, but the chocolates that this booming company create are not your average box of Russell Stover. At the Mad. Sq. Eats event, I checked out the Nunu booth, which was offering tastings of their chocolates paired with wine and beer. Sadly, I was there to work and not drink (however, my work was gorging on food, a tough way to earn a living), but I did pick up a box of chocolates to take back for later. The Booze Box ($12), pictured above, holds six pieces of their handmade chocolates, each with a different kind of liquor inside. Let’s tear into it and get ourselves a simultaneous sugar rush and buzz!