You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? --Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

BURGER MADNESS: The search for the best burger in East Village

Burgers are a staple of American life; the classic American meal. I've always been on a passive search for the best burger near my East Village apartment, and it's possible I might have just found it. No, it's not from The Brindle Room, which the classically unreliable Guy Fieri raved about on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. You also won't have to go uptown for it, like I irrationally thought I would as I made a trek up to the old-fashioned P.J Clarke's in Lincoln Center for the great looking--but fairly average tasting and awfully expensive--swiss burger with a fried pickle on top, seen below.

In fact, my favorite burger is right in my own backyard: at Whitman's, on 9th st. between 1st Av. and Avenue A. Whitman's, a hole-in-the-wall burger bar with extra table seating downstairs, serves up a signature burger, called "The Juicy Lucy," which just can't be beat. Unlike traditional burgers, the Lucy has its cheese on the inside instead of on top. Although I had seen this done before, Whitman's executed it more effectively than I had seen before. The Juicy Lucy, seen below, is my favorite burger--that I've tasted so far--in the Village.

Additionally, Whitman's offers other delicious bites, such as their fried pickles! Fried pickles seem to be at every bar nowadays, once a a staple. Whitman's may not have had the absolute best, but they were awfully tasty. Easily in my top three.

Next time you're looking for a classic, hearty burger, forget about the press and the chatter from Food Network and try out Whitman's. You will not be disappointed!

Friday, January 16, 2015

TheCityThatIPromiseWasEating: LATE NIGHT in the village!

Dear Reader:

I know you're disappointed in me. I came out like a lightning bolt in October, promising that, with the changing of the TeenwithTaste name, there would also come new, exciting content. Well, if you've checked TheCityThatAlwaysEats, you've probably realized that such a promise wasn't kept. For that, I apologize, citing a busy first semester and other priorities that forced me to take a break from casual writing while I adjusted to being a college student for the first time. I hope that you all understand!

That being said....I'M BACK BABY! And, for my first post, I'm going to go over a few places I discovered first semester that epitomize dining well... while on a budget...late at night!

Like most college students, I don't have endless money to blow at the finest restaurants in New York, despite the fact there are many to see. So, I often have to make do by finding new and interesting places that don't break the bank. Below, I've laid out some of my favorite spots for one specific food need: LATE NIGHT CRAVINGS!

Every so often, when my friends and I are exhausted from our classes, we like to kick back, relax, and have a low-key guys' night. The night usually starts with videogames, someone DJ'ing some slow jamz, and one of us getting a little too realistic on Tinder. However, at some point, late in every hangout, we always seem to mutually agree that we're starving.

PIG OUT: CRIF DOGS, 113 St. Marks Place (St. Marks between Ave. A and 1st Ave.)

Crif Dogs is a go-to if you're looking to pig-out on...well...some piggies! Crif Dogs offers franks in nearly any way you can imagine. Served regularly or wrapped in bacon and deep fried, you can opt to either choose your toppings (from a heaping list of over 20) or order a predetermined dog. Below are two of the menu favorites, the Tsunami dog and the BLT. The Tsunami dog was absolutely delicious! The sweetness of the pineapples marries nicely with the saltiness of the bacon the dog was wrapped in!

If I have one criticism of Crif Dogs, it would be that they don't toast their buns. A quick fix, the toasted buns would really improve the overall experience. Nevertheless, you can't beat the price--most dogs are between $2-$5. Next time you're looking to pig out with your friends without emptying your wallet, give this spot a try. Also, in tune with the theme of the post, Crif Dogs is open till 2 AM Sunday-Thurs and 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays--now THAT'S a late night eat!

TRENDY MUNCHIES: BAOHAUS, 238 E 14th St. (14th st. between 3rd and 2nd Ave)

Baohaus, the pork-bun-flinging hipster paradise adjacent to Union Square, is the creation of Taiwanese-American chef Eddie Huang. The restaurant is small but well-decorated, with an urban/industrial feel. The menu suits the restaurant (small) offering one simple decision: do you want buns or bowls? The answer is simple: buns!

Baohaus offers 5 different kinds of buns--or "baos" as they're properly titled-- the original pork, others with chicken, fish, tofu, and even fried chicken. All buns except those that are fried come well garnished and deliciously put together for under $5! Check out my original pork bun, cleverly dubbed the "Chaiman Bao," below.

Baohaus is open until 11:30 Sunday-Thursday and 3:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays for all your late-night bun fixes!

INNOVATIVE EATS: STICKY'S FINGER JOINT, 31 W. 8th St. (@Macdougal, between 5th and 6th Ave)

One late night, my friends and I ran into one of our older friends as we were looking for something to eat. When our first few options were closed, he recommended Sticky's, where traditional chicken fingers are transformed into brilliant new creations with interesting new flavor combinations one wouldn't expect. Below is the Salted Caramel Finger, with, of course, delicious caramel sauce and some salty pretzel pieces.

If you don't have a sweet tooth after midnight like I do, Sticky's also has many savory combinations such as Wasabi, Fire Flame Curry, and Buffalo Balsamic Maple. Besides their menu fingers, they also serve bare fingers with 15 gourmet sauce options, from the "Mango Death Sauce" to the "Sunny Mustard." As long as you can stomach deliciously fried chicken fingers...well, I think you get the point. Sticky's is open 'till 11 Sunday-Wednesday, 1 AM on Thursdays, and 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. And, like most other eats I've mentioned, a fairly large finger goes for under $5.

I'll be back with more eats soon!

-Forever the TeenwithTaste