Friday, October 30, 2009

Blarney's Increasing Their Slider Offerings

Blarney's Pulled Pork Sliders
I know many people who say a three or four bite beef patty in bun doth a slider make. I say rules and semantics should be thrown out when pulled pork is involved.

Blarney's Pulled Pork Sliders
Blarney Stone has become a favored lunchtime haunt of Ginger and I, mainly due to the development of their sliders (which I unknowingly knew about before Mr. Zach!), but also contributed to by their $6 tall boys. Yesterday, on our way to Muldoon's, she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. "Pulled pork sliders? Pulled pork sliders! Screw chicken pot pie!" Two orders, two tall boys, and a game of Big Buck Hunter Open Season (bull mooses) later, and we were not enjoying our pulled pork sliders. The meat is tender and moist, but lacking in sauce, spices, or juices. Even with the addition of barbecue sauce, it just wasn't acceptable. Blarney Stone, you could do better! Roast that pork in some sauce, I want the lower half of my bun soaking up some sauce, some delicious porcine juice! Until then, I'll be having your sliders, with bacon.

Blarney Stone
710 Third Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets
(212) 490-0457
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Halloween Treats Time at the Treats Truck!

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Halloween is fast approaching. And what Halloween would be complete with out treats? The Treats Truck has you covered with a selection of fun seasonal goodies...

Yummy Halloween Treats

This week the Treats Truck is packing bats, cats and ghost sugar cookies, cupcakes with orange and black sprinkles, and candy corn crispy treats. If you're planning on picking up a big order for your office, call in advance to ensure you get the selection you want. For our Halloween '08 Treats Truck coverage check out our posts on Halloween Specials Part I and Part II.

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Here's the schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday, Oct 29th from 12:00pm-3:00pm: 38th & 5th Ave
from 4:00pm-6:00pm: Broadway in 80's
Friday, Oct 30th from 12:00pm-2:00pm: 45th & 6th Ave
after 2:00pm TBD (Call for spot)
Saturday, Oct 31st from 11:00am-2:00pm: Park Slope, Union St near Prospect Park West

Keep informed of the truck's location by calling (212) 691-5226, checking their Twitter, or visiting treatstruck.com.

Previous Treats Truck Reviews:
Chocolate Chip Brownies

Animal Cookies
Spring Flowers and Passover Goodies
Crispy Squares
Valentine's Day Treats
Oatmeal Chocolate Chipper
2008 Treats Truck Wrap Up
Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcake
Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Double Chocolate Trucker
Election Day Cupcakes
Halloween Specials, Part 2
Halloween Specials, Part 1
Pecan Butterscotch Bar
Chocolate Trucker
Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip Conecakes
Mexican Chocolate Brownie
The Nutty Co-Worker and PB&J Jamwich
Conecakes
Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes
Orange Chiffon Cake
Peanut Butter Brownie
Raspberry Oatmeal Jammy
Raspberry Lemon & Mint Chocolate Swirlie Dots
Chocolate Truck Cookie
Sugar Dot
Chocolate Chipper
Carmel Creme Trucker
Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
Chocolate Chipper with Nuts
Mint Chocolate Trucker
Passover treats
Cinnamon Cookie

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travels with Brownie: Montana Candy Emporium

Montana Candy Emporium-1
As we get closer to Halloween my thoughts have been on, what else? Treats. I'm a sucker for seasonal marketing. Halloween donuts. Halloween cuppycakes. Pumpkin pie blizzards. I don't know about you, but candy's been on my mind as well. People in my office have started putting out candy and lots of it. And I've been partaking. But not all candy is created equal. Some candies are more equal than others. And some candy is harder to find than others, but not when you visit the Montana Candy Emporium...

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Located on the main drag in Red Lodge, Montana, the Montana Candy Emporium is a candy lovers dream. With reputably 800 different candies, if you're looking for a certain special confection they are likely to have it. Their selection of penny candy was unlike any I've ever seen.

Inside Candy Emporium


Visiting in person the most fun for sheer "kid in a candy store" nostalgia, but they also ship candy all over the world, so if you have an obscure regional favorite, give them a ring, they just might be able to get you what you're looking for.

Schwin Sign


Montana Candy Emporium
7 Broadway Ave S
Red Lodge, MT 59068
(406) 446-1119
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NYCWFF '09: Meatpacking Uncorked

Trina Turk
For me, the kickoff event of the New York City Wine & Food Festival wasn't SWEET, but Meatpacking Uncorked the night before. Wine, food, and designer clothes, I am in.

Manhattan School of Music
Debra and I promptly headed to the Meatpacking after work, ready to take on this Meatpacking Uncorked. After going through the welcoming center and receiving the map, we, like many, headed to the first stops. Sip wine, glance at clothes you can't afford, leave, repeat. We did this for about five stores before it got old.

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As we walked down 14th Street, we came upon the Basis/Good Food Market. Basis specializes in bringing food from local farms to restaurants; they are also located at New Amsterdam Market and a soon-to-be-opened shop on West 14th Street. One look at the offerings and we were fine with having dessert before dinner.

Tbsp Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
First we tried the chocolate chip bread pudding sample from tbsp. It was warm, fluffy, moist, like a chocolate chip cookie made into bread pudding. Delicious. Debra wants a long lunch there ASAP.

Marea Fall Spice Ice Cream
The other sample dessert was fall spice ice cream from Marea. Creamy, spicy and sweet, the perfect idea would have been to place this with the bread pudding. Not that it wasn't awesome by itself because it was.

Diner
Across the way, we noticed Diner was handing out food, rather inefficiently I might add. Goat cheese quesadillas topped with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, and if you were passed over three times by the staff and mentioned this when trying to grab at a plate, you weren't rewarded with extra food in hopes that you would ever visit their location again.

Gaslight Pizza
Catty corner, we heard Gaslight was handing out sample portions to an increasing line. We stepped in and out fairly fast.

Spice Market
Down the block Spice Market was also in the action. And by action I mean waiting in a ridiculously long line to be handed a pathetic serving of food. But at least they gave you a good size non-alcoholic drink. At the end of the line, you got a choice between a meat, chicken, or pork skewer cooked right out on the sidewalk. A refreshing drink and being warmed by a fire on a cool night quickly became bonuses.

Coke & Delta Tent
In the middle of the street was the Coke & Delta Tent, or if you know me, grab as many of those Biscoff as you can. I love those things. I know it just gingerbread cookies, but between those and Le Petit Ecolier cookies I periodically got my hands on that weekend, my dessert needs have been sustained all month.

Trina Turk
Debra and I pretty much gave up on getting decently fed at this point. So we played the "Let's pretend we have money & can buy these clothes" game. Our new favorite designer is Trina Turk. I will now accept the Algonquin Dress as a form of bribery/present.

Los Dados
Further on down that block, we came upon Gansevoort 69 and tasted what I believe to be their butterscotch whiskey cookies. Then we saw a line-less Los Dados serving nachos. I hear they were serving pork rolls earlier in the night, but I don't remember these being pork.

Murray's Cheese
Our last bites of food came courtesy of one of my favorites, Murray's Cheese and Salami. There are no pictures since every bit I got went immediately in my mouth. There was sausage and some of the new Barely Buzzed. This cheese has a rind made of lavender and coffee, a combination that would have never occurred to me. I need to get a better taste of it, but my preliminary bits were awesome, it's very unique for cheese.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Bratwurst from Schnitzel & Things

Schnitzel Truck Under the Brooklyn Bridge

I love this photo. You've got the American flag waving in the breeze, the majestic Brooklyn Bridge rising in the background and what else, but the Schnitzel & Things Truck right front and center. I love golden, fried to perfection goodness of Schnitzel & Things' pork schnitzel, but I have to say that they make a darn good brat, too...

While the schnitzel is undoubtedly the the main event and S&T, don't count their $5 bratwurst out. The sausage is pleasantly crispy--love those charred bits--and it comes on a ciabatta roll topped with their braised sauerkraut and a spicy yellow mustard. Delicious. You can upgrade to a platter for $2 more, but the brat itself was plenty filling for me.

Schnitzel and Things Bratwurst

S&T is trying out some new stuff on their menu. Last week they tweeted the debut of goat cheese spaetzle. Mmmmmm...goat cheese spaetzle. They are working refining the dish to make it even better, but there's a chance that they might have the new and improved version as early as today. In any case, S&T should be serving our midtown friends at 52nd street between 6th and 7th avenue from 11:30-2:30. Fingers crossed for spaetzle.

For all the latest from Schnitzel and Things follow them on Twitter.
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The Next Chapter for Robicelli's

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcake and Caramel Apple Cupcake from Robicelli's

Robicelli's, Bay Ridge's famed Mom and Pop Gourmet Shop closed it's doors yesterday. Lawman and I headed out to Bay Ridge to pay a first and last visit to the market and we had a chance to chat with Allison Robicelli about their new wholesale cupcake venture and of course, eat some of their delicious cupcakes straight from the source...

They say when one door closes, another opens. Such is the case for the Robicellis. Matt and Allison Robicelli closed their beloved gourmet market in favor of a cupcake wholesale business that will allow them more time to spend with their two young sons. Matt and Allison makes some damn good cupcakes and if their new venture allows them more time with the fam while making their desserts more widely available in the city that sounds great to me.

The cupcake trend has brought this city a lot of mediocre cupcakes. Ever since Batch closed and then Amai Teahouse, I've been searching for a place that makes unique and delicious cupcakes and Robicelli's is the real deal.

Here's just a small sampling of some of their flavors:

Car Bomb: chocolate-Guinness cake with Jameson ganache, Baileys buttercream, and shaved Valrhona chocolate
Butterbeer: vanilla cake, butterscotch buttercream, gold dust
Elvis: banana cake, peanut butter buttercream and candied bacon
Iona: pear–olive oil cake, Stilton buttercream, candied walnuts, port reduction
Julia: pear brandy cake, brown butter brandy buttercream
Caramel Apple: apple spice cake, salted caramel buttercream, cinnamon roasted apple
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel: chocolate pretzel cake, salted caramel butter cream, crushed pretzels




Gluten-free treats are going to be a focus for their baking venture going forward. I'm not celiac, but Allison offered me a gluten free brownie and dang, it was super fudgy and chocolatey and definitely could via a glutenful brownie for deliciousness.


Gluten free brownies from Robicelli's



Currently Alison and Matt are in talks with a number of places about distributing their baked goods. The good news is beginning on November 12th, their cupcakes will be available at the HOM Store and Tea Cafe 88th Street and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge.

If you know places that could or should be selling delicious (or more delicious) cupcakes, ask them to carry Robicelli's.

And for all your Robicelli's updates, become a fan on Facebook and/or follow their twitter.

I hope Allison and Matt enjoy some well deserved time off. Best of luck with the new venture, we can't wait to see what's next!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Cartoons: And Now a Little Bit of Sesame Street News



And now for some hard hitting news from Brian Williams courtesy of Sesame Street. Though I do have to wonder what happened to Kermit. Did he get kicked off the news desk?

Here's a classic Sesame Street News clip...The Princess and the Cookie...



Now that's more like it.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Cinnamon Dough + Icing = Heaven

Peter Pan Cinnamon Bun
Peter Pan is about so much more than their incredible doughnuts. My new way of forcing myself into moderation is a new rule: "I can only eat Peter Pan for breakfast or dessert on weekends, or when I don't have milk for cereal."

Peter Pan Cinnamon Bun
And I've held to this rule! Ginger and I recently stopped by for a weekend dessert treat. We both wanted something different, something more than a doughnut, and more dessert than a muffin. The answer lies at cinnamon bun. Though they had been out a while, probably all day, the dough was still fluffy and chewy, the cinnamon was still spicy, and if warmed up I'm sure the icing would easily become liquid. We couldn't wait that long.

Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Avenue
Greenpoint
(718) 389-3676
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Open Up Fatty Cue NOW!!!

Smoked Brisket Bao
I won't lie, I was incredibly excited for the last day of Epicurious Entertains NYC, Fatty Sunday: A Zak Pelaccio Lunchtime Feast. It involved watching football and eating a preview of Fatty Cue, the barbecue unicorn by Pitmaster Robert Richter and Zak Pelaccio, the executive chef of Fatty Crab. Southern BBQ meets Southeast Asia, I expected spicy, sweet, tangy, and hot. Lots of hot.

Fatty Cue Preview
Unlike the two previous Epicurious events I went to that week, Fatty Sunday was set up buffet style. Everyone could walk into the kitchens, try to chat up the chefs (they were pretty busy while I was in there), grab as much food as possible, and head back to watch the games.

Fatty Cue Preview
My first plate consisted of the Lamb Shoulder with Yogurt Sauce, House Smoked Clams and Bacon, Pork Spare Ribs with Palm Sugar Fish Sauce, and some Banh Mi. All were spectacular. The lamb had been smoked for 14 hours rendering it tender and juicy with an awesome outer char layer. I didn't get a piece of bread to place under the clams, soaking up the juices. They were still delicious and fresh. The banh mi had the crunchy vegetables (daikon and carrot) to offset the buttery soft layers of pork shoulder and loin. But my favorite item on this plate was the ribs. I know palm sugar fish sauce sounds really weird and unusual, but it works. OUTSTANDING!! On my second trip in, I literally followed Chef Pelaccio as he placed a new full plate of ribs out.

Fatty Cue Preview
My second plate included almost everything I didn't get the first time: Smoked Brisket Bao, Cucumber Salad, Nasi Ulam, and of course, some more ribs. The two sides were well enough, but I wasn't here for sides. It was time for bao and what a bao it was. It felt like something from a Chinatown in Texas; fluffy dough, tender, moist, smoky meat inside. Oh good God, the food memory is making me salivate.

I will warn you, everything was hot or fiery hot; there was no mild here. There was one plate I was not going to try-the pickled Thai chilies. I didn't want to be reduced to a snotty, watery mess in front of my gracious hosts. Upon leaving, I immediately called Brownie and instructed her that we need to go to Fatty Cue as soon as it opens, whenever that will be. We will be right behind Joe DiStefano in line.

Fatty Cue

91 S. 6th Street
Williamsburg
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frogurt! Frogurt! Massive Amounts of Frogurt!

Cup of Swirled Frogurt from Printon Deli

I remember reading awhile back that another generic deli in midtown was carrying Frogurt, my beloved Frogurt, aka the froyo that they sell Bloomie's 40 Carrots Cafe. But I've been burned by generic purveyors of Frogurt and I promptly forgot about Printon 56, until last week...

As I was strolling 56th street between 5th and 6th on my way to pick up ramen from Mei Kui Tei I noticed Printon 56's big Frogurt sign and I couldn't help but be drawn in.

frogurt from Printon Deli

What I discovered was not one measly Frogurt pump but a sleek operation. Three machines! Six flavors! I spoke to the lady behind the counter and she said that they regularly have Plain, Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate and Caribbean Coffee and they rotate in two flavors on a daily basis. One of the times I stopped by they had Banana and Strawberry and other time they Peanut Butter.

frogurt from Printon Deli

I went for a kiddie cup of plain swirled with coffee which cost $3.50. A small cup goes for $4.50 and a large cup or waffle cone goes for $5.50. I like my Frogurt uncomplicated and sans toppings, but if topping froyo is your thing they have a wide variety of fruit and candy toppings which are $1.00 each

frogurt from Printon Deli

I've been to other places that sell Frogurt but don't keep their machines quite as cold as at 40 Carrots so the froyo comes out icy and melty. Not so at Printon 56. I haven't gone through all the flavors, but the froyo I tried did taste comparable to what you get at 40 Carrots.

Printon 56
48 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Don't Believe in Savory Pie

Muldoon's Chicken Pot Pie
But Ginger does! We've start to take our lunches in one of the various 'establishments' in Midtown East. Most of the time, this means Blarney Stone, but last week she wanted a change. And we were off to Muldoon's.

Muldoon's has the classic Irish pub interior. Solid wooden bar, booths with green upholstery, a hot Irish bartender complete with brogue, an older "I feel like telling you my life story" bartender, and maps of Ireland. Basically, a step up from Blarney Stone.

Muldoon's Cheeseburger
I had a hard time choosing between a burger or fish and chips, but I went with my usual grease-fest, a cheddar burger with fries. Not better than Blarney's, but I've had much, much worse. I liked that they had a few cheese choices; sometimes you feel like American, sometimes like Cheddar, sometimes even Bleu. All in all, this is your typical fare for about $7.

Inside Chicken Pot Pie
Ginger decided to go out on a limb and try the chicken pot pie. I treat savory pie how I treat 95% of soup-with disdain. Ginger doesn't, and though this wasn't a usual pot pie, notice the crust is only covering the top of the dish, she declared it pretty awesome for under $10. It did have a nice flaky crust, and seemed very hearty-a good cold day meal.

Muldoon's
693 Third Avenue, between 43rd and 44th
(212) 599-2750
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Monday, October 19, 2009

And Now from the WTF Files: Lenny's Bagel Toasting Surcharge

Lenny's Bagel with Olive and Pimento Cream Cheese

I heart bagels. They are among my most favoritest of foods. And of late I've been on a bit of a bagel breakfast kick. But I'm going to have to find a new breakfast bagel source, because Lenny's, the fairly ubiquitous sandwich shop chain has been slapping me with a toasting surcharge...

I started going to Lenny's because 1) their Rock Center location is convenient to my job and 2) the are the closest place that I've found that serves olive and pimento cream cheese. In my book, olive and pimento cream cheese is second only to lox spread in terms of cream cheese deliciousness. And while most bagel places will carry scallion and veggie cream cheese, olive and pimento isn't as readily available.

The first time I ordered up my bagel toasted bagel with olive and pimento cream cheese at Lenny's I noticed on the menu that bagels are $1.00 and if you want to add some premium cream cheese on that bagel, that'll be an extra $1.50. Ok, whatever, bagels don't come cheap, but when the cashier rang me up, my bagel came to $2.99. Too hungry to consider where the extra $.49 came from even though it seemed a lot more than regular tax, I took off with my bagel in hand and proceeded to demolish half of it on the walk back to my office. Not the best bagel in the world, and not even particularly well toasted, but olive and pimento cream cheese can make up for a lot of wrongs in the world.

Next time at Lenny's I took a little closer look at the sign by the counter and there under the the cream cheese price was the toasting surcharge. $.25 extra to toast my bagel!

Toast Surcharge

WTF?! That's down right unAmerican. As a bagel consumer that's paying 1.00 for the bagel then 1.50 more for just the cream cheese, you can't do me a steady and pop that sucker into the toaster for me? Shouldn't toasting by the inalienable right of a bagel buyer? I get that some of the traditional bagel joints don't toast out of principle. And I agree, it's disrespectful and totally unnecessary to toast a warm, fresh, hot out of the oven bagel. But when let's be realistic here. Lenny's is not popping out their own bagels. And as the good folks at Serious Eats discovered, "a bagel's half-life, untoasted and unadorned, is no more than half an hour." Lenny's Bagels need toasting and if they need to charge me extra for that privilege then I need to find another place to get my bagel fix.

Any tips on other places in midtown where I can get a toasted bagel with olive and pimento cream cheese that won't charge me to toast?
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Friday, October 16, 2009

My Love of French Men Worsens.....

Tonya Steel and Daniel Boulud
It's been worsening for a while now, up to the point where one of my bosses has expressed worry that he may walk in one day to a message about me running away with a Frenchie twice my age who can handle a big knife. Daniel Boulud's Pop Up Dinner during Epicurious Entertains NYC did not help matters.

Daniel Boulud Preparing Dinner
The nighttime event at Epicurious was just as well planned as The Ultimate Lunch Break-TVs showing the action in the kitchen, or if you were close enough to the kitchen, you could peer in, a signature cocktail drink, assigned seating, romantic mood lightening. To top it all off was the menu titled "Fall in Provence" prepared by the one and only D-Biggity. It was enough to make a girl want a French man to run away with.

Table Setting
Unfortunately I was running a wee bit late that night and missed all the canapés, so we'll immediately move onto the first course. The table set-up required participation by every diner. Every four seats had to pass plates of food around so each could take a serving; this created a very communal and relaxed environment. The course consisted of Tuna Niçoise with Boston Lettuce and Haricots Verts, Sardine Escabeche with Fennel, Duck and Foie Gras Cigar, Legumes Farcis: Zucchini, Tomato, Onions with Anchovies, Octopus Salad with Tomato, Cranberry Beans, and Niçoise Olives, Eggplant Babaganoush with Basil Foam and Olive Grissini.

First Course
Did I try everything? No. Did I like everything I did try? Yes. I am no expert on any of these dishes, but I will say that the Tuna Niçoise, and sardines changed my mind about Niçoise Salad, and sardines-seriously good.

Tai Snapper and Cucumber Ceviche
Second course consisted of Tai Snapper and Cucumber Ceviche. I am also new to Tai Snapper, or snapper of any kind. Fish has always been a food group I want to eat, know I should eat, try to eat, but then I think I'm eating a toxic, full of mercury, overfished Nemo. I can't say for sure that this was the case with Chef Boulud's fish, but in general, my fears are correct when it comes to snappers. Regardless, I ate and enjoyed the fresh ceviche.

Rack of Lamb with Summer Vegetable Tian
The third course was something I could get behind, a food I know and love: Rack of Lamb with Summer Vegetable Tian, Ricotta, and Panisse. Oh this juicy, tender, beautifully spiced rack of lamb, I have thought thoughts about you since our dinner. Lucky for me, another dinner guest, a certain John Del Signore of Gothamist fame, was seated across from me and the lamb was lost on his vegetarian soul. I ate most of his too.

Port Roasted Black Mission Fig
Our first dessert was Port Roasted Black Mission Figs with Caramelized Walnuts, Sheep's Milk Yogurt Sorbet, and a homemade fruit roll-up. Amazing, delicious, delicious, and good-more for decoration than dessert. Afterward I had a number of thoughts like I need to incorporate more sheep's milk products into my life; do they make regular fro-yo sorbet; and why not more sheep's milk fro-yo for the lactose intolerant peoples?

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But this wasn't the end, even though we had come to the end of our menu; Chef Boulud waltzed out of the kitchen, with his leather jacket one matching his devilishly good looks, and in his outrageous accent bid us all a fond adieu, with one last dessert up his sleeve. A cake, a fluffy, yet bready cake filled with vanilla cream. A simple dessert really, that was absolutely delicious and presented beautifully.

P.S. Congratulations to DBGB on being Sam Sifton's first review, and picking up two stars in the process!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mmm...Mutton Thursdays

Mutton Biryani from the Trini Pak Cart

As much as I love lamb, my only experience with mutton thus far is from watching the Seinfeld mutton episode, until I sought out the Mutton Biryani from the Trini Paki Boys cart, that is. Mmm...mutton...

Thanks to Midtown Lunch I've been paying a bit closer attention to the offerings at the Trini Paki Boys Cart and Mutton Biryani is a Thursdays only special that I discovered this summer.

You can get your mutton with salad on top, but as Jerry says, "salad's got nothin' on this mutton" so plow through that lettuce and move on to the main event.
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The mutton was a little gamey (but come on, it's mutton!) and surprisingly tender. The rice was flavorful and filling (and this comes from a non-rice eater). With the exception of Kwik Meal, most street carts don't do real lamb and by real lamb I mean non reconstituted pressed lamb meat logs. An ample serving will run you around $6 and for real lamb over rice action, it's a good deal in my book.

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Trini Paki Boys Cart
SE Corner of 43rd Street & 6th Ave
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