There’s been a tremendous growth in LA’s BBQ scene in the past couple of years and one of the restaurants that the growth has brought us is Maple Block in Culver City. Maple Block is definitely on the trendier side of BBQ, but the interior smelled like deliciously smoked meats and the guy that ran the place walked us through the menu to make recommendations.
Once upon a time my wife had the best Caesar salad in Little Italy and wanted to relive that moment. Instead of going on a wild goose chase, I decided to help her out by searching the interwebs for the best Caesar in New York. This led us to Pietro’s, an institution that has been around forever and looked like a great place to conduct mob business. It was strangely completely empty at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Monday, but it seemed like more of a dinner spot anyway.
When people talk about traditional New York bagels, odds are Ess-a-Bagel is at the top of the list. Operating since back on 1976, the lines are long, the wait staff is rude and the cream cheese flavors are copious. In other words, it’s very New York. I popped into the Midtown location and snagged myself a salt bagel with blueberry cream cheese.
Sometimes when you’re traveling you just have to eat in. When you do, you should hope you’re staying somewhere like Le Parker Meridien in Midtown New York. Because if you do, you’ll be lucky enough to have Burger Joint downstairs. Burger Joint isn’t just some typical hotel restaurant, it’s a no-frills spot with a small menu consisting of only burgers, fries, and a pickle with prices that are pretty typical for New York.
In the world of ramen, Los Angeles generally dishes out some of the best in the country. Yet, New York may have produced one of the most famous. Momofuku Noodle Bar is by no means known for traditional ramen, but its success has spawned other Momofuku offshoots in New York and even internationally. Thus, when I found myself hungry at an off-peak hour I decided I had to take the opportunity to hit up the noodle bar.
The chicken parmesan sandwich somehow escapes ridicule as one of the most carby delicious foods. If you threw fried mozzarella on a sandwich with some grilled chicken and marinara people would think you were insane, but here we are in a world that allows for breaded chicken on a sandwich and I heard a spot called Parm on the Upper West Side knew how to make a pretty good one.
The Park in Chelsea is quite literally a beautiful place to eat. It isn’t an actual park, but the marginally glassed-in courtyard area is so full of growing green things that a bird took an actual crap on my mother-in-law before we had the opportunity to order our food. No joke. But this was brunch, so we laughed it off, took down some Bloody Mary’ses and pressed on.
After a long evening of drinking in New York City, the only reasonable thing to do is grab at least one slice of pizza. Such is what I did in the East Village when I essentially stumbled into Baker’s Pizza. As fate would have it, I ran into my drunk friend on his way out (he had left the bar five minutes before), which convinced me that I was in the right place. Just like all pizza by the slice places in New York, there was a display case showcasing the available pies and my eyes wandered to the one topped with meatballs and ricotta.
Hell’s Kitchen may not be the typical neighborhood to head to for Vietnamese food in New York. Granted, I don’t know where the typical neighborhood for such food might be, but my coworkers thought I was crazy to head that way. Once again, though, I put my faith in my brother-in-law and his wife and found myself at Cha Pa’s looking at a vast menu with a ton of delicious-looking options. I began with a Tiger Beer.
As a man from the Detroit area, I was pretty spoiled by Greek food growing up. Thus, I am pretty skeptical when I encounter the stuff anywhere else, especially in Midtown Manhattan, which is not exactly known for good food. Nonetheless, my brother-in-law recommended stopping in to Souvlaki GR and I joined to find essentially the smallest Greek restaurant in history with enough charm to get my hopes up.