New York Triple Blend

It all started heavy when oysters at the ‘The Dutch‘ were plonked on the table. Blue Points were dubbed ‘New York Metal’ for their origins and intense mineral tastes. The pickled chipotle vinegar, jeering at well worn shallot versions everywhere. A metal tang taste, that brought me to the banks of the metropolis.

After recently being in Scandinavia, the Kings of Smoked Things,with smoke still fresh on my breath, it was hard to resist the smoked chicken. With my point of reference switched from the fire and ice of Scandinavian folklore, to the streets of the Big Apple, I declared this smoked chicken, the best hotdog you could have. Yep you probably had to be there. If you caught my drift, then good for you and you can smoke my meat anytime. The addition of a dill yoghurt dressing, made the dish a series of contrasting effects that settled into cool/heat cookery, simpatico style and wilder than your average quinoa, providing chewable crunch to a light on its feet meal, that did not leave me wanting to drink blood(i.e. not metal enough).

By the way quinoa is my dirty secret food –  anyone else who also digs it, let me know and we can geek on it.

The new trend in semi-fine dining is drinking beer from a can.
Question: When did grubby get cool?
Answer: When the beer got better.
I don’t know how this transition happened or how. Though I do remember drinking cans of beers back in the day, on the streets, hanging out, skating. Loving life and not giving a shit. So maybe thats the vibe I pick up on now. Plus its probably cheaper to produce, so dig it.

Just to get a little seasonal, I had some spaghetti squash with the unbeatable combo of sage and walnuts; soft as mush but not too dense, held together by the crunch of nuts.
I felt like and wished, that this whole trip was sponsored by Stumptown Cold brewed coffee , and that started here at the Dutch. The first sip and it hits like ice tea, quickly though, it is followed a by a brutal caffeine whack. I stormed out of there wired, the lunch like a pleasurable breeze.

When the name of this next place turned up in my inbox as a suggestion, the words almost buzzed neon; The Cannibal–Beer & Butcher. No questions asked, it was a given that we were going. A corridor place, pass through a love tunnel of beer and you reach the main bar, which doubles as the dinner/lunch table. A little further back and there is a butcher’s station. Food stuffs were crammed along one wall: North Carolina peanuts, pickled bits, maple syrup. A general store of sorts. On the telly ‘Delicatessen’ was playing, just to butch up the meatiness. Dinners were all about the Charcuterie, lunches went the way of the sandwich, tartares, snacks and a few small plates.

Feeling the call of the city and being some-kind of reticent tourist, I ordered the ‘Cannibal Dog’: Beef sausage and beef heart ragu –  a hint of mineral, and a soft bite of marvellous dog, without the unwanted sulphite backlash that repeats on you for the rest of your stay. With the bun they didn’t try to shoot the moon, they just went soft and simple. I could have absorbed of few more of these, if it was not for the generous offering of half a ‘Pigs Head Cuban’ like it says on the tin, with added smoked ham, gruyere and pickle – a delirious fatty chew of pig face. Cheers all round, another guzzle of beer, from another dizzying array of choices: Mama’s little yellow Pils from Colorado, funnily enough tasted yellow (new flavour catergory).

Southern food has hit it big in this town. I am not sure if this is a phenomenon all over the states – bar the south, who are always wondering what these crazy northeners are up to;
well, serving it seems, simple versions of the most played out southern food. The south has rich culinary traditions, but the only thing that seems to have risen to the surface in New York is fried chicken, fried catfish and pulled pork sandwiches, plus a few sides of hush puppies and collared greens. Your she-crab soup sipping lips may be quivering, but there is good stuff out there, you just can’t find it all in one place.

Van Horn Sandwich Shop
, lets you slump into large shaker style chairs and bask in just the right amount of darkness, where you can dine on one any of the three ‘wiches mentioned above.  The butter-milk fried chicken came with a big fried crunch, but lost out on points when the eventual dryness of breast came through in the third quarter – red cabbage slaw moistness was a game saver. The bun, all sesame seeds, pouffy, sheened and keen. To the side sat a very new pickle, which still had the great bit of something more mature.
This sandwich sat heavy on my mind and lurked somewhere between doom and delight.
Words that run their course here, are relevant to a process of dining that doesn’t just recognise the value of the dish in front of you, but the spirit with which you participated.
I willingly admit that it was decent, but not outstanding. I recognise that my standards may be slightly askew………………….

Ok,ok. Let me hold this madness back.  The last place I visited seems to have brought on a short circuit in my food analysis system. Tune in soon, for the next instalment, where I hardwire my mind into the baked goods of this fair city.

stir crazy ‘G.N’


Categories: New York, Travel


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