typical new york food
I'm hosting a book club night featuring Gael Greene's book Insatiable and would like to serve some typical new york food - simple but typical. Any suggestions? BTW I'm in Brisbane, Australia.
If you mean, what food do people in, say, Texas THINK that stereotypical New Yorkers eat, then pizza and hot dogs and bagels with lox. If you mean, what food do real New Yorkers eat, remember that NY is as ethnically diverse as the United Nations. Real New Yorkers eat fufu and groundnut stew, they eat nasi lemak and ayam goreng, they eat Fujianese oyster pancakes and stinky tofu, they eat parillada and caldo gallego and mofongo, they eat masala dosa and Bengali mustard fish and (if they're English) chicken tikka masala, and yes they even eat Vegemite when they can find it. In our better restaurants, innovative food a lot like Mod Oz is served. But if you want a fun time go with the pizza and bagels and find an American beer to wash it down.
I did help her (or him) out! It's just that NY is a city of immigrants and I don't think we HAVE any regional dishes. Okay, pretzels. I mean, what would you say for San Francisco, except for cioppino? It's funny, you could list ten times as many regional dishes for the small towns on Maryland's eastern shore as you can for NYC.
re: Brian S
Of course we have regional dishes. They're the dishes that we exiles from New York feel like we can't get where we live now. I can get perfectly fine masala dosa and fufu, but I can't get a bagel or pizza that is anything like what I grew up with. Go to the non-NYC regional boards and read the despairing threads on, say, where to get an egg roll in the LA area. That will tell you what the regional dishes of NYC are. If there are no regional dishes in NYC, why haven't I had a decent jelly doughnut since I left town???
Of course, I guess the bad news about that answer is... you are going to have a pretty hard time serving these dishes at your party in Australia.
I dunno. I'm lucky enough to have befriended people all over the city. I've never seen someone from the Italian part of east Williamsburg go for lox and bagels, nor have I seen (except rarely) people in the Puerto Rican part of the South Bronx getting spaghetti. The only foods that cut across all groups are heroes (subs), pizza, and greasy Chinese takeout.
re: Brian S
As my husband says, in New York, people don't live in food ghettos. The food culture here is learn to eat other people's stuff. Also, I can say from experience that plenty of Italians in Williamsburg get bagels and lox, and plenty of Puerto Ricans get spaghetti-in fact, many Puerto Rican restaurants-- the kind where you can get lechon or mofongo any day of the week- have a Spaghetti and Chicken special on the menu (espaguetti con pollo). Also, many Dominican places in Washington Heights have their version of spaghetti available.
And yes, Virginia, New York does have its regional food. I heartily agree with Wombat on the idea of visiting other boards to see what people are perpetually looking for...
but here are my own ideas:
Oysters (I know its May, but hear me out)... New York City was once a huge, huge supplier of oysters, going back to the 18th C. See Kurlansky's The Big Oyster as a reference.
Manhattan Special Espresso Soda, made in Brooklyn on Morgan Avenue, this is a New York treat not found in many places outside the tri-state area.
Good luck with your party, aussieeater.
I've rarely seen the adventurous eaters you describe. (Though I'll confess that in every catered event in the Polish section of Billyburg, you will see one or two Italian pasta dishes in among the pierogis... and these are the ones that get eaten first!)
But the reason I'm replying is to tell you that while researching this I found what looks like a very interesting book of American food history whose thesis is, if you had to sum it up in a sentence, "In America, people don't live in food ghettos"
You can read a ten-page free preview here:
re: Brian S
No regional dishes !?! Why do you think they call it Oyster Bay on Long Island? Maybe try Oysters Rockefeller. Where did the Waldorf salad get created? Possibly the same place where Eggs Benedict were first consumed. Why, also is the minor league baseball team on Long Island called The Ducks?
Surely it's true that many of NY's iconic foods come to us from our immigrant population - our poor immigrant population. So any of the following will suffice as New York themed:
Pastrami on rye
Manhattan clam chowder
and if you're drinking, pour some Manhattans
re: Brian S
Pretzels? I'd give that nod to Philly.
Grew up in the area and used to work there, and I believe what most people think of is the street food and the inexpensive deli/pizza slice shops. So this would be my interpretation of a useful list:
Bagels (technically, "water bagels") with lox or a schmear
Chopped liver (shaped into something)
Pastrami (nice and fatty, on a steam table) with Swiss
Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda
Thin crust pizza in big enough slices you can fold them (note: if the cheese and sauce slide off when folded, it ain't NY pizza)
Pickles - half sours or garlic (preferably Guss Pickles if you can get those)
Nathan's or Sabrett's dogs, with kraut or chopped onion (or that cloying brown onion/chili sauce)
Falafel in pita with lettuce, tomato & tzatziki sauce
Lemon ice (as in The Lemon Ice King of Corona)
Sfogliatelle & cannoli
I feel I'm missing a couple of things, but can't figure out what... something from Nedick's or Orange Julius maybe....
re: Brian S
The SF bay area, like NYC, has a long history as a city of immigrants and boasts many of the same cuisines you listed in your first post. That being said, all you can think of is cioppino for SF? Yes, we are known for our fresh seafood, but here's a shortlist of things that would come to my mind if I were a tourist:
cioppino (of course)
clam chowder in bread bowls
sourdough bread and bread in general (Boudin's and Acme in particular)
Exceptionally fresh produce (I can't imagine visiting SF and not visiting a farmer's market or going to the Ferry Building - food porn at its best)
Artisanal cheeses (think Cowgirl Creamery's Humboldt Fog... drool)
San Francisco's china town is pretty famous for its dim sum
..The famous [Napa] wine country is about 40 minutes away...
I'm sure I'm missing stuff, but my point is that every major city has something that they are specifically known for. My housemate is a NY expat and regularly laments the lack of NYC-style jewish delis. In my area, all we've really got is Saul's (boo).
re: Brian S
I know exactly what you mean Brian S, and particularly if the OP is doing a book club reading of Gael Greene (who was the long time restaurant critic for NY Magazine, and more than likely sampled plenty of what you list above and wrote about it) it's a hard call to make on what food to recommend. I do remember that she had a long-time "food" affair with Bobby Flay's restaurants and his innovative southwestern American palate. Whatever I think about his restaurants now (not much), I still admire his food as demonstrated in his cookbooks.
I live in NYC and I think those are great choices. Of course I'm from KY, originally, where all WE eat is corn pone and squirrel, washed down with moonshine.
When you think "typical food of X area," I guess you sort of have to think, in part, about what the scene looks like for an outsider looking in.
yes, one way to go would be to choose foods typical of the most ubiquitous ethnic groups - askhenazi jewish, italian, chinese, and puerto-rican/dominican. One problem is that what REALLY makes NY food from NY is that you usually can't get the food anywhere else. You can make some things from scratch for the best approximation though. How's this for a menu?
from jewish: potato knish with mushrooms or smoked whitefish salad with margarine on untoasted bagels, forget the lox. or potato kugel or matzo ball soup.
from italian: linguin w/clam sauce, sicilian style pizza
from chinese: any kind of dumpling, but preferably soup dumplings or fried pork dumplings.
from dominican/puerto rican: arroz con pollo, rice and beans, fried plantains, mango shakes if fresh mango available.
hope this helps.
My mom grew up in Orange, NJ and she constanly offered us fresh apples and cheddar. I thought it was an incredible combination. I guess it's a northeast thing. As an adult working with people from all over the U.S., I've gotten really funny looks when I tell co-workers about it. They just don't get it.
dishes supposedly invented in nyc:
* Waldorf salad
* Eggs Benedict
* Steak Diane
* Egg cream
* Mallomars (although i'm sure the op can't get those!)
* Ice cream cone
* Bloody Mary
* Pasta primavera
* after breakfast consumption of Cappuccino
* Chicken à la King
* Lobster Newburg
* Delmonico steak
* General Tso's chicken
there is also manhattan clam chowder which to me, a bostonian, is an abomination, but folks like it.
haagen-dazs, snapple, arizona iced tea are nyc companies.
These are the NY foods that I miss now that I don't live there.
*Big fat salami sandwiches on freshly made bagels
*The delicious freshly made cream cheese varieties that top the fresh bagels (e.g., cheddar and jalapeno cream cheese, mixed vegetable cream cheese, bacon and onion cream cheese, and the list goes on).
*Cheap, good, coffee, with sugar and cream put in it for you.
*NY style pizza, with various toppings, by the slice-- I didin't like it at first, but it grew on me.
*Perogies, and the like (e.g. blintzes).
*Utz salt and vinegar potato chips.
*I think West Indian food is more prevalent out there (e.g., Jamaican food, such as patties). A friend of mine loved Jamaican patties. They are doughy pockets stuffed with beef and veggies.
*One more thing: falafel and schwarma sandwiches at Mamoun's. Yum!
*I also enjoyed Korean food, Japanese food, Indian food, Chinese food, etc. in NYC, but I don't miss any of those, since I have them available where I live.
*Bodegas-- the little corner markets, where they sell so many things. I was partial to the small containers of freshly cut fruit, the fresh fruit juices, and the freshly cut flowers sold at the bodegas.
*One more thing-- those nuts, roasted on various corners in the city, with the hard, sweet shell on top. They always smelled so good. They were sold for $1-$2 a pack. I would buy them, and sometimes they would be hard as a rock. They did smell good, though.
*Russian pickles, made in big barrels, sold in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
Hope this helps. (This is making me hungry).
I like a lot of the options people've listed already. These are just a few suggestions for how you could finger food-fy:
* mini bagels toasted and spread with cream cheese, topped with slices of lox. (authentic ny bagels are boiled, first, and then baked.)
* for short-cut, ny-style-like pizza, use lavash so the crust gets nice and crispy; cut into small rectangles
* make teeny NY style cheesecakes in miniature muffin tins
Am I mistaken or are there a good number of places that serve shwarma and falafel in Brisbane, too? It's a very NYC streetfood experience.
I love the passion for food! We do great gourmet Down Under but you guys are edgey (and I enjoyed the NY/SF rivalry as well - I'm a "she'' by the way). You've given me some good ideas to boot. BTW: What's the best restaurant in NY? By that, I mean top-notch, Michelin-starred. I figure you've all probably got your fave deli or local bistro!
Most people say Per Se. I like Jean-Georges. http://events.nytimes.com/2006/04/19/...
Some people would pick Masa, Le Bernadin, Daniel and maybe Bouley.
Jean-Georges would probably be closest in cuisine to Sydney's Mod-Oz style restaurants.
And if you want more advice on what to serve, why not email the friendly Aussie guys who run the Tuck Shop, the place to go if you are in NYC and you need a chook sanger. http://www.tuckshopnyc.com/
sabrett hot dogs w/onion sauce from the carts
According to my 509 page New York Cookbook by Molly O'Neill: From Pelham Bay to Park Ave. , Firehouses to Four-Star Restaurants....
The foods of my hometown (though now I'm exiled to LA) are everything from every possible land. But (IMHO) the classics and the sterotypical would have to include:
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Ebingers Black Out Cake (and yes there is a recipe)
Nathan's or Sabretts or Hebrew National Hot Dogs
Bagels, cream cheese and lox
Egg Creams made with Fox's U-Bet syrup
San Gennaro Sausage & Peppers
Grand Central Oyster Bar Oysters
Seltzer (not club soda)
Pizza - by the slice
Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce (NO good ones in LA)
Wise Potato chips
Gael Greene reviewed (and wrote eloquently) about high-end restaurants, so any kind of "fancy" food from any tradition would do.
IMHO, a lot of the "typical" foods that impassioned NYC Chowhounds have suggested would be difficult, expensive or impossible to obtain or replicate in Brisbane.
i'm in FL, but there are a lot of people from NY who migrate to FL......
that said, i'd never heard of a deep fried hot dog nor a bialy until quite recently - and i'm pretty old. not sure if it's strictly NJ or if it's NY as well.
i'd say those two suggestions are going to be very difficult to duplicate.........(seeing's how i'm from FL and have never heard of either of them in a state that's filled with NY/NJ transplants.)
Deep fried hot dogs are a northern NJ item. See the following ongoing thread.
Wrt bialy, difficult to understand how a long time NY'er was not exposed to this delight "up north". Usually sold by a bagel shop (especially in LES) and is a drier dough than a bagel, not boiled before baking like a bagel. But the major difference is the hole in the middle is not a hole, but an indent (like a dimple). Then onion and/or garlic is placed in the dimple and baked. Definitely a NY thing.
Hey what about pickles? I don't think anyone has mentioned them. O lucky cucumber to be privileged to bathe in the oak (or now plastic) barrels of Guss & Sons! As I've said, though I grew up in NYC, I've eaten the stuff on this list about twenty times in my life (except for pizza, and I didnt know anyone folded it until I read it on this board). But pickles! I've walked miles to get to Guss' and bought a gallon. Eaten them all over a month as they slowly turn from new to sour.
re: Brian S
Look again -- I mentioned "sour pickles from the barrel" in my earlier post. I'm thinking I ought to start a new thread called "Most unusual thing you've ever eaten during theater intermission" but there might not be too many replies. However, MY contribution to that thread would be "Sour pickles from Guss." We went to see a (really baaaaaaaad) play a couple of years ago in a Lower East Side theater. The play was called "A Stoop on Orchard Street" and during intermission they were passing out free sour pickles from Guss in the lobby.
Just about all the "typical" New York food listed here seems to be available in Toronto, well made and plentiful. My father once thought he was doing me a favour bringing me some bagels from New York, and was surprised to discover that they were actually made locally. (And don't tell me the New York ones are better = I've had the two side by side, and preferred the Toronto one - as does my son, who lives in New York and is a Chowhound.)
With ONE exception - bialys! I have never found them anywhere but in New York, and, for some reason, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Believe me, it would be a relief if this were so. New York City has more Michelin three-star restaurants than any city in the entire Universe (including those galaxies as yet unexplored by man) except for Paris, and some incredibly good Chinese food as well, and yet for every visitor who asks about these, ten ask about bagels. So now I can send them to Canada.
This thread is making me hungry not to mention homesick! Anyway, you likely won't be serving this at a party but I would like to add the humble bacon, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll to the list. It's one of the first things I get when I come home to visit and it is most definitely local as I'm unable to get one in most other parts of the US.
Really?! I fondly remember starting every morning off in high school with a sausage-egg-and-cheese from the local deli...had no idea this was impossible in other cities, since I'm still in college and now it's omelet stations and cheerios in the dining hall, but thanks for the heads-up. In fact, maybe I'll have one tomorrow...
I am very late to this party but this is a great thread and it's making me really homesick!
No one has mentioned Boar's Head yet! A little hard salami? Come on...
(OK, I know they distribute to other states now, but my childhood memories are stuffed full of my mother settling for NOTHING short of Boar's Head cold cuts. And I remember that they only came to Chicago around 1997 or 98.)
One other that I had was Marino's Italian Ices...in the yellow cup.
And if you want to talk bagels, let's get specific...try getting a salt bagel or an egg bagel outside the tri-state area!