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Your favorite downscale food, from where?

For years, Burger Heaven's chicken salad sandwich (go figure) has been my yardstick for all others: totally fresh and tender white meat, just enough mayo to hold it together, on rye. Love the chicharonnes de pollo at Fonda Boricua and Tony Dragonis's food cart at Madison and 62nd St. has grilled chicken platters that could hold their own anywhere.

What's your favorite downscale item -- or guilty pleasure -- when you're not enjoying the fancier and pricier offerings this board is loaded with?

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  1. I like my cuban sandwich from cafe habana, dumplings from vanessa's, frites from Pommes Frites.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kcijones001

      I've been wondering if I should try Vanessa's ever since we got their menu under our door. any specific recommendations?

    2. I love the beans and rice and sweet plantains at Caridad on 78th & Broadway.

      1. Snack Dragon - the nacharito ($3)
        Veselka - sticky bun to take home and heat up later (20 sec on 50% power) ($2.75)
        Caracas - anything delivered. I've never waited to eat there and find delivery pretty quick.
        Pomme Frites when drinking at Bar 82.
        Burritoville's dessert chimichanga - melted chocoate & banana inside.
        Tako Yaki from that little place on 9th st (betw 2nd & 3rd aves)

        1. Puerto Rican snacks: Cuchifritos Frituras
          Chicharones: La Strada
          Rotisserie Chicken: El Malecon No. 2
          Tacos: Tehuitzingo
          Fried ruffle fat: Bayan Cafe
          Fried chicken: Popeye's
          Kimbap: Woorijip
          Soondae: Han Ah Reum
          Hot dogs: Crif Dogs
          Burgers: Five Guys
          Deli subs: New York's Best (Water St.)
          Indian take-away: Minar
          Tiny Pork Buns: Moonhouse
          Fish Balls: Cart outside the NRQW station on Centre and Canal
          Buffalo Wings: 1849
          Polish diner: Polish National Home

          6 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            Don't know what "fried ruffle fat" is but it sure sounds good! Great suggestions from one and all!

            1. re: City Kid

              It's typically called "chicharon bulaklak," and one of my favorite snacks.

              http://blogs.villagevoice.com/food/ar...

              1. re: City Kid

                Fried ruffle fat is actually fried pork intestines, which is really the best thing in the world, especially with ice-cold beer. Filipinos call this 'chicharon bulaklak,' which is kind of like 'crispy/fried flower.'

              2. re: JungMann

                I’m sorry but you lost me with your New York's Best rec – which they are definitely not. The delis around the corner on John & Pearl or the Jubilee Marketplace on John & Cliff are better options IMO.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Moon House closed. It's now Shanghai Kitchen and sounds like nothing special.

                  1. re: squid kun

                    aw dang! but have you eaten there yet? moon house was my shining star, my beacon on that strip . . . .

                2. I have to say, I always enjoy the burgers at Five Guys, and KFC!

                  1. Tebaya - giant pile of fried chicken wings w/ pepper sesame sauce. I think they're on 19th st near 5th ave?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: erin07nyc

                      I wish they were that close. More like 19th & 7th. The extra walk helps me work off everything I've eaten.

                    2. Here's one I hadn't thought of: the Hungarian meat store on the east side of Second Ave, @ 81st: the best homemade sausage, both mild and spicy and FRIED BACON, which sounds disgusting but is amazingly crispy and flavorful, looks like pork rinds.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: City Kid

                        Ah, the Yorkville Meat Emporium. Fond, fond memories for me there. Go at the holidays for special chocolates and cookies. City Kid, I knew we could agree on something! ;p

                        1. re: marmite

                          Marmite, I thought you were a vegetarian. Must have been too much fried bacon;)

                          1. re: City Kid

                            I am now, but the Hungarian side of my family's been going to to the YME for years. You're right though- nothing like being told "pick out the best pigs' feet" to make a 10 year old go the complete opposite way.

                      2. My favorite downscale food (and actually one of my favorite comfort food) is the congee at Big Wong King on 67 Mott St. This is the only place that makes congee the right way with the right consistency and right rice flavor. All those Congee Village/Bowery/XXX are not even on the same league.

                        They also have very good soy sauce chicken and steam white chicken. Too bad they don't make good fried cullers and rice crepes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Yes I love the fish congee at Big Wong, but not so much the duck egg congee. I love their roast pork and duck too. Any recs of where to get good rice crepes. I usually get them there too just bec. it is easy to make one stop for both.

                        2. Chicken tikka rolls at Roomali, and falafel at Azuri or Olympic.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: a_and_w

                            Wow, what's in the chicken tikka rolls and where is Roomali?

                            1. re: City Kid

                              It's tandoori chicken, onions, coriander chutney, lettuce, and egg wrapped in a paratha like an Indian burrito. Roomali is on 28th just east of Lexington.

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                Thanks for the tip - gonna get me some of them!

                                1. re: City Kid

                                  The channa pakora (chick pea patties) rolls are really good as well, I like them as much as the tikka and usually get one of each.

                          2. mozzarepas from a street fair. ahhh..... heaven in a four inch round.

                            i love street food as a general category. in particular, i love corn grilled over charcoal, rubbed with any combination of lime / butter / salt / cotija -- sold all over the world from india to mexico.

                            if you want guilty pleasure... hmm... whenever i do road trips, i always keep my eyes peeled for a Wendy's. love those mandarin chicken salads, simulated chicken and all.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cimui

                              And who can forget Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich? Plus fries and a side of their "cheese sauce" for dipping...it's junk food nirvana.

                              1. re: delikado

                                Ah guilty pleasure of mine as well! I love the spicy chicken sandwich but find it's even better when you slather on some of their honey mustard.

                                What about S'Mac for anyone in East Village or UWS? I find their mac 'n cheese (especially when you eat in) is pretty good comfort food... full of cheese and carbs.