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Sep 24, 2008 04:51 PM

What do you love best about your neighborhood, food-wise?

I moved up to Washington Heights in the 150s not too long ago, to a heavily Dominican neighborhood -- and I have to say that it's a wonderful food neighborhood to be in, in so many ways. Those standard, packaged tortillas you see in stores everywhere are somehow much fresher, here. And sometimes you can even catch them still warm in the package, so tender and fragrant I eat them straight, with no accompaniment at all. There are many small cafes, addendums to even smaller grocery stores, that sell wonderful tacos, overflowing with juicy carne enchillada, tender lengua. Tamales are plentiful -- generally tamales rojo, both spicy and subtle. And there are wonderful seafood shops with very fresh fish and scallops, where you can order anything you point to cooked just how you want it, to be either eaten in, at the bar with a cerveza while watching a game of round football, or taken home.

I've lived in the W. Village, in Hell's Kitchen, on the UWS. In each of these places, I've found something really special and unique to that area, and I have fallen in love with each place I've lived, for different reasons. (You can really eat great, late, in the WV -- and not at Wendy's! Hell's Kitchen has a beautiful array of cuisine choices on 9th ave. The UWS has Fairway and Zabar's.)

What do you love most, food-wise, about the Manhattan neighborhood where you live or work?

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  1. UES (in no particular order):

    york grill
    land northeast thai
    etas unis
    buzino pop
    paty's taco truck
    papaya king
    naruto ramen
    shanghai pavilion

    2 Replies
      1. re: thew

        someday we are going to have to drag you -- either physically or through verbal coercion/persuasion -- to thai market on the uws. it's but a short crosstown bus ride away and i think you'd really like it!

      2. Kossar's, the Pickle Guys, Congee Village, Saxelby Cheesemongers, and that Zafi's delivers breakfast on Saturday mornings in 90 seconds flat! Or so it seems.

        1 Reply
        1. re: small h

          i should mention that you are REALLY lucky to be able to walk out in your neighborhood and run into a good, inexpensive restaurant on just about every street. i almost moved to your parts just for the food, but the greater square footage up-up town beckoned!

        2. Little Chitaly:

          Saigon Bahn Mi So 1
          Mei Li Wah
          New Green Bo
          Pho Grand
          And a little bit of a hike, but a current obsession: plantano con carne in this little stall on the corner of delancey and Clinton

          5 Replies
          1. re: Crepe Suzette

            Mmm, platano con carne sounds really good. Is it plantains stuffed with meat or something else?

            Very jealous of all the Vietnamese options you have...

            1. re: cimui

              Sorry, forgot about this post and just checked it! The platano con carne comes in two ways. My favorite is basically a fried plantain ball stuffed with sauteed beef. My boyfriend prefers the other option - basically a grilled plantain, whole, split open and stuffed with the same meat. Naturally, I prefer the greasier option!

              There is no name on this place, it's just a tiny place on Clinton, near Delancey, with a bar and stools. Delicious.

              1. re: Crepe Suzette

                this sound intriguing. tiny, unnamed places are my very favorite places to eat. thanks for the tip!

            2. re: Crepe Suzette

              We must live fairly close to each other!

              My favorites:

              Pho Bang
              Saigon Bahn Mi So1
              Congee Bowery
              Pinche Taqueria
              La Esquina
              a lil farther east, Kampuchea

              1. re: StellaArtois

                we must be neighbors! I haven't tried Bun yet - but perhaps I should. What do you like there?


            3. Carnegie Hill (and slightly farther afield):

              Square Meal
              Kitchen Arts & Letters
              Cafe Sabarsky
              Two very well stocked 'Korean delis'
              Zebu Grill
              Papaya King (great before a movie)
              Schaller & Weber
              Wu Liang Ye

              2 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                Ooh, can you provide more details about the Korean delis? Now that I live so far up, I'm getting down to Han Ah Reum a lot less frequently. It'd be nice to have a closer option.

                1. re: cimui

                  Oh - that is a misnomer I think, on my part. I mean corner markets ... aka convenience stores elsewhere. For some reason I always think of them as 'Korean delis' ... probably not very pc of me.

              2. I love being able to get off the train and get a bagel and lox at Barney Greengrass (something I never used to do) before stopping at Zabar's for the mid-week sale and loading up at Fairway where I can experiment with new ingredients. I love the cheap beer at Pioneer. Though it is considerably downmarket, I'm still young enough to frequent free wine Chinese restaurants and the pizza parlor down the street for the aftermath. Or the taco truck if things get especially messy.

                Perhaps the thing I love most about my neighborhood is how easy it is to leave to try something new. Dominican pastellitos within walking distance. Mole a quick bus ride. Senegalese just a few train stops. 3 years in what was known as a culinary black hole has done more to expand my horizons than 8 years in NYC.

                5 Replies
                1. re: JungMann

                  wow -- where are you getting dominican pastellitos within walking distance? do tell...

                  1. re: cimui

                    Malecon No. 2 on Amsterdam between 97th and 98th. I've been meaning to also go next door to La Rural to try their empanadas. All in all, that is a very unhealthy block for me.

                    El Malecon
                    764 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

                    1. re: JungMann

                      wow, all that time i lived right there and didn't know...

                      my new nabe is a very unhealthy nabe for me! there is very good, inexpensive dominican everywhere you look up in washington heights. i just picked up a plate of amazingly tender, well flavored chicken gizzards over rice from a place called tropical spanish. i'm a little irked that they overcharged me a dollar--the outsider to the neighborhood tax--but i still liked the food.

                  2. re: JungMann

                    Yes, the cheap beer at Pioneer is nice. I haven't been there in ages (drink more wine than beer ...).

                    Barney Greengrass is sit-down only, right - you can't get something to go, can you?

                    What is Zabar's mid-week sale??? This is news to me!!

                    1. re: uwsgrazer

                      Barney Greengrass is a fully functional appetizing store, so they're always happy to pack up chopped liver or whitefish salad for me. The only trouble I've encountered with them is that afternoon bagels are sometimes not so fresh and unless I specify every single item I want on that bagel, I get a dry, untoasted bagel with fish slapped onto it.

                      I often find items discounted mid-week at Zabar's (if only Fairway would do the same!). I usually buy my cheese there on a Wednesday when I can find a full display of 99 cent Cambozola or $2 wedges of brie.