food cart logistics
i hope this isn't a dumb question ... hubby and i are really looking forward to our NY trip next weekend. we are planning to hit the legendary food carts. our food cart options in toronto are limited to hot dogs only! so, carts with falafel, dumplings, fruit salad, desserts, etc. are a real novelty! anyway, seeing as how it's winter, where exactly do you eat your food cart purchases? i can see eating hot dogs and things like dumplings on the run ... but a chicken/rice plate?? seems a bit messy.
do you take your food back to your offices/apartments and chowdown? and if that's the case, are there any good carts near 51st and lexington? we're staying at the doubletree metropolitan. so far, i've located two food carts nearby ... vietnamese food cart at 52nd/lex and the mexican cart at 52nd/3rd.
i'd really like to go to the chicken/rice cart at 53rd/6th or the kwik meal cart but realistically, i can' t see how my food won't get stone cold by the time i walk back to the hotel.
Toronto may be "limited to hot dogs only" but at least you have that!
Montreal has banned street food for over 50 years, much to the dismay of foodies here
No matter where we go, street food is always a big part of our trip, Toronto (yep for hot dogs - plus fries and gravy) and NYC included.
Being a big fan of BBQ, I like Daisy May's at 11th and 46th. I learned they have a cart, but haven't tried it. I assume its as good as the mother ship.
Its on 50th between 5th and 6th
I occasionally dream of the smoked beef rib from Daisy Mays...
It was a fluke of sorts: there were five of us, and this being our 2nd jaunt in Manhatten, we hired a wisecracking limo driver for the day.
He was mumbling and griping that instead of seeing the Empire State/Rockefeller/Statue of Liberty/Museums like other tourists, we just wanted to be ferried from watering hole to food joint to restaurant over and over.
So we just had oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, one drink each at Tavern on the Green, and wanted to try Bleeker Street Pizza next.
So Bill is grumbling and we're laughing and we're all heading down 11th Ave. Bill stops and says "I goota giet a coffee for crissakes."
I look over my shoulder and see an unassuming "Daisy May's BBQ USA".
"I'll be right back" I say, getting out of the car, hearing "Where you going, Porker?!" as I close the door.
Quick scan of the menu, I choose the beef rib. Seemed kinda pricey (don't remember the price off-hand, but this is Manhatten and I can't remember ALL the details, this was a few years ago), but I got the package and ran back to the car.
Bill is griping, my friends are smiling.
"Lets have a looky here, see what we have"
5 people gnawing on a fantastic beef rib (now worth every penny) in the back of a limo, driving to Bleeker St with a snarky chauffeur.
I guess the cart doesn't offer all items as the main restaurant.
They even have awards for top food vendors now, though I don't know the nomination process. Here's the website for the Vendy Awards: http://streetvendor.org/vendys/
For what it's worth, if you're going to eat off of a cart anyway, I say don't just stick to your temporary neighborhood. Travel to a cart you want and then explore that neighborhood, walk while eating your falafel and discover, y'know?
One of the Kwik Meal cart is located at 47th and Park. I think the name of it is Kwik Gourmet and its on the SW corner of 47th (just west of park). A quick walk from your hotel. Get lamb over rice, extra hot sauce. Make sure you ask twice for the extra hot sauce as they occasionally forget when packing up your order. Its the florescent green stuff. Very hot but with a great taste.
Here's a post that lists a bunch of outdoor spots.
Personally, I'm not hardcore enough to do this in the middle of the winter. I would opt for the indoor public spaces.
You'll be staying across the street from my office. Some cart choices near your hotel are:
- El Rey del Sabor on 49th & 3rd
- Halal, practically everywhere, but my pick is Park Ave & 48th - SW corner next to the juice cart
- Jianetto's Pizza truck on E47th bet. Park & Madison last time I checked
Winter's not as wicked in NYC as it is in Toronto so a walk to 48th and 6th for Moishe's Falafels, Kati Rolls @ Biryani Cart, Kim's fried fish is always a good idea. The Sweets truck and Kwik Meal cart are only a block south and there's plenty of places to just sit down and eat if you don't mind the lack of a table.
Check midtownlunch.com for tons more cart and under $10 food suggestions.
For cooked breakfast, I only know of one place which is also near your hotel: Eggstravaganza on the NE corner of E52nd and Park. Baconeggncheezonnaroll, chorizo and eggs in a tortilla, pancakes, etc.
For coffee and donuts/muffins, there's coffee carts all over the city and they're all pretty much the same.
The Sweets truck also gets in to position on 50th & 6th in time for breakfast. Brioche and croissants and other baked goodness.
There are some benches outside the office buidling on the same corner as the 53rd/6th cart. Lots of people eat their food there. The guys at the cart do wrap up the meal pretty well though, so it'll stay warm for a while. Kwik meal is close enough to the "pedestrian mall" on broadway - you could get your food at the cart and then head to broadway to sit. Getting a table may be tough because it's the holiday season, but it could be worth a shot.