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With nothing in mind to eat last week, I was wandering down 46th St. (btw. 5th & 6th) when I stumbled upon another one of those Kosher versions of the ubiquitous midtown deli. Sandwiches, Salad bar, etc… but a quick look at the menu in the window, and I discovered they had Chinese food! Now, I was brought up Jewish (a reform Jew, so we didn’t keep Kosher at all)- which means I love Chinese food (the goto meal on Sunday nights and Christmas). But what’s Chinese food without pork (and shrimp for that matter)??? I love pork. A lot. As a matter of fact, with all the pork I’ve eaten in my lifetime, I was sort of surprised that an alarm didn’t go off when I walked into Kosher Deluxe.
I bypassed the salad bar and shwarma station on the right, and headed straight to the back, where they serve a variety of sandwiches, dinner type dishes and of course- the Chinese food. The menu had most typical Americanized Chinese dishes (all served with chicken or beef)- like Lo Mein, General Chow’s, Beef or Chicken and Broccoli, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and my personal favorite- Pastrami Fried Rice, in case you had forgotten where you were. The big problem was the price. Almost every Chinese food item was over $12!!!! (And you didn’t even get shrimp!) I did a quick u-turn, figuring that it wasn’t worth the money- but something caught my eye on the way out. On the menu above the Shwarma station I saw it…. “Shnitzel in Pita”. Helllllllo???
Now, I’m a big fan of wiener schnitzel (german fried veal cutlets), so how could Shnitzel be bad??? I spotted some delicious looking fried stuff below the Shwarma, next to the falafel that I was betting was the Shnitzel. I ordered it- and was not disappointed… (It is actually a misconception that wiener schnitzel is some sort of sausage- despite “wiener” being part of the name.
In German wiener actually means veal. Serves me right for just assuming crap. Wiener actually means Viennese… and a traditional cutlet from Vienna is usually Veal.)
The pics, +/- and the Midtown deal of the century… after the jump.
I’m a big fan of the buffet. Not any particular buffet… just buffets in general. I like the style of eating. I like the variety. I like the extent to which I can embarrass myself by eating a ridiculous amount of food. Chinese would have to be my favorite kind of buffet, because I find it very hard to order just one thing at a Chinese food restaurant. I’m actually a huge fan of any kind of Asian food in buffet form. Sushi is not ideal (because of the freshness), but I have found a couple that I enjoy (like the Korean/Sushi buffet Arang, in Koreatown). Indian buffets are great. All you can eat Naan is an added bonus… and the only time I will lower my “don’t eat the bread” buffet rule.
American buffets are ok, but they are definitely my least favorite. The buffet that a pregnant Frances McDormand ate at in Fargo (with the meatballs) looked pretty sweet… but unfortunately fictional buffets don’t count… and even if it does exist- I doubt I’ll ever be in that small town in Minnesota. I love the buffets in Vegas- but I usually end up eating the Asian food- so that doesn’t really count as an “American” buffet. I haven’t been to Charles Southern Kitchen (a Soul Food Buffet in Harlem) but it’s pretty high on the list. Fried chicken on a buffet is the greatest and worst thing of all time… but I did survive a KFC buffet off I-95 in Florida once, so I’m sure I’ll be ok.
So on Friday, I was walking in an area of Midtown I had never been before and stumbled upon something very exciting (to me, because I’m fat and love buffets). The place was called Al-Baraka, and it was something I had never seen before in all my buffet eating… a Turkish Buffet. It passed the price test ($9.95), and the look test (the best part about eating at a buffet is that you can go in and take a peek at what you’re paying for) so I decided to check it out.
What I ate, the food porn and the +/- all after the jump…
So, Fashion Week is almost over, and despite it being only one block away from Bryant Park, I didn’t get my picture of a model eating at the Chicken & Rice Cart on 43rd and 6th ave. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying a medium order of delicious chicken, served over rice, at this Midtown street meat institution.
There are many halal carts, serving many things in Midtown. And if you are one of the adventurous lunch eaters willing to eat at the Midtown carts, you know that they are not all created equal. Not only do they all serve their own “type” of halal food, the quality can vary immensely depending on what cart you decide to get your street meat from. The undisputed “Chicken & Rice” king, seems to be the cart on 53rd and 6th (it was a Vendy Award runner up for best cart last year). But unfortunately, that cart doesn’t open up until 7pm. So for lunch, the cart that comes up the most is the Chicken & Rice cart on the SE corner of 43rd & 6th.
Pictures and the +/- after the jump…
I’m not sure how it happened but Jews love Chinese food. I’m sure there are exceptions, but it seems to be a stereotype that holds true. I’m Jewish. I love Chinese food. Therefore all Jews must love Chinese food. It’s fool proof logic. Actually, it’s strange when you think about it. Pork and shellfish are a staple of Chinese cuisine, yet for some reason, Jewish mothers everywhere chose it as THE meal to order when they didn’t feel like cooking (usually on Sunday nights). Of course the boneless spareribs, and pork fried rice ensured that while Jewish, I would never end up being Kosher. (I wonder if Chinese food had something to do with the rise in the number of reform Jews?)
This doesn’t really have anything to do with today’s review except for the fact that a) it’s a Kosher restaurant, b) I’m pretty sure it used to be home to Kosher Chinese restaurant, and c) what I ordered seemed strikingly similar to Chicken fried rice.
Thanks to the Diamond District, people who keep Kosher are probably psyched to work in Midtown. The pickings are probably slim for those who work in other areas of NYC like Tribeca, the Village, or god forbid Chinatown. (I’m pretty sure the hanging slabs of roast pork alone, make Chinatown a house of horrors for someone who keeps kosher.) Midtown, on the other hand, has tons of Kosher options- and one of the best is Taam Tov… and you don’t even have to keep kosher to enjoy it!
Pictures, what I ate, and the +/- after the jump…
Day 5 of Falafel Week
Well, falafel week ended with a whimper this week. I was unable to find Miriam's Falafel Cart on 46th & 6th, which has disappeared into some sort of falafel netherworld… and with no other suggestions from friends or message boards- I was forced to go to a place that I don't think is known for it's falafel, but I've alway been curious about… Aaron's Restaurant.
Because Aaron's Restaurant is on 46th between 5th & 6th avenue, I walk by it all the time (on my way to Hing Won, Variety Cafe or House of Pita). Their sign hangs right over the sidewalk, but the place itself is on the second floor, so you can't see in. Only a staircase leading up to god knows where. And when I say "god knows where", I mean that literally, because Aaron's is a Glatt Kosher restaurant, which I think is loosely translated to mean "extra" kosher.
After climbing the stairs you find yourself in the front of a bare bones restaurant, with a buffet style counter where you can order things to go, or a seating area where you can order off the menu from a waiter or waitress. The food behind the glass counter looked pretty good… but once again- it's falafel week, so I ordered a falafel with everything to go.
I'll try not to spend too much time on this falafel, because to be honest with you, it was pretty bad. It was edible… and I finished it (after all I'm a fat man who loves to eat)- but every other place this week was better. The first sign of trouble… after stuffing the pita with hummos and falafel he then put it in a microwave. Once that happened, I had pretty much given up any hope of this place earning a second visit (for the falafel that is… I will be back but more on that later).
The pictures and +/- after the jump…. Read the rest of this entry »
DAY 4 of Falafel Week
It's day 4 of Falafel Week and I was supposed to go to Miriam's, which I have never seen but was told is on the SW corner of 46th & 6th. It was recommended on Chowhound… but when I walked by on Wednesday it was not there- so for today I decided to go to Bread & Olive (also recommended to me on Chowhound), and find another place for tomorrow.
Bread & Olive has falafel, along with a ton of other options, including chicken and beef schawarma, numerous pastries, vegetable entrees, and what looked like lebanese style flat bread pizza. All of it looked delicious… but alas, this is falafel week, so falafel is what I got.
This is a lebanese place, so a beet juice pickled vegetable made it's first appearance of the week (I'm pretty sure it was turnip, but not positive). It was one of the first layers to go down on top of the fresh baked flat bread- that I believe they make on site (another first for the week). It also had lettuce and slices of tomatos, and then the falafel and tahini, all rolled up burrito style in the flat bread.
A picture of the sandwich, and the +/-, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »