The NYC Food Bucket List (or Foods New Yorkers Eat Because We Have To or Because We Love To)
I recently read an article listing 11 foods the writer thought every New Yorker must have at least once in their life. The list included cronuts and ramen burgers.
I'll wait while you roll your eyes as hard as I did.
I decided to compile this list of the foods many New Yorkers eat because it's 3 AM and we've been drinking, cause it's what we can afford or because they're simply delicious.
Dollar Pizza - don't subject yourself to the fake dollar pizza that tastes like they use ketchup in place of pizza sauce. If you're really that hungry, or really that broke, you WILL walk the extra 5 or 10 blocks to a 2 Bros or 99cents Fresh Pizza for their buttery crusts and slices that seem to always come with extra cheese for the hurts-so-good burn on the roof of your mouth.
"Dirty chicken" - otherwise known as Kennedy Fried Chicken or Crown Fried Chicken, these spots do chicken right. For the uninitiated, it may appear as though a fist fight or armed robbery is perpetually on the verge of breaking out but never fear. Patrons just want their chicken done right. Fried crispy. Cooked all the way through. That breast piece in the back next to that one that's a little smaller. No, THAT piece! Alcohol or weed really make you want chicken. I get fancy sometimes and order the hot wings and potato wedges.
Neighborhood taco truck - I say taco cause that's what I have in my area. The taco truck rolls up at about 11:30-midnight. Winter or summer, rain or shine. It's a dingy white beacon on those nights when I'm in dire need of something spicy and can still stand up straight enough to wait for them to cook my order. Yes, everything is cooked to order (tacos, burritos, fajitas, tostados, tortas) and delicious.
Mister Softee - the epitome of soft serve ice cream (you can keep your Big Gay Ice Cream). Gone are the days when a cone cost a dollar but it's still an affordable treat. The drivers just know they're living the life too -- they get to cruise around in a big truck all day, blasting music, making some change. I don't think I've ever really ran for a bus but I have chased a Mister Softee truck with no shame.
"Chinese" food - Chinese in quotation marks because I don't think chicken wings or half-a-chicken with french fries is authentic Szechuan or Cantonese cuisine. But the Chinese takeout spot does it right. You can't go wrong with beef and broccoli with fried rice, a General Tso's combination plate or the lo mein either. And do not get me started on their homemade iced tea. Liquid crack.
Bagel with cream cheese - You can get these at the bodega too, but if you get to the cart early enough, the bagels are still chewy and the block of cream cheese that you gotta spread yourself was just placed on the bagel. You still have the option of a plain, sesame seed, cinnamon raisin or everything bagel. If you show up by 9 AM you're probably SOL. That's what makes it special.
Bodega sandwich - "I only have turkey ham, no pork." I've heard that response many a time when I order a ham and cheese on a roll with lettuce and tomato, honey mustard on one side. Cold cuts hit that warm spot in the belly. And I'm never ashamed to pay with quarters and dimes when necessary.
Bacon (or sausage), egg and cheese - Yerp. It's my breakfast go-to when I emerge from the depths of the subway at 5 AM after an eventful night, too hungry to sleep. It never fails to hit the spot. Never. If you go to your local bodega in your neighborhood or near your work everyday, you probably get your sandwich hooked up just right every time - the dude on the grill remembers that you like your sandwich with butter and mayo, toasted bun, if you come in at 7:43 instead of 7:30 you're in a rush, feeling fancy on payday Friday you add tomato to your sandwich and if you don't have exact change you can pay him "next time". There's actually a place in Chelsea now that specializes in $8 bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. Is nothing sacred anymore?