NYC’s Best Burgers You Don’t Know About

Lets’ give a shout-out to the exceptional burgers that don’t make the usual “best burgers in New York City” lists. I personally recommend Molly’s Shebeen and the Ear Inn (although I’d like to continue to keep these places a lesser-known secret for as long as possible). Check out Thrillist’s thoughts on the best burgers you don’t know about.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

NYC’s Best Food Trucks All In One Place: Choice Streets Tickets on Sale!

Get them while they last! Tickets to The Village Voice’s third annual Choice Streets Food Truck Tasting Event go on sale today at noon. This annual event will be held on Wednesday, May 7th from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. on Pier 86 (right by the Intrepid).

Have a favorite food truck? Chances are they’ll be at Choice Streets. The event will feature more than 20 of the city’s favorite and highly sought-after food trucks all in one spot. 

As someone that’s familiar with its sister event, Choice Eats, I highly recommend grabbing a ticket to this event. Pig out on your favorite food trucks and enjoy an evening of fabulous food, drinks and an amazing view of the city and Hudson River. Tickets can be purchased here.

Village Voice Choice Streets

Choice Eats 2014: Bigger and Better

What do you get when you put 84 restaurants with mouthwatering food in front of thousands of hungry New Yorkers? It can only be one of the best food events of the year – Choice Eats.

credit Laura June Kirsch

Photo Credit: Laura June Kirsch

This event was held last week at it’s new location – Basketball City at Pier 36 – and these new digs did Choice Eats right. The space was enormous – meaning more restaurants, more food, more drinks and more hungry people. As usual, the food was incredible. I had my stretchy pants on for this annual all-you-can-eat pig-out and enjoyed nearly everything there was to sample. I try to use this event to discover some new spots across the city to check out. While it’s difficult to pick the best dish, some of my favorites included Mable’s Smokehouse, Little Prince, OvenlyRubirosa and Mooncake Foods. Food porn is below, starting with my favorites. And for those of you that missed Choice Eats, don’t worry. Its sister event, Choice Streets, featuring some of New York City’s top food trucks, is coming up shortly! Buy your tickets soon, you won’t be disappointed!

Mable's Smokehouse Beef Brisket

Mable’s Smokehouse Beef Brisket with Candied Yams

As usual, Mable’s Smokehouse had beef brisket that gave my mouth a burst of flavor before it quickly dissolved. This meat was so tender, no chewing necessary. The candied yams provided a quick sugar fix to help me power through the rest of the night. I won’t lie, I may have gone back to Mable’s booth twice (or three four times).

Little Prince Steak Tartare

Little Prince Steak Tartare with Fried Capers, Aioli and Grilled Bread

Buttery grilled bread topped with perfectly seasoned steak tartare. What more can you ask for? This was only a tease though and I’m looking to head to Little Prince soon to check out the rest of the menu!

Ovenly Sconewiches

Ovenly Sconewiches

We can’t forget about dessert. My vote for most unique dessert of the night goes to Ovenly for their savory scones. This blue cheese and pecan scone had a deliciously unexpected flavor. After a few bites, I quickly figured out why these scones were going fast. Great combination of sweet and savory.

Rubirosa Braciole Tortelli

Rubirosa Braciole Tortelli Served with Roasted Garlic and Herb Croutons

These little tortelli packed a serious flavor punch. Stuffed with braciole, the pasta melted in my mouth as the filing coated my tongue. After this, I will be visiting Rubirosa soon, VERY soon.

Mooncake Foods Shanghai Dumplings

Mooncake Foods Shanghai Dumplings with Spicy Garlic Dipping Sauce

I didn’t know what to expect from Mooncake foods, but now know that I need to get over to one of their locations ASAP. If all Asian comfort food looks and tastes as good as these dumplings, sign me up.

Coppelia Arepas

Coppelia Arepas – Corn Cakes, Shredded Chicken, Guacamole, Rocoto Sauce

Max Restaurant Meat Lasagna

Max Restaurant Meat Lasagna

John Brown Smokehouse

John Brown Smokehouse

Queens Comfort Atomic Mac & Cheese

Queens Comfort Atomic Mac & Cheese

BobWhite Lunch and Supper Counter Cheese Biscuits

BobWhite Lunch and Supper Counter Cheese Biscuits with Country Ham and a Squash Pickle

Sheep Station Roasted (Aussie) Leg of Lamb Sandwich

Sheep Station Roasted (Aussie) Leg of Lamb Sandwich with Sauteed Onions, Tomato, Garlic Mayo, Baby Arugula on a Po Boy

Scratchbread Bread and Bacon

Scratchbread Bread and Bacon

Kaia Wine Bar Chicken Liver Parfait

Kaia Wine Bar Chicken Liver Parfait with a Raspberry Peri Peri Gelee

Ample Hills Creamery Ice Cream

Ample Hills Creamery Ice Cream – Salted Crack Caramel, Sweet as Honey, Gather ‘Round the Campfire

Luke's Lobster Maine Crab Rolls

Luke’s Lobster Maine Crab Rolls

Mexico Lindo Banana Leaf Steamed Local Rabbit Tacos

Mexico Lindo Banana Leaf Steamed Local Rabbit Tacos with Cascabel Mole Rojo and Butternut Squash, Garnished with Micro Cilantro and Almonds

Ovelia Psistaria Bar Greek Coffee Steak

Ovelia Psistaria Bar Greek Coffee Steak with Mushroom Halloumi Poutine

Pete Zaaz Baked Potato Pizza in an Egg Roll

Pete Zaaz Baked Potato Pizza in an Egg Roll

The Meatball Shop Beef Meatballs

The Meatball Shop Beef Meatballs with Classic Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Cheese

Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue Burnt Ends

Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue Burnt Ends

Donut Plant Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut

Donut Plant Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut

End of Choice Eats

That’s All Folks!

1682 French Louisiana: New Orleans’ French Quarter in Long Island City

1682 French Louisiana – 48-19 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, New York

Aside from the wonder that is Bourbon Street, New Orleans is known for its incredible food culture. Now, in a Long Island City cafe formerly known as Cranky’s, 1682 French Louisiana is bringing the French Quarter to the city.

The owners, Mina and Jimi, have transformed this former coffee shop into a French/Cajun restaurant. The interior pays homage to its coffee shop roots by still giving off a “coffee shop vibe.” And service with a smile is something you’ll definitely get here. Mina makes it a point to make her way to every table, greeting everyone with a friendly “Bonjour!” and sitting with those that want to chat into the night.

I was recently invited in to check out the menu and chowed down on some delicious dishes.

Creole Style Fries 1682 French Louisiana

We started off with some Creole Style Fries. These very thin and crispy fries were piled high and served with an avocado dipping sauce. They were coated with an addictive Cajun seasoning that had me grabbing them by the handful.

Creole Shrimp and Goat Cheese Crepe 1682 French Louisiana

One of the favorite dishes of the night was the Creole Shrimp and Goat Cheese Crepe. This appetizer consisted of a crepe filled with goat cheese and topped with shrimp and a creole butter sauce made with white wine. This dish gave my taste buds an immediate spicy kick that was quickly offset by a flood of delicious goat cheese.

Crab Meat and Avocado Terrine 1682 French Louisiana

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a favorite of mine. A thick bed of avocado was topped with a layer of crab meat and sour cream. The appetizer was very light and refreshing, but it struggled to find any real defining flavor.

Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya 1682 French Louisiana

Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya 1682 French Louisiana 2

Just look at that presentation! Another favorite of the night was the Shrimp and Andouille Jambalya. A generous amount of shrimp and Andouille sausage was served over dirty rice. This was all surrounded by a precisely placed wall of mussels. Delicious, delicious, delicious. The dish had just the right amount of kick to it and was extremely flavorful. It was served with a doughy homemade Cajun biscuit. I’d order this again in a heartbeat.

Cajun Brook Trout Fillet 1682 French Louisiana

The Cajun Brook Trout Fillet came sitting on wild rice and spinach, bordered by a rich-colored beet sauce. The fillet was perfectly cooked and there was a lot of it. The spinach gave off a healthy appearance, but it had a very buttery flavor so I’m assuming it wasn’t giving me those Popeye health benefits (I wasn’t complaining). This, combined with the sticky wild rice, made for a perfect combination.

Bourbon Coconut Bread Pudding 1682 French Louisiana

Time for dessert. Bourbon Coconut Bread Pudding sat in a pool of bourbon cream sauce. You could taste the alcohol in this rich and moist dessert, and it was damn good.

The Verdict

1682 French Louisiana has a lot of competition to deal with, with lots of ethnic restaurants dotting the surrounding blocks. However, after my experience, I think they’ll do just fine. The food was delicious all around and the service made it feel like home. True care was clearly placed on the presentation as every dish came out looking incredible. I’ve heard the weekend brunch here is packed, but I plan on giving it a try very soon! I highly recommend 1682 French Louisiana. And for those of you in Manhattan, it’s not that far away! 

1682 French Louisiana on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Cranky’s Café
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Hunters Point / Cajun / Creole
* Street Address
48-19 Vernon Blvd. (Between 48th Ave. & 49th Ave.), Long Island City, NY 11101
* Phone
(347) 738-4921

Now That’s What Ketchup Should Taste Like – Ballymaloe’s Irish Ketchup

Move over, Heinz, Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup just opened my eyes to what ketchup should really taste like.

Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup

I gave Ballymaloe a try the other night and my taste buds woke up with flavor. Yes, I know we’re only talking about ketchup here, but give Ballymaloe a try and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Compared to what you’re used to, this ketchup is a much richer in color. It’s made of 100% natural ingredients, and only nine of them. In fact, it’s so flavorful that you can literally see the different spices sprinkled throughout.

Ballymaloe Gourmet Irish Ketchup on Burger

I put some of this ketchup on a turkey burger and it added A LOT of flavor. I shouldn’t have seasoned the meat because the ketchup delivered everything this burger needed.

Thumbs up to Ballymaloe. Next time I need ketchup, I know what I’m grabbing.

Please note: Barton’s Bites received free product from Ballymaloe. 

Last Call for Tickets to Choice Eats!

There’s less than one week before the Village Voice’s seventh annual Choice Eats tasting event and general admission tickets are still on sale! Hurry and grab yours before they sell out.

Word of advice for those that haven’t been to Choice Eats before – GO! The final map where you can plot your course is available and the line up of 84 participating restaurants is all set for this year’s epic food bonanza and you won’t be disappointed

As an added bonus, Choice Eats is partnering with Hailo Cab. Use them to arrive or leave Choice Eats and receive $10 off your ride. More info, here.

Event Details:

  • DATE: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
  • TICKETS: On Sale Now: http://www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats
  • VENUE: Basketball City | 299 South St. | New York, NY 10002
  • COST: $60 – General Admission (STILL AVAILABLE), $70 Door Price
  • TIME: 7:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m.