Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hit by a Mac Truck

Twitter continues to be so good to me.  On my walk to work every morning, I walk west on 47th and pass by prime food truck real estate between Park & Madison Aves.  One morning last week, I spotted a new (to me) food truck parked there, and the name made me smile: Mac Truck.  Creative, straightforward, and a funny pun on Mack trucks.  A whole truck of mac & cheese?!  This I had to investigate. 

After finding their website and Twitter page, I exchanged a few tweets with the owner Dom, asking if he ever has plans to come to 6th Ave during lunch.  To my delight, he told me he was planning on setting up in my work neighborhood the next Wednesday (yesterday).  It crossed my mind as I walked to work past the other food trucks in the morning, but then I got busy with work.  Late morning, I had a direct message from him apologizing for not making it to 6th Ave., but he asked if I'd be up for him dropping off some mac & cheese on his way home for me to try anyway.  That turned into him dropping off 5 huge portions of mac & cheese and 2 orders of fried mac bites for my co-workers and me to enjoy!  Talk about brilliant marketing...a win-win for all of us. :)

I dug into the contaimers with one co-worker.  Then, I took a break to email a bunch of other coworkers, who, one-by-one, came running over to my desk and joined in on the feast. 

Classic Mac & Cheese
Mac Truck NYC

Mac & Cheese tasting:
Classic, braised applewood bacon, cheeseburger, buffalo chicken, and pulled pork
plus fried mac bites
Mac Truck NYC

Up close and personal with the ridiculous fried mac bites
Mac Truck NYC

When I got back to my desk, there were some hilarious replies to the email chain:
"Wow. Also, do you know a Beer Truck guy?"
"I had a lucrative Bernie Mac & Cheese truck years ago but we had to shut it down with his untimely passing."
"So sleepy now."
And my personal favorite: "Shayna just locked up the 'Email of the Year' award."  SWEET!

Huge thanks to Dom for letting us try all of his delicious varieties.  Can't wait to get hit by the Mac Truck again soon!

Mac Truck
Check Twitter and Facebook for daily location

Friday, January 11, 2013

Warm Up in 10 Degrees

If you wander around the East Village/Alphabet City area, you're bound to pass by dozens of dimly-lit wine bars and lounges.  So how do you choose which one to check out?  Well, a few things helped me decide on 10 Degrees when I was meeting a friend for a drink after work. 

1) A really great happy hour: 2-4-1 drinks until 8pm every day, every drink
2) A fun, cozy atmosphere: who doesn't love eating and drinking by candelight?!
3) A food menu with more than the standard bar food fare

10 Degrees had it all.  We ordered a mixed plate of charcuterie and cheeses (any 3 for $21, any 4 for $26).  It was a little pricey for cheese, but unlike a lot of cheese plates that feature miniscule morsels of each cheese, these portions were huge!

Comte de Montagne
Proscuitto San Daniel Reserve
 10 Degrees

That's no morsel, that's a giant chunk!

I had never heard of this dish before, but absolutely had to try it. Hard to go wrong with potatoes, cheese, breadcrumbs baked in the oven.

Tartiflette Mont Blanc (with a very eloquent description)
"Savory and rich layers of maple-wood smoked bacon, russett potatoes, and
loads of melted gruyere, eclipsed with a buttery, garlic Pank crusting" 
10 Degrees

Great atmosphere and lively crowd
Love the walls covered in wine bottles and exposed stone
10 Degrees

10 Degrees
121 St. Marks Place
b/t 1st Ave & Avenue A

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Stone's Throw to Stone Street

I don't know the history behind Stone Street in the Financial district, but I like to think that's how all of Lower Manhattan looked before so much was knocked down and skyscrapers started soaring. I don't usually go out of my way to frequent the bars and restaurants on Stone Street, but when I'm in the area, it's definitely worth a visit.

After ice skating at the rink in Battery Park (total hidden gem), we decided to make our way over to Stone Street for some food and drinks. I've been to a few of the places on the block, but decided to try Stone Street Tavern this time.

I ordered the buffalo chicken wrap with hot sauce, pepper jack cheese, blue cheese dressing, lettuce, and tomatoes.  It was really tasty, but didn't look like anything special on the plate.  But, I thought the presentation for the Stone Street Famous Burger was really fun: a wooden slab for a plate and a metal basket holding the fries. 

Pat Lafrieda ground beef brisket on a toasted English muffin,
with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, ketchup, French mustard, and fresh herbs
Stone Street Tavern

Stone Street is pretty quiet in the winter on the weekends, but I imagine it's a great place for happy hour if you work downtown.  And in warmer weather, all the restaurants fill the street with tables for al fresco dining surrounded by beautiful, old buildings. 

Stone Street Tavern
52 Stone Street

Friday, January 4, 2013

Serious Ballers

Meatball Shop is well-known for a few things...seriously tasty meatballs, seriously good homemade ice cream sandwiches, and seriously long waits. Because of that last thing, DB and I have never been able to go when he has visited NYC.

Hoping that a cold Sunday night before Christmas would lessen the crowd, we trekked down to the Lower East side and met AL there for dinner. We walked into the packed restaurant and were disappointed to hear the wait was 45 minutes. We headed back outside trying to decide where to grab a drink to kill then time. Low and behold, not 45 minutes, but 45 seconds later, the hostess came outside and told us she had a table ready now! HOORAY!

We each ordered two meatball sliders and shared three sides.

SW: Chicken meatball with pesto & veggie meatball with parmesean cream
AL: Beef meatball with mushroom gravy & chicken meatball with parmsean cream
DB: Beef meatball with classic tomato sauce & chicken meatball with parmesean cream

Mushroom risotto
Freshly-milled polenta
Mashed potatoes
Meatball Shop

I hadn't had the ice cream sandwiches on past visits to the Meatball Shop, but despite being pretty stuffed, I knew we had to try them. We were reasonable though - we ordere two sandwiches for the three of us!

House-made chocolate ice cream on freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies
The Meatball Shop
Not pictured: Cinnamon ice cream on Snickerdoodle cookies. Out of this world.

The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street
b/t Allen & Orchard Streets

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MELTing Away the Cold

I finally made it to Melt Shop to try their well-known and well-loved grilled cheeses.  It was so hard to decide which ones to order.  Do I go with a classic style or one of their very creative ones?  Regardless of which we decided, I was pretty confident it was going to be a great meal!  
 Truffle Melt
havarti, arugula, and cracked black pepper drizzled with truffle oil on sourdough bread
Grilled cheese

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
with pepper jack cheese, creamy red cabbage slaw, and their special melt sauce
Grilled cheese

Shop Tots with Melt Sauce
Grilled cheese, tator tots

Their Midtown location can be a little tricky to find. It's in a corner down a set of stairs in a plaza at the base of the Citigroup building near the 6/E/M subway entrance.  Because it's just take-away, I'd definitely suggest going to eat in the atrium of the Citi building. There's ample seating and it's a nice to warm up from the cold outside with a warm, comforting lunch like this!

They also have a location in Chelsea.

Melt Shop
601 Lexington Avenue
@ 53rd Street