New York City, with its hustle and bustle, crowded streets, and skyscrapers is the perfect place to add a little flavor to your life. As a Maryland girl at heart, it was hard for me to adjust to food in New York. Don’t be fooled, Maryland is only 4 hours away from the city, but you won’t find Old Bay on every street corner, instead, you’ll find a hot dog cart. So I tried NYC’s most popular foods, and this is what I thought.
1. Hot Dog Carts
Prior to living in New York, TV definitely taught me right when it showed hot dog carts all over Manhattan. I feel like I can’t look somewhere without seeing a hot dog cart lurking in the shadows, as I starve because college has taken a toll on my financial stability.
2. Roasted Peanuts
Yes, this is actually something that took me by surprise. Not that I’ve never heard of roasted peanuts, but I’d never been in a city where it was so prominent. You can find them at any hot dog cart, and that’s really saying something.
I’m still not 100% sure what they are, mainly because when I ask what’s in them I’m told “Gyro meat.” OK, but I do know they’re Greek and they’re very pleasing to my taste buds. It was one of the first things I was bribed to eat while in Manhattan.
I have to say, coming from an area with pretty damn good Mexican food, I found it hard to adjust to it not being as appealing up North. The tortillas just aren’t up to par and that’s a bit heart breaking. Don’t get me wrong, in a moment of starvation I’d definitely eat it, porque no?
Okay, I first have to say; I thought we had good bagels back home but I was completely wrong. There’s something about New York bagels that just really warms your heart and inspires you to keep composure when someone cuts you off on Grand Central Pkwy. Now, The Bagel Store in Brooklyn even offers a rainbow bagel.
Another food I don’t really fully understand but nevertheless appreciate, with caution. Choosing which Halal truck you’d like to buy food from on a given day definitely turns out to be the most important choice you make all day. It’s the difference between choosing food poisoning or the best meal you’ve had all week. So far I’ve only experienced the positive side of this phenomenon, and I pray it stays that way. If you are looking for something well-known in the NYC area, try The Halal Guys.
7. New York-Style Pizza
I know I’ll have an angry mob coming for my head after this one, but I have to say it: what’s the big deal with New York pizza? I’m yet to figure it out, I don’t find anything that’s so remarkably unique about it that causes all this hubbub. Needless to say, I’ve been told I’m not a REAL New Yorker yet because I don’t appreciate the “sacred dish.” The point is – Costco pizza is still bae in my heart.
I’ve come to realize white girl wasted in New York really refers to the excess amount of coffee that is consumed DAILY. I’m Colombian, so I have no problem with the love for coffee here, in fact, it makes me feel right at home. Plus, I must admit the white girl culture is a part of me now, sorry mom. If you’re having trouble finding the best cup of coffee to suit your needs, try the app Cups.
9. Chain Food
Trust me, you don’t want to be the friend that suggests Chipotle when you’re in Manhattan. It’s a really big deal here to try something new every time you go out, so word of advice: don’t be basic… like me. My favorite so far is definitely Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where you waiters are aspiring Broadway performers who sing to you and serve your food. Singing + Grub = Match made in heaven.
10. Smoothie Bowls
WHY DIDN’T I KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE? I’ve been deprived of happiness for too long, that’s what I came to find when I had my first smoothie bowl in NYC. Like seriously why isn’t this a thing back home?
I encountered this hidden gem prior to finals week with my mother who had come to visit. Being the obsessive health guru she is, she refused to eat basically anywhere in the city if I could not prove it was preservatives free. But, the minute we walked past Pure Green on 33rd St, she was captivated and left me behind as she was pulled in by the sound of the blenders. She loves it. And honestly, that’s a miracle because she hates everything, so if you haven’t had a smoothie bowl, get on that.