Archive for 'Street Meat'

A Street Food Walking Tour of Midtown Manhattan

Once a month the website Foodbuzz showcases 24 meals, by 24 bloggers, in the same 24 hour period around the globe. This month they chose Midtown Lunch to be one of the showcased blogs, and graciously agreed to fund a Street Meat Walking Tour of Midtown for 5 lucky Midtown Lunch readers and their guests. A contest was held, names were drawn (randomly), and on Saturday at Noon I lead 10 winners on a guided tour of the best street meat Midtown has to offer. We ate, met the vendors, ate some more, and compared. Here’s a little recap of the tour…

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Little Morocco is Midtown’s Best New Street Meat

Little Morocco

I love how after three years of doing Midtown Lunch, plus Street Meat Palooza and Street Meat Palooza 2 there are still chicken and lamb over rice surprises left in Midtown. Take Little Morocco, on the NE corner of 39th & 7th, which I actually read about in the Midtown Lunch forums (yes, they are good for something!) Lunch’er NoPickles posted about the cart under the title “Spiciest Street Meat Cart”, which naturally caught my attention. After reading his rave, I had to check it out.

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The 55th Street Fried Chicken Cart Probably Shouldn’t Use Styrofoam

DSC00257From the looks of things 55th and Madison has become one of the most interesting street cart corners in Midtown.  On the NW corner you’ve got the liver sandwich from Charcoal Grill.  On the NE corner, there is a cart that serves grilled hot dogs, chili, and chicken sausages.  And on the SW corner there is the “Fried Chicken Cart”, which Lunch’er Bossman reported on back in October.  I finally made it over there to check out their fried chicken… and it was good.  Although I’m not sure styrofoam containers are the best vehicle for fresh-out-of-the-fryer fried chicken.

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At Some Street Carts White Sauce Equals Mayo

14For those of you in denial (our Happy Hour Correspondent Mamacita for one) here is proof that not only does the “white sauce” from your favorite street meat often contain mayo, but sometimes it’s just mayo: “I was just at the Steak Truck (on 47th and Park) and the guy in front of me ordered a combo over rice with white sauce and hot sauce. He got served his food with the typical squeeze from a white bottle and red bottle. But here’s the interesting part: when I then asked for ketchup and mayo on my burger, the Steak Truck guy pulled out the SAME white bottle he had used for the halal combo and spritzed my burger with it. Proof that white sauce = watered down mayo at a lot of truck and carts. -Will (aka Lunch’er WaitingForBajaFresh)”.  Once again I’m going to file this under things I wish I didn’t know.

“White Sauce” Has What In It?!?!

“Recessions are a Good Time to Be in the Gyro Business”

Gyro II, Midtown NYC
Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th)

You all know that Midtown Lunch has a love affair with the gyro, whether being served chopped up as the “lamb” portion of a halal platter, or patiently cooked and sliced correctly to be served in a real gyro (like they do at the Famous Chicken Place or at Uncle Nick’s on 9th Ave.)  But ever wonder about the origin of this mystery meat on a spit?  If you answered yes, than you have to read the gyro article in this morning’s food section of the New York Times. It traces the first mass produced gyro to a Jewish (?!?) owned business in Chicago, and even has a video of the gyro making process, which “starts with boxes of raw beef and lamb trimmings, and ends with what looks like oversized Popsicles the shade of a Band-Aid.”  I even recognized Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th) as the footage they used at the very beginning of the video! (Although if you are a little squeamish when it comes to raw meat, I would skip the video.  It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.)  Check it out>>

Is Gyro II The Best Gyro Midtown Has to Offer?
Uncle Nick’s and Poseidon Bakery Make 9th Ave the Ultimate Greek Lunch Spot

What Did You Have For Lunch Yesterday? I Had Street Meat


Man, I was really in the mood for street meat yesterday… and can’t for the life of me figure out why.  (Oh, that’s right.)  I decided to hit up the Famous Halal Cart on the SE Corner of 53rd and 6th to try their kofta kebab (which we reported about a few months back.)  Probably not the smartest move considering they had just come in 3rd place in Street Meat Palooza 2 , but the line moved quick, and I just had to get my fix.

Check out my chicken and kofta combo plate, after the jump.

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Street Meat Palooza 2: Our New York City Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown Crowns A New Champion


One year ago this month 20 Midtown Lunch’ers converged in Bryant Park to taste 13 plates of street meat and rate them in an event that became known as Street Meat Palooza.  The Famous Halal Cart on 53rd & 6th was crowned the winner, and we vowed to return one year later to give another set of carts a chance at unseating the champ.  Last week a new group of lunchers once again converged in Bryant Park to blind taste test and rate 15 different street meat carts, many of them nominated by you.  Food was consumed, scores were given, and a new winner has been crowned.  Ladies and gentleman, Midtown Lunch’ers, and street food enthusiasts from around the world, I’m excited to give you STREET MEAT PALOOZA 2.

At Lunch Now: Street Meat Palooza 2

Some of you may be asking, “What exactly is street meat?”  Well, for the purposes of this contest it is an order of chicken and lamb, served over rice, with “white sauce” and hot sauce.  In Midtown it is often referred to as “Halal Food” (the Muslim equivalent of Kosher), but in this case the method of preparation (or its degree of holiness) is not important.  As long as you serve something called chicken and lamb over rice (with white sauce and hot sauce) it could be Palooza’d.  7 carts from last year were granted automatic entry, while the other 8 were culled from your nominations.  Carts received separate scores for chicken, lamb, rice, white sauce, hot sauce, and value, plus received an overall score (the most important.)  Every judge was also asked to choose a top 5 at the very end.

Keep in mind there are no losers in Street Meat Palooza, just different degrees of winning (I see the good in all street meat).  Just getting picked to participate meant that somebody likes the cart, and every single entry showed up in at least one judge’s top 5.  In other words, this isn’t a contest as much as a celebration- and just because a new champion has been crowned doesn’t meat that last year’s winner is no longer great.  It just means that on any given day, any number of amazing Midtown street food vendors might be putting out “The Best” plate of street meat.

Here are the results…

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Famous 53rd Street Halal Guys Add Kofta Kebab to the Menu


This is kind of exciting.  The Famous Halal Guys’ daytime cart on the SE corner of 53rd St and 6th Ave (who won last year’s Street Meat Palooza) have added kofta kebabs to their menu.  I had already had lunch by the time I walked by and spotted this beautiful sight on the grill, so I didn’t get a chance to sample.  But you better believe that a chicken/kofta over rice combo platter is in my immediate future (topped with white sauce and hot sauce of course.) No word on whether the nighttime cart (on the SW corner), or their other daytime cart (on the SW corner of 53rd and 7th) is also serving the item.

Debunking the Myths of 53rd & 6th, the Most Famous Halal Intersection in New York City
Are Lunchers Finally Getting the Message About the Halal Carts on 53rd & 6th?

Has Street Meat Student (Carnegie John) Surpassed Teacher (Tony Dragonas)?

Tony Dragonas Cart

Believe or not I had actually never eaten at the super famous Tony “The Dragon” Dragonas cart on Madison & 62nd until last week.  I am very familiar with his disciple, Carnegie John (on 56th and 7th), but have never made it up to see the man himself.  I know it’s just a few blocks out of bounds, but there’s something about the UES that repels me- and if I do find myself up anywhere near that area, I usually eat at the original El Rey del Sabor Cart (on 60th and 3rd).

Anyway, a doctor’s appt. brought me right past the Dragon’s popular cart last week during lunch, and again those words popped into my head (like they have so many times before when faced with something delicious)…  “how could I not?”

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Fish & Chips Elevates 100% Halal Food Cart Above Its “Healthy” Counterpart


I’ve been wanting to try the “100% Halal Food” cart (on the SW corner of 54th & Park Ave.) for awhile now. Obviously it was the assortment of fried goods hovering above the standard halal chicken and lamb covered griddle that intrigued me, and after reading on Wined and Dined that it was owned by the same guy that runs 100% Halal & Healthy (on 55th btw. Park+Mad) I was sold.


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