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.
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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Posted by Zach Brooks at 11:30 am, July 8th, 2009 under Biriyani Cart, Carnegie John's Cart, Cart, Famous Halal Guys on 53rd & 6th, Kwik Meal, Steak Truck, Street Meat, Street Meat Palooza, Trini Paki Boys Cart, XPL.