What A Two-Hour, Six-Stop Food Tour Of The FiDi Looks Like

The Financial District has many carts and trucks to choose from and it’s not uncommon to hit up one of them each day of the week. But what about stopping at six different carts and eating something from each one in a span of two hours? There is a tour company called Turnstile Tours that has taken it upon itself to show people (mostly tourists) some of the finest eats in the FiDi on Wednesdays. The tour guide: sometime Midtown Lunch contributor/ice cream maker/actor Brian Hoffman who talks far louder and is more animated than I could ever be. I was invited to tag along on his tour and while I came away with a full stomach, I also found out a lot of fun facts about some of the carts, trucks and people I’ve bought food from for more than five years. 

The tour consisted of me and about 10 people from Australia. Apparently Aussies are into eating things from food carts and I totally respect that. Our first stop was the classic Veronica’s Kitchen. Veronica has parked on Front St., and now Water St., near Pine for about nine years, and fun fact No. 1 that I learned is she is sisters with Shirley, who helms the Trinidad & Tobago cart down on Whitehall St. Also, I tried Veronica’s jerk chicken for the first time and it was exceptional, as were the bit of collard greens that came alongside in my tasting.

Next up was Adel’s No. 1 Halal cart at Front St. and Maiden Lane. We’ve already written about the tastiness at this cart, and this visit was no different with a tasting of three freshly-fried falafel with white and hot sauces over rice.

A short stroll down the block and we were at Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck. The truck is another staple of the FiDi scene, serving up its grandma slices, heros, rice balls and pasta for many years. The key here is that the pizza oven’s on the truck so you might get a piping hot slice as those on the tour did. The crust had spots of char on the underside and was one of the taste highlights of the tour.  Brian used this stop to explain how food trucks and carts get their permits and the fact that there’s something like a 20 year wait for a new permit and a closed waiting list to get on the list. Needless to say, trucks and carts find their way around this shut out or we wouldn’t be seeing new ones hitting the streets all the time.

At this point on the tour, stomachs were starting to get full and we were all powering through. It was a good thing that the Korilla BBQ truck came next and the mix of Dr. Dre pumping from the truck and promise of a special off-menu bulgogi taco kept us going. The tacos were a big hit with the tour, many of whom had never had Korean food let alone tasted it in a Mexican crossover. This also marked the point at which we all got food on ourselves due to wind and trying to eat a juicy taco off aluminum foil.

Brian had been hyping the last stop on the tour pretty much since the first stop. It was dessert time! We walked up Wall St. to the block between Pearl & William and before us stood the Wafels & Dinges truck where we were going to get a two-fer. The appetizer was a mini wafel topped with spekuloos spread with the main course of Belgian Madness ice cream involving Hoegaarden beer and honey. Yum.

Most of the people who take these tours are tourists, but Brian said there have been office workers who come along for the ride on a day off. You can find out how to take the FiDi Wednesday food cart/truck tour through Turnstile Tours by going here. There’s also a similar Midtown tour if you’d like to get a little bit fatter in a different neighborhood.

Even if you’ve eaten at all of the carts and trucks on the tour, you’re likely to learn something new along the way as there’s barely a moment when Brian isn’t sharing his knowledge of street food with everyone.


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