Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Day 1–The train was late, it was cold and raining so after checking into my hotel around 2 PM, I just wanted a quick bite of lunch–which I obtained across the street at the Chelsea Papaya : 2 Sabrett hot dogs slathered with mustard and onion relish with a diet soda. Then I headed uptown on the 6th Ave. subway to Macy s to check out the after Christmas sale but didn t see anything and by then it was dinner time.
I walked over to Park Ave and took the subway back down to Astor place and a crosstown bus to 6th and first Ave where I ate at Banjara, an Indian place which Zagat s rates among the best in New York. This area (actually in the East Village) is apparently known to locals as curry hill , a pun on the nearby Murray Hill area because there are many Indian restaurants. Banjara, however, was excellent–I had a fiery chicken vindaloo which differed from what I m used to in having no obvious tamarind in the sauce. Anyway, it was excellent (as were the accompaniments I ordered, especially the raita which was probably the best I ve ever had) and, at $28 including 2 Kingfisher beers, the price seemed consistent with what I d expect to pay in San Francisco. Sadly, though, I feel I should report that the vindaloo was at least as fiery on the way out as on the way in–be warned.
Day 2–Slept a bit late and decided to skip breakfast in favor of brunch at Katz s. Subway d down and walked around a bit, then went in and had a corned beef sandwich on rye with a half done pickle. The corned beef was superb, in part because it had plenty of fat. It was also cooked to the point of extreme tenderness. I have to quibble with the pickle, however. I definitely asked for half done –what I got had spent, I think, maybe seconds in the pickling brine and was hard to distinguish from an unpickled cucumber. Yeah, at $14 or so it was not a cheap sandwich, but I think it was a classic of its kind and so was worth it.
After eating at Katz s, I went on down and ogled the World Trade Center site, walked around Wall St. and then back tracked for a mid-afternoon snack at a place I couldn t leave town without trying: The Dumpling House on Eldridge St. in Chinatown. Here you crowd into a narrow storefront with the locals, elbow your way to a counter and assertively order. What you order is excellent fried dumplings (known in SF as pot stickers), 5 for $1 which has to be the bargain of the decade. When you get them you can do as I did, buy a soda for another $1, then elbow your way to a small counter at the back (seats maybe 4 people), douse the dumplings in Sriracha hot sauce and eat them. At $3 for 10 dumplings and a soda, this is, I think, the best lunch bargain in America (the dumplings alone can cost about $0.60 apiece in SF). I also saw other customers, mostly Chinese-speaking, order luscious looking soups (I saw corn, hot/sour, dumpling in broth and noodle soups).
In fact, the soup looked so good that it gave me an idea for dinner: The weather being rather raw, a warm steaming bowl of ramen sounded good (it s my staple in SF when the fog blows in) so I headed to Menchanko-Tei on 55th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. Slurped up with a large Kirin, it cost $18 including tip, once again about what you d pay in SF.
Finally, after taking in a movie in Times Square, I grabbed another Sabrett dog on the way to bed.
Day 3– 2-block walk over to 5th Ave. took me to Eisenberg s Sandwich Shop for a cup of coffee and a passable bagel with excellent lox and cream cheese.
But I had to have more dumplings; I am seriously addicted to them. Only a block away from the Dumpling House is another dumpling spot, Fried Dumpling at 99 Allen St., so I headed there and got a double order (10 for $2). Frankly, the dumplings seemed better at the Dumpling House but Fried Dumpling is a whisker more eat-in friendly, offering a couple of small tables in front. To be fair, though, I hit Dumpling House at a busy time and got my o,29,176453,0,20349,126.96.36.199
176452,176437,176437,2006-01-28 20:04:58,RE: Toasted buns”