Archive for September, 2010
Take a tour of Abu Dhabi’s newest suburban utopia complete with a Buckminster Fuller inspired fleet of driverless electric cars that will navigate the tunnels beneath the city. Masdar is a square mile city that’s elevated above the ground.
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New Yorkers have an affinity for corporate cut-throughs, public piazzas, building lobbies or any public (or quasi-public) space that lets you slide north or south through the middle of the street without having to double-back to an avenue.
Here’s a New Yorker piece on this underappreciated art:
The goal: to walk from the Empire State Building, on West Thirty-third Street, to Rockefeller Center, on West Forty-eighth, without ever setting foot on Fifth or Sixth Avenue—to knife through tall buildings in a single bound, or at least in stepwise forays.
I just noticed this twisting beauty while zoning out on the subway crossing the Manhattan Bridge. The concrete bunker of the Verizon building really brings the vibrancy of the titanium into relief. I recall hearing about it a few years back, but who knows what actually gets built in Manhattan these days. (It does have similarities to Nouvel’s doomed tower near the MOMA.)
Surprisingly, it will house 900 residential rentals (not condos) in the heart of the financial district. Do that many people want to live in the tundra that is the financial district? More info here.
This is a new school cart with an old school sensibility. As you may have surmised, they specialize in freshly grilled chicken and pork souvlaki kebabs ($1.50 each). It would indeed be a mistake to pass on the pita souvlaki ($2.50), where the tender and charred flavor of the souvlaki kebabs are stuffed into a Greek pita with tomato, red onions, a house made tzatziki with a few french fries. (Full disclosure: I will be loyal to any sandwich purveyor who inserts french fries into their wares without me asking.) Perhaps the chef d’oeuvre is the Bifteki sandwich ($4.00) which is a Greek-style, moist kefta stuffed into a Greek pita with tomato, red onions, tzatziki and, yes, french fries.
The food here is tasty and well spiced like an old school halal chicken & rice cart, and sanitary, focused, with attention to detail like a new school hipster cart. The cart itself is an homage to Greece with turquoise and white detailing, and stray references to the owners’ Greek heritage. A true find indeed. Check the menu.
My cash is on the King of Flavor. Slackers note that the Vendys is now sold out!
Owner Yassir Raouli celebrates two milestones today: his truck’s one-year anniversary and his inaugural Vendy nomination. The Morocco native offers specialties from his home country, like a merguez-sausage sandwich and lamb over couscous or rice. He’s also known for his Bistro Burger, made with grass-fed beef and harissa-mayo. Fifth Ave between 16th and 17th Sts (800-290-4924). Mon–Sat 11:30am–7pm. Average menu item: $6.
El Rey del Sabor
Rosa and Vilio Cardoso have dubbed their midtown cart the “King of Flavor,” and given their coveted Vendys nom, they might be on to something. Whatever the case, this rookie’s Puebla-style Mexican grub is in high demand—the Cardosos operate three carts in midtown offering the same menu of tacos, chalupas and more, loaded with juicy meats like al pastor pork and carne asada, along with house-made pico de gallo salsa. E 49th St and Park Ave (additional locations: E 60th St and Third Ave; 43rd St and Sixth Ave). Daily 11:30am–3am. Average menu item: $4.
The King of Falafel and Shawarma
Fares Zeidaies may be street-cart royalty (if his 2007 and 2009 Vendy noms mean anything), but everyone knows His Highness simply as Freddy. He’ll win you over with banter while you browse his menu of Middle Eastern offerings (falafel, shawarma, kebabs), and again when you bite into his superlative fare, including a chicken-and-rice plate that’s inspired many a Queens pilgrimage. 30th St and Broadway, Astoria, Queens. Mon–Sat 11am–11pm. Average menu item: $7.
Vendy newbies Liliana Velasquez and Adolfo Gonzalez offer street food typical of their native Venezuela at this Inwood cart (and at a brick-and-mortar location in Elmhurst). The name translates to “flattened plantain,” which is what you get if you order the namesake special: a choice of meats with lettuce, tomato and “special sauce,” sandwiched between two fried-plantain disks. 413 W 202nd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves. Daily 7pm–6am. Average sandwich: $4.
Schnitzel & Things
Last year’s Rookie Vendor of the Year is back, and this time it’s joined the big leagues of mobile muncheries. We have a feeling Oleg and Gene Voss’s Austrian offerings will stack up just fine—in addition to pulling in swarms of local fans, they’ve also been profiled in Forbes, Time and the late Gourmet. The menu is a pared-down roster of three kinds of schnitzel (pork, chicken or cod), a burger or a brat, served sandwich-style or with various sides like potato and cucumber salads. Visit schnitzelandthings.com or check the truck’s Twitter feed (@schnitzeltruck) for daily locations. Average main course: $9