Helpful ReplyNYC: the cheap essentials

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Ketteract
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2019/09/28 20:35:39 (permalink)

NYC: the cheap essentials

From a slice joint, $2.75.
 

 

 
From another slice joint, $1.
 

 
From a hot dog cart, $2.
 

 
From a halal cart, $7.
 


That is all.
 

#1
ScreamingChicken
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/28 21:07:28 (permalink)
Good to see you again, K!
 
Great prices for pizza and hot dogs wherever you are...but how was the food, and are these prices anomalies or typical for places that don't have the name recognition?
 
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2019/09/28 21:09:04
#2
leethebard
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/28 21:21:49 (permalink)
The dollar a slice pizza joints are all over NYC...and hell they are better than much pizza in the rest of the country you'll pay a lot more for!!
#3
Ketteract
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/28 21:40:47 (permalink)
From what I can tell, these prices are par for the course in NYC. The $2.75 slice was excellent, and everything you would want out of a “New York slice”. I could have easily eaten two or three more.

The $1 slice... not so much. Overly salty, with an oddly soft crust. I know that $1 was the standard several years ago, but inflation has taken its toll and the price point for a genuinely good slice has risen.

The Sabrett hot dog with the onions-in-sauce was tasty as hell, and I don’t care if it seems touristy. I keep hearing how “real New Yorkers” don’t eat those hot dogs, and I have no clue if that’s the case, but I don’t care.

I am firm in including halal chicken over rice in this list of essentials. I’m just glad I can still get it up here in CT.
#4
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/29 07:32:04 (permalink)
Maybe not a 'real New Yorker', but this Westchester ex-pat would grab a 'dog as soon as he got off the train at GCT.
 
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#5
rudebarb
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/29 11:07:59 (permalink)
Actually the 1 dollar slice is a relatively new phenomenon in NYC dating back around 10 years. . It is as Ketteract describes, better than Dominos but that's about it. Iterestingly the price of a basic decent slice has always been about the same as the subway fare, which wouldn't you know it ,is now $2.75.

As for the hot dogs, they are made and kept hot by boiling all day or night in the same water, which NYers therefore refer to as dirty water dogs. My father called them " ptomain Joe's".
They are definitely not as good as freshly grilled dogs
Most NYers eat them occasionally, mainly out if convenience not gusto.
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cavandre
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 09:12:21 (permalink)
Top
Maybe not a 'real New Yorker', but this Westchester ex-pat would grab a 'dog as soon as he got off the train at GCT.
 
Top


Another Westchester ex-pat that has to whip up a batch of that onion sauce every once in a while!
#7
leethebard
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 10:02:36 (permalink)
cavandre
Top
Maybe not a 'real New Yorker', but this Westchester ex-pat would grab a 'dog as soon as he got off the train at GCT.
 
Top


Another Westchester ex-pat that has to whip up a batch of that onion sauce every once in a while!



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TJ Jackson
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 11:19:26 (permalink)
No insult intended - but - that sauce looks like catsup mixed with onions
 
There is more to it?  I hope?
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rudebarb
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 13:05:10 (permalink)
It is not catsup. It is tomato based but thinner and more tangy and less sweet. It is sold in jars with the Sabrett label.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 13:27:39 (permalink)
Top
Maybe not a 'real New Yorker', but this Westchester ex-pat would grab a 'dog as soon as he got off the train at GCT.
 
Top


Surely you don't the Nedick's in Grand Central
 
#11
leethebard
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 14:00:30 (permalink)
Nedicks ...a flash from the past!!!
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cavandre
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 14:57:12 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
No insult intended - but - that sauce looks like catsup mixed with onions
 
There is more to it?  I hope?


Not if you make Bobby Flay's version...
 
Bobby Flay’s New York Street Cart Hot Dog Onion Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions--cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cayenne sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
Method:
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Stir in the cinnamon and chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, water, hot sauce and salt and black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook mixture for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but bring to room temperature before serving.
post edited by cavandre - 2019/09/30 15:01:35
#13
TJ Jackson
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 15:01:05 (permalink)
so it is a bit on the spicy-hot side.....?
 
not just this recipe, but in general?
#14
cavandre
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 15:07:32 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
so it is a bit on the spicy-hot side.....?
 
not just this recipe, but in general? 


Everyone I had in the NYC area had some heat to it; some more than others. This version has a little more heat than the Sabrett version.
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Wintahaba
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/09/30 16:27:52 (permalink)
Good to see you back Ketteract
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billyboy
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 16:32:36 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Tony Bad 2019/10/01 17:32:00
Great post, Ketteract!  I think everyone visiting the city should try these spots at least once.  I'd also suggest that everyone should try a classic NY egg cream and a REAL NYC bagel (no bodega bagels or Au Bon Pain imitators). Those slice prices are on point.  $2.75 is about right got the average slice joint.  The ones with more name recognition tend to charge more ($4-$5 for a slice at DiFara's, $4 for a Spicy Spring Sicilian slice at Prince Street Pizza (which is a bargain, in my book!), $7 for an artichoke slice at Artichoke Basile's (it is BIG slice).  The $1 slice joints are relatively new, within the last 10 years or so, as rudebarb said.  2 Bros. Pizza and 99 Cent Fresh Pizza being the two most well known and widespread places.  Average slices at best, open late so you may run into some of the more colorful denizens of the Big Apple as I have during the post-midnight hours.  I've always thought the cheese on the pizza at 2 Bros. was a bit funky but when I worked the 12midnight to 8am shift in Midtown, 99 Cent Fresh Pizza hit the spot when I took my "lunch" break at 4am.  Neither of these two or any other $1 slice joints make life changing pizza but they definitely are essential to the pizza slice culture of NYC. 
 
As to the hot dogs, I look at this two ways: hot dog carts and the "Papaya"-style hot dog joints.  I haven't eaten food from a hot dog cart in a few years and the last hot dog I've had from a cart may have been a decade ago.  Between low-quality cuts of chicken grilled on a stick, dry & crumbly "soft" pretzels (I'll get my soft pretzels in Philly, thank you very much!), moldy roasted chestnuts at Christmastime, and so-so hot dogs, it's just too much of a gamble for me.  Too many misses and not enough hits have kept me away. 
 
The iconic Papaya King (Upper East Side) and Gray's Papaya (Upper West Side) are the spots I usually go to when I'm craving a cheap, fast hot dog.  They usually have a recession special for $4 or $5: 2 dogs and a drink (papaya, orange or coconut champagne are my picks) and I get one with kraut and one with onion sauce.  Mustard and ketchup are in containers for customers to apply as desired.  I just stick with mustard for both dogs.  I've had good experiences at both spots but from time to time, I've found the buns to bit dry-ish and the dogs to be a bit shriveled.  There are imitators all around the city: Mike's Papaya, 14th Street Papaya and Papaya Dog (which is across the street from my apartment).  I don't crave theses dogs but occasionally I have to scratch the itch when I get a hankering!
 
I love that onion sauce but I've never encountered a spicy version so if anyone knows of a specific place in the 5 boros where I can taste it, I'd love to go and check it out.  I did make a spicy version about 30 years ago with some friends from college with white onions, ketchup, cola, black pepper, brown sugar, mustard, bacon and other ingredients lost to time and it still think about.
 
Halal carts are definitely essential NYC street food.  Due to job and schedule changes, I haven't been to one in some years.  My "go-to" spot was a cart called The Halal Guys and they were at the corner of 53rd Street & 6th Avenue.  They only operated from 7pm to 4am but man, did they do a killer business!  People would line up (even in the rain!) for some chicken (or lamb or beef) and rice with lettuce and pita.  Most of their clientele consisted of  graveyard shift office workers like myself, club kids looking to sober up, taxi drivers and Con Ed workers.  They have two sauces for their platters: a white sauce that I think is yogurt based and a red sauce that should be used judiciously as it is incendiary!  There are lots of halal carts all over the city and The Halal Guys are probably the most well know.  Not the best halal I've ever had but at 3am when I was hungry it got the job done.
post edited by billyboy - 2019/10/01 16:35:23
#17
phlmaestro
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 16:43:04 (permalink)
billyboy
As to the hot dogs, I look at this two ways: hot dog carts and the "Papaya"-style hot dog joints.  I haven't eaten food from a hot dog cart in a few years and the last hot dog I've had from a cart may have been a decade ago.  Between low-quality cuts of chicken grilled on a stick, dry & crumbly "soft" pretzels (I'll get my soft pretzels in Philly, thank you very much!), moldy roasted chestnuts at Christmastime, and so-so hot dogs, it's just too much of a gamble for me.  Too many misses and not enough hits have kept me away. 
 



 
Do most NYC hot dog carts serve Sabbrett's hot dogs?
 
I was surprised to find a pack of Sabbrett's natural casing all-beef dogs at a local market a few months ago and thought they may have been the best hot dogs I've ever tasted.
#18
rudebarb
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 17:03:05 (permalink)
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.. But as BillyBoy alluded to there seem to be more Halal gyro carts than hot dog carts nowadays.
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 17:27:03 (permalink)
rudebarb
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.. But as BillyBoy alluded to there seem to be more Halal gyro carts than hot dog carts nowadays.

True...and other cuisines, too...hotdogs taking a back seat!
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Tony Bad
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 17:31:17 (permalink)
rudebarb
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.



This was what I was going to say! People want Sabretts, so that is what they suggest, but likely many are selling cheaper products.
 
#21
leethebard
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 19:22:19 (permalink)
Tony Bad
rudebarb
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.



This was what I was going to say! People want Sabretts, so that is what they suggest, but likely many are selling cheaper products.
 


I've thought that for years!
#22
billyboy
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/01 23:07:26 (permalink)
leethebard
Tony Bad
rudebarb
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.



This was what I was going to say! People want Sabretts, so that is what they suggest, but likely many are selling cheaper products.
 


I've thought that for years!


Ditto!  Honestly, I'm not sure that there are more halal carts than hot dog carts.  I definitely walk by more halal carts each day so maybe it just seems that way.  Now that I work in the Financial District, I see so many carts at lunchtime Monday to Friday.  Greek, grilled cheese, Korean, Halal, smoothies, chicken tenders, cheesesteaks, Polish, and so many more. 
 
There is a Jamaican cart called Jamrock that I pass on Tuesdays and they always have a huge line so I think some research is needed...
 
Neopolitan Express is a small pizza chain in Manhattan that only makes whole personal sized pizzas and they are outstanding.  They started out as a food truck which they still have.  Meatball pizza, chicken pesto pizza, pizza with spicy soppressata, Mike's hot honey, and fresh jalapeños.
 
One cart I never imagined myself ever trying is a Nathan's cart.  I've been seeing them pop up in Manhattan and Brooklyn more and more as of late.  I've always maintained that getting a Nathan's dog and those crinkle cut fries from a standalone location or from a mall food court could never be as good as the original location at Surf & Stillwell in Coney Island.  Well, I finally broke down in Brooklyn and grabbed an early dinner from a cart, copped a squat on some steps in a tree lined seating area near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and dug in.  It was really good!  It wasn't the same as feeling the breeze from the ocean after a Brooklyn Cyclones game, amidst the throngs of people but I'd do it again.  
#23
Ketteract
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/02 10:30:06 (permalink)
billyboy
I'd also suggest that everyone should try a classic NY egg cream and a REAL NYC bagel (no bodega bagels or Au Bon Pain imitators).

 
Ooh, good calls. I figured there were things that I might be forgetting. I've had excellent bagels in CT, but never a bonafide NY one. And I've never even laid eyes on an egg cream, but I'm aware that it exists (thanks to a Mystery Science Theater episode, actually).

billyboy
$2.75 is about right got the average slice joint. The ones with more name recognition tend to charge more ($4-$5 for a slice at DiFara's, $4 for a Spicy Spring Sicilian slice at Prince Street Pizza (which is a bargain, in my book!), $7 for an artichoke slice at Artichoke Basile's (it is BIG slice).

 
Yeah, I walked into a completely random slice joint, which was the whole idea. Some place called Centro. What a city, where quality like this is available at a moment's notice!

billyboy
As to the hot dogs, I look at this two ways: hot dog carts and the "Papaya"-style hot dog joints.

 
Good to know! I'd seen the "Papaya" places around, and I should have figured that they were their own distinct thing. The hot dog I had was a last-minute thing, from a cart outside GCT, just before I hopped on my train back to New Haven. I know that's a touristy location, but I've no reason to think it was different from what I'd get at any other cart in the city.

billyboy
My "go-to" spot was a cart called The Halal Guys and they were at the corner of 53rd Street & 6th Avenue. They only operated from 7pm to 4am but man, did they do a killer business! People would line up (even in the rain!) for some chicken (or lamb or beef) and rice with lettuce and pita. Most of their clientele consisted of graveyard shift office workers like myself, club kids looking to sober up, taxi drivers and Con Ed workers. They have two sauces for their platters: a white sauce that I think is yogurt based and a red sauce that should be used judiciously as it is incendiary!


I'd heard of Halal Guys, yeah. They opened a location in New Haven some years back - not a cart, but a sit-down restaurant. Good stuff. I'd love to try one of the actual carts, though. The white sauce seems to be a cousin of tzatziki, a very distant cousin, because it contains egg yolk and kinda seems closer to mayo.
 
There are places like this scattered throughout CT as well. One of them, close to me in Hartford, is actually named "NY Chicken & Biscuit" and does amazing chicken-over-rice, with the same types of sauces.
#24
pnwchef
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/02 11:42:40 (permalink)
billyboy
leethebard
Tony Bad
rudebarb
Most of the carts have Sabrett awnings but hard to say what dog they each actually serve.



This was what I was going to say! People want Sabretts, so that is what they suggest, but likely many are selling cheaper products.
 


I've thought that for years!


Ditto!  Honestly, I'm not sure that there are more halal carts than hot dog carts.  I definitely walk by more halal carts each day so maybe it just seems that way.  Now that I work in the Financial District, I see so many carts at lunchtime Monday to Friday.  Greek, grilled cheese, Korean, Halal, smoothies, chicken tenders, cheesesteaks, Polish, and so many more. 
 
There is a Jamaican cart called Jamrock that I pass on Tuesdays and they always have a huge line so I think some research is needed...
 
Neopolitan Express is a small pizza chain in Manhattan that only makes whole personal sized pizzas and they are outstanding.  They started out as a food truck which they still have.  Meatball pizza, chicken pesto pizza, pizza with spicy soppressata, Mike's hot honey, and fresh jalapeños.
 
One cart I never imagined myself ever trying is a Nathan's cart.  I've been seeing them pop up in Manhattan and Brooklyn more and more as of late.  I've always maintained that getting a Nathan's dog and those crinkle cut fries from a standalone location or from a mall food court could never be as good as the original location at Surf & Stillwell in Coney Island.  Well, I finally broke down in Brooklyn and grabbed an early dinner from a cart, copped a squat on some steps in a tree lined seating area near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and dug in.  It was really good!  It wasn't the same as feeling the breeze from the ocean after a Brooklyn Cyclones game, amidst the throngs of people but I'd do it again.  



Billyboy, it's great to see you and hope you are doing well. I remember not feeling like I was in NYC until I had a Knish in my hard. I found a truck near the Hala guys that had it posted on his truck. I yelled at him and he said he had them. He said hold on and I'll heat it, you want mustard and salt and pepper, Yep I said. As I walked with my wife unwrapping the potato Knishe she asked what the heck is that. My answer was "Tradition". It was a great feeling to be walking with that in my hand remembering how simple things once were. 
  I also took the family down to China town. That place hasn't changed and was a great experience. The Dim Sum places were a treat. 
  The only thing that stands out to me are the old time waiters with long aprons. It was always fun going to a restaurant that had them and see the New York personalities that went along during the serve. The last time I saw that was at Peter Lugers. That would give anyone a great NY experience.
 
   I waited until Mollie was 12 before I took her to a Broadway Musical. The first was Wizard, the second was Lion King and the third being last year, Miss Saigon. Last month we took her to Spokane to see Les Miserables. At the age she is at now is the same age I was when I saw my first Broadway Musical at Lincoln Ctr. The musical was Man of La Mancha in the theater in the round. It was something I never forgot. It was my pleasure giving my family that kind of an experience in NYC on Broadway. 
 
 
     Again hope you are doing well....pnwchef
 

   
 
 
 
 
 
 
post edited by pnwchef - 2019/10/03 09:26:32
#25
TJ Jackson
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/02 12:49:13 (permalink)
Kinda surprised a new haven resident would be getting pizza in a visit to NYC :-)
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/02 23:52:00 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
Kinda surprised a new haven resident would be getting pizza in a visit to NYC :-)


He's taking one for the team!
#27
Ketteract
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/03 08:48:50 (permalink)
Ha! I live in Hartford - New Haven is just where I take the train from to get to NYC. The nice thing about living here is that I can have New Haven and New York pizza pretty much whenever I want... and there's some impressive stuff in Hartford, too.  
 

#28
MetroplexJim
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Re: NYC: the cheap essentials 2019/10/03 11:10:50 (permalink)
^^^What beautiful graphic art!^^^
 
 
Which reminds me of NYC's cheapest essential:  abundant things to stop and stare at in wonder.
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