Eater’s Digest: DiFara Pizza and Coney Island

Snapshot of NYC Food:

Not to sound like I’m a food-glutton for punishment but I had an “eaters” list for NYC and I wanted to check a few things off.  Below is a snapshot of the places we visited. If you try any of these, please let us know – would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

  • Di Fara pizza (Brooklyn)  I read about this place online and had to try it.  Reviews ranged from amazing to “not worth it” mainly because of the long wait and sparse atmosphere.  Although I’m sure not the norm, our wait was quite short but probably because we arrived a little before noon (that’s what crazy food people like me do!)  In short, the pizza was delicious with a perfect crust and hand-chopped basil added by the owner.  It was hot inside, don’t let me kid you.  But sometimes you just gotta sacrifice!
  • San Gennaro Festival (Little Italy) – lots of food everywhere.  Lots of people everywhere too made it hard to walk!  However, we stopped for a bite at Da Gennaro which was tasty (killer olive oil and garlic dip for the bread) and I purchased a $32 designer purse on the way out from a very nice man.
  • Nathan’s Hot Dogs (Coney Island) – Now talk about a long wait, for a hot dog!  It was good and the mustard was really what did it for me (tangy with a distinct bite.)  You can’t go to Coney Island without Nathan’s after all
  • Coney Island – A wacky bit of nostalgia and fun that shouldn’t be missed.  A few words of caution if traveling with kids:  the ride on the subway from Manhattan is LONG.  
  • Le Pain Quotidian (Manhattan) – this chain is all over NYC (and in LA too!)  I love their Brunette spread (it’s hazelnut minus the chocolate)  Always a good breakfast or lunch choice.

I’m saving the best for last…

While creating my list of “food experiences” I decided to ask someone who’d recently relocated from Manhattan for a few restaurant recommendations.   The list she provided included La Esquina on Kenmare Street.

Now, when we walked up to the place it looked like an everyday taqueria that had taken over a former greasy spoon.  My friend was silent and I was starting to wonder if I’d gone wrong.  When we entered on the cafe side to hear “go around front” to which we then heard (in front) “go downstairs” I was seriously concerned.  A trip down a flight of stairs and then a turn through the kitchen finally revealed a cool, dark place oozing with character.  As for the food…

We couldn’t stop talking about it!  From the empanada de chorizo – loved the pickled onions served alongside – duck tamal with pico de gallo and crema, contramar (raw tuna & smoked chili aoli) and sauteed mayan shrimp all flavors were fresh and the ingredient combinations very refreshing.  I simply cannot stop thinking about the elotes callejeros (grilled corn with mayo and cheese) and am already planning another trip which includes multiple orders of this dish.

Most people who travel return with souvenirs or pictures.  Me?  I bring back memories of trips and meals where raised hands in the air and the oft-repeated phrase “this is amazing” are stamped firmly in my mental scrapbook of life.

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I’m a tech marketer by day and a wannabe cook once my laptop powers down. These days, the line between quitting time and play is pretty thin. It's why I like a little discovery in the kitchen— creativity in prep and ingredients—to take the edge off the mundane and make food, and feasts, fun. Because let’s face it, if it’s not fun, then somewhere, somehow, you’re doing it wrong.

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