The Upper West Side is my favorite part of Manhattan. I think that it’s because it was the first part of the city that I was introduced to almost 20 years ago as a college freshman. Over the years, I have noticed that most of my friends who went to Columbia feel the same way while my friends who came to NYC to attend NYU prefer the Greenwich Village area of the city. I just like the vibe of the area – it’s a mixture of college students, educators and local families. It’s not too “stuffy” or pretentious. I just love it!
Last Friday, I attended the Comfort Classics night of the New Taste of the Upper West Side. It was a great way to celebrate and contribute to the Upper West Side and to eat some of the best “comfort” food ever. I intended to sample a bit of everything, but it was not possible. I was full before I was even halfway through. The space was full, but moving through the various stations went really smoothly. The only station with a super-long line was Luke’s Lobster, so I skipped it. (It was because they were serving lobster sandwiches!) I took a gazillion pictures, so that I could be inspired to make some of the dishes in the future. They had practically all of my favorites…except fried chicken. (Perhaps I’ll get Reggie to show us how he makes it.) Anyway, take a peek at the photos and let me know which dish(es) appeal to you the most.
My top 10 favorites (before I was “stuffed” to capacity) were the following:
1. The pastrami sandwiches from Artie’s Delicatessen. (I have been to that restaurant before. It is very family-friendly. There are a mixture of patrons, including the elderly who dote on the little ones.)
2. Vahlrona had the most amazing s’mores. My kids want to go camping this summer, so I’m keeping their recipe (which you can find here on their site).
3. The “brookie” (half brownie/half cookie) from Alice’s Tea Cup was delicious. They are already being sold in their restaurants and the recipe will be found in the next version of their cookbook.
4. Ditch dogs gave out some mini hot dogs with macaroni and cheese on top…double (tasty!) trouble.
5. Magnolia Bakery is known for their cupcakes, but it was their banana pudding that left me wanting more.
6. The pulled pork sliders at Recipe were wonderful.
7. The grilled pizza with ramps and bacon from Accademia Di Vino was worth waiting for (and it was served with a big smile).
8. Virgil’s Memphis Pork Ribs were so good that I was really disappointed that I was too full to eat the entire rib. (Virgil’s is my favorite midtown Southern food spot anyway. I take my tourist friends there.)
9. 5 Napkin Burger’s slider had me at “caramelized onions”.
10. Big Daddy’s 4-cheese grilled cheese pushed me to the “no mas” point. It was the very last tasting that I could handle. (I must take Sean, who loves grilled cheese sandwiches, to Big Daddy’s.)