Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Monday, May 11, 2009

New York, NY - Food

I was born in New York, and it's hard to get the city out of your system. In my mind certain foods are associated with this great city. For instance, I identify NY city with the taste of Manhattan Clam Chowder. And the Oyster Bar Restaurant, which is situated in the basement of the elegant Grand Central Station, is the ultimate place to get it. Since 1913, they have maintained a reputation for this authentic soup, and I just had to make a trip to get some.

Manhattan clam chowder is served in a large bowel and costs $5.95. It comes with a roll, oyster crackers, and (oddly enough) a jar of horse radish, a bottle of Tabasco Sauce, sea salt, and a bottle of coarse black pepper as optional condiments. I suppose this means that New Yorker's like their chowder nice and spicy.

I also ordered a steamed fish sandwich ($6.95), which was served on French Bread and garnished with a red sauce made with peppers, garlic, and mayonnaise. It was fresh, spicy, and very filling. I sat at the counter, and watched the urban travelers come and go. They'd tell their life story to the polite but detached waitress, who very efficiently served a dozen customers while providing a sympathetic ear on the side.

I'm not a fan of raw oysters, but they have a raw oyster bar with a wide selection of shelled fish to choose from.

It's a little dark in the restaurant, but there is a cool ambiance to the place. It does inherit the adjoining hustle and bustle of a major train station that millions of people pass through every day. But sometimes those people just have to eat, and this is one of the places they go to get a really good meal.

I stopped at The One and Only Famous Ray's Pizza of Greenwich Village at 465 Avenue of the Americas. Their name needs a bit of explanation...

It use to be known simply as "Ray's Pizza" but when a competitor opened up a chain uptown using the name Ray's Pizza, the original Ray got mad and sued. In the end, the small Pizza shop in the Village had to distinguish itself with the long, but qualified name. It was mentioned on the TV sitcom Seinfeld in a 1998 episode were Kramer calls Jerry for directions after getting lost.

I can testify that the pizza at "The One and Only Famous Ray's Pizza of Greenwich Village" is excellent. A gigantic cheese slice a costs $2.50.

There are also many quiet tree-lined street cafes in the Village, and people seem to enjoy them.

Next to where I stayed at the Leo House on 23rd street is a Greek place called the Chelsea Square Restaurant. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their menu is extensive, and the prices are very reasonable. My Aunt Helen would eat there all of the time. Since it was a former family hangout, I have many fond memories of good times there with my family.

Here I am, waiting
for my breakfast.

Just for the record, I also grabbed a hot dog at an outside street cart near Central Park for a quick lunch. I ordered it with the following options: sauerkraut, onions, and mustard for $2.00 even (no tax). Priceless!