Sunday, February 3, 2008

Street Snacks Vol. 1

It happens all the time, to me at least. You're downtown, starving, haven't eaten a thing all day, and you just need a little bite to provide some sustenance. Just enough to hold you over till your next snack. Today I had a double helping of some instant nourishment. I know you can run into a Mickey D's, BK, taco bell, or any other fast food trap to get the sugar levels up, but I try my hardest not to give into these devil's lairs. It's not that serious, but I try to eat well and rather put healthy products into my system. It might all be the same, but let me think my shit.

So the main aim is to get it quick and be able to eat it while walking or traveling to your next destination. First stop was by Grand Central on 43rd betw. 3rd Ave. and Lexington. Had to meet my brother and he was conveniently parked across the street from 99 Cents Pizza so it was a pretty easy decision. But $2.08 for a slice and Arizona iced tea is pretty unbeatable and all it takes is 30 seconds. The slice is small, maybe 2/3 the size of a regular slice- but even a regular slice has shrunk over the years. It's tasty though, really impressed with the crust and dough. Maybe I was over impressed because it was 3 pm and this was my first meal of the day. Who knows. I'd definitely run in there for a quick bite anytime.

Several hours later, after the slice's healing powers wore off, I was back in the same old situation. Checking out sneakers and fitteds on an empty stomach. I wonder how many shitty purchases I made due to an empty stomach and cloudy mind. You get home open the box and wonder what the fuck compelled you to cop this ugly shit. I was in the east village- 2nd Ave. and 3rd. St. and needed something. Years ago I knew every little spot but you know how the city goes- take some time off and the neighborhood has a makeover. I could have walked to St. Mark's where there are a plethora of spots, favorites being B & H dairy and Cinderella Fallafel, no longer a San Loco fan- but I didn't have the energy to make it up there and I was parked on 4th St. closer to 1st Ave. As I got closer to that corner I saw a sign that said Mexican food open now 1/14/08. I know the space has been there for years. I sublet an apartment on that block years ago for a couple of months and the little hut was churning out grub but never tried it. After checking the menu and seeing empanadas I figured why not. Who am I to say no to an empanada? I know empanadas aren't inherently Mexican, more South American/Central American, but I was cool with that. Hunger prevailed. Ordered a beef and a mushroom for $2.75. I admit, I thought it was really odd to hear mushroom empanada. It was even odder to bite into it and taste shrimp. It happens. Dude's English wasn't great, I was starving, and I probably would have said yes to whatever he said was in there. Turns out the beef empanada was very good. A tasty, savory shell with lightly seasoned chopped meat inside. There could have been more meat, but I enjoyed the crust, so I was cool with it. The shrimp wasn't that great, maybe because I was expecting shrooms, but mainly because he used those tiny chewy shrimp that have that extra fishy flavor. I went back to get more beef, or a chicken or cheese, but the dude ahead of me purchased all of them.

Now I wouldn't consider either of these spots destinations, but if you're in the area, are hungry, and don't have much time, spots like these are a godsend. Keep that mental list handy and you'll be fine. If anybody knows of other quick little bites, share the info. It's always appreciated.

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