Given all the talk lately about the pleasures of endless take-out food options and staying indoors, I’ve been getting cabin fever as of late and need to get the hell out of the house. After trudging through Siberia all day, the only thing I crave is something hot, cheap, and extremely filling. Like a pregnant woman lusting after pickles and ice cream, I too get hunger pangs for certain kinds of food when the weather starts to dip below 40. After reading Ashley’s post on Rai Rai Ken, my favorite noodle shop in the city, it made me think of my go-to spots in New York to seek refuge in comfort food.
Lasagna at Max
Lasagna is one of those foods, you never really feel like making yourself. It’s time consuming, and you better invite 6 people over, because you’ll end up flat on your back if you attempt to eat it all yourself. Max’s is one of those great no frills Italian place’s that makes awesome food for not a lot of money, and you’ll always go home with leftovers. They’ve got a killer backyard and an even better plate of lasagna. Piled high and served up in a creamy Bechamel sauce which is French for “this is why you’re fat”, it”s no surprise people flock to this place. If you’re feeling ambitious, Time Out has the recipe on their site, for those of us not lucky enough to have an old Italian grandmother on hand.
Chicken Pot Pie at Green Table
Tucked away in the bowels of Chelsea Market is Green Table, part catering company, part restaurant, and all local food. Their rotating seasonal menu reflects the best of local farms, and their specials board makes me salivate every time I walk by. But the one thing that’s always on the menu, is their signature pot pie. Stuffed with free-range chicken and organic vegetables, it makes Marie Callender’s version, its bitch. And while it’s a not the cheapest thing on the menu, you can easily split it with other like-minded meat pie lovers. So while most people just stroll through the market, Green Table is a great place to sit down after strolling the Highline.
Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Cafe
The only good thing about riding the Chinatown bus, is the excuse it gives me to gorge myself on my favorite Chinese food of all time, soup dumplings. While Joe’s Shanghai has been monopolizing the soup dumpling market for some time, I’m not keen on waiting 20 minutes outside and sharing small tables with 12 giggling strangers. But if you keep walking down Pell St, make a right on Mott, you’ll find yourself at Shanghai Cafe, home to what I think of as the best soup dumplings in the Manhattan. They’re not much for atmosphere, unless you’re really into neon lighting and a ceiling that resembles a Pink Floyd laser light show, but their dumplings are delicious and cost less than $5. There’s even warning signs inside the restaurant on how to eat the dumplings correctly without burning all your taste buds off.
Azteca Soup at Mesa Coyoacan
I have to say that hands down, Tortilla soup is my favorite kind of soup there is. And lucky for me, I live a block away from a place that makes melt your face awesome tortilla soup. The Azetca Soup at Mesa Coyoacan is both spicy, incredibly filling, and highly addictive. From a former chef at Barrio Chino (another sweet Mexican joint), this soup is based on a traditional recipe but almost impossible to replicate at home. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’d say it’s the food equivalent of sitting in a hot tub for 4 hours, it warms you up, relaxes you, and is a bit of a guilty pleasure. You should come for the soup but stay for the tacos.