Author Archives: martysteffens

Food in Chinatown — from Xiang Yang

To be honest, I felt a bit nostalgic because it has been a year since last time I was in China with my family and friends. I miss the food; I miss that familiar feeling of being home. And now, I am in New York City and will stay in town for the whole summer, so the problem is temporally solved by the place that is twenty minutes subway away from William Street.

Chinatown in Manhattan is the largest and oldest Chinese enclave in Western countries, and it is located in between Tribeca and Lower East side. Zach and I decided to explore Chinatown after we were back from Central Park. I was so excited when I walked out of the subway. Everything looked so familiar, the style of buildings, the Chinese version billboards, herbal stores, even Chinese bank. I was recharged. When you went to Chinatown, food is barely impossible to be ignored because there were so many restaurants around and the smell of food pervaded the air, it made Zach and I both got very hungry. So we went to a place called QiAO JIA SHAN which is located in Mott St. It was a typical Chinese restaurant because it was very fast paced and crowded. Their food was so delicious.

It was built in 1909, Qiao jia shan is specialized in glutinous rice dumplings, eight-jewel rice, steamed puffed cake and cat’s ear snack. Zach had regular size chicken fried rice that was huge and I thought it was enough to server two people, and I got a beef over rive which was also very good. We shared rice dumplings that were very juicy and hot, Zach could not handle chopsticks very well at very beginning, but he figured it out later, so CLAP YOUR HANDS! Overall, it was very worthwhile because of their food value, size and of course, the price.

Comparing with Chinese restaurant in Columbia, most of restaurant here is cheaper. After filling the tank, we needed something sweet, boba tea was our choice, and the taste was so much better than Lollicup. Anyway, it was a amazing afternoon. I definitely will go there more frequent during the summer.

Xiang Yang


The best street food — and their Twitter accounts

Korilla BBQ

Ever had Korean barbecue tacos? Try

This is the review from the local CBS station: A good pick for vegetarians and meat eaters alike,we love their Korean tacos. For lunch, you can get three tacos (beef, chicken, spicy pork or tofu) for $7. You can’t go wrong with any variety they offer. The pork is spicy all by itself, the tofu is soft and pillowy, the chicken had a good grilled flavor, and the bulgogi beef is nice and marinated. Warning: It can get messy – but it’s so worth it.

Big Red: This is a truck that sells Lobster Rolls! No kidding.  They are in the FiDi on Mondays and Thursdays, at the food truck lot at the World Financial Center, Vesey Street and North End Ave. on Tuesdays and Fridays, they are in Midtown along 6th Ave. Go to the website, to find out exactly where, or followe them on

The review: The lobster pound from Brooklyn has gone mobile. Red Hook Lobster Pound offers two different varieties of lobster roll: Connecticut or Maine. The Connecticut-style roll is served with hot lobster that’s poached in butter. The Maine-style roll is served chilled with a homemade lemon mayonnaise. Either preparation costs $16. For $2 more, you can get chips and a drink as well. We’re hooked on their Lobster BLT: A lightly-toasted, top-sliced bun, with a healthy dose of lobster – mixed with apple chipotle mayo and topped with 2 thick slices of bacon and tomato on the bun.

 Mexicue– and  And of course, now they have Mexican barbecue!

The review: Mexicue owners Thomas Kelly and David Schillace are proving to many Manhattan-ites that Mexican food is best when infused with traditional BBQ flavors. This truck is serving up tacos packed with smoked short ribs and aged white cheddar, pulled pork sliders in a Mexicana rub with pickled red onions, and offers jalapeno poppers stuffed with smoked gouda. It won’t break the bank either -most items range from $3-$4. Our pick: The Burnt Ends Chili Rice Bowl: A bowl filled with paprika lime rice, chili, lettuce, jalapenos, cilantro lime crema, crumbled cojita cheese and topped with crispy tortilla strips.

Wafels and Dinges Chili Con Carne from Wafels & Dinges AND   Everything is good on a waffle and this truck serves breakfast, lunch and dinner waffles.

The review: “It doesn’t matter what time of day you get there. Each one is made to order with choices like the BBQ Pulled Pork Wafel ($5), the famous Liege Wafel ($5), and every meat lovers dream, the de Bacon Syrup Wafel ($6). For those of you who don’t speak Flemish, “Dinges” means “things” or “whatchamecallits.” There are a variety of “things” or toppings to choose from like traditional Spekuloos (similar to a gingerbread cookie spread), nutella, dulce de leche, and whipped cream with strawberries. The first dinge is free, the second is $1, or buy the Unlimited Dinges or WWD (Wafel of Massive Deliciousness) for $2. We like the Chile Con Corne, a savory cornbread wafel with chili (beef or veggie), topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck and

Chinese food comes on a truck, too.  The review: There are many Chinese restaurants in New York and plenty of Korean food trucks – but only 2 Chinese food trucks. Rickshaw Dumpling Truck was a Vendy Award Finalist in 2009, and one of our favorites dishes there is the Thai chicken basil dumplings with peanut sauce: 6 dumplings for $6, or add a side dish of miso soup or a cold noodle salad for $9. On the side, try the cold noodle salad. There’s lots of stuff in there – carrots, bean sprouts, scallions and sesame seeds, among other things. It’s a nice refreshing side dish that also adds some filling to the lunch.   Check out their non-moving restaurant, Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, at 61 W. 23rd St. in Chelsea.

Souvlaki truck If you like Greek food, you’ll like this truck:

Review: The winner of 2010′s Vendy Award for Rookie of the Year, Souvlaki GR gained notoriety for their mouth-watering recreation of “the hamburger of Greece.” Owners Kostas Plagos and Pavlos and Abby Sierros know how to cook the perfect Souvlaki – at the right price ($3.50 for pita, $1.50 for stix). Made with chicken or pork, the pita is stuffed with tomato, red onion, tzatziki sauce and french fries. For $4, you can eat like the Greek with hand-cut fries sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Small menu, big flavor.

And lastly, dessert:

The Treats Truck and

Looking for something sweet?

The review: Sugar is the name of the truck that drives around Manhattan filled with freshly baked cookies, brownies, and other gooey goodies. Choose from twists on classics like the Oatmeal Jammy ($1.25), a traditional oatmeal cookie with a jam center or the Mexican Chocolate Brownie ($3.00), a cinnamon chocolate brownie with chocolate chips. With so many options (think rice crispy treats and iced sugar cookies) you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.

Love T/F? Then you’ll like Tropfest, and it’s FREE

If you’re a True/False Film Festival fan, mark your calendars for June 23 for what’s billed as the world’s largest short film festival. It’s held in Bryant Park on 42nd and 6th Ave., and is hosted this year by Hugh Jackman. There are limited spaces available, so you have to RSVP even though it’s free.  Do it here…Image

Shopping the sample sales

Buying high fashion for a bargain is exciting. New York magazine runs a calendar of SAMPLE sales by high fashion designer clothing, bags and accessories. For example, the Helmut Lang sale ends today in Chelsea.

Here’s the link:

Zach goes to Eisenberg Sandwich

Lunch time!

After a productive half-day at your internship, or perhaps a morning of exploring the wonders of New York, there’s certainly a plethora of choices for the day’s middle meal. How to choose when so much of it looks amazing? I’m pitted with this decision every day, though I usually just go for the PB&J I packed that morning (a good, frugal option). Let me tell you instead, however, about a quaint and charming sandwich restaurant I opted for yesterday.

            Feeling adventurous on a Friday, I skipped the brown bag yesterday and instead strutted into Eisenberg’s Sandwich (174 5th Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd Streets and right across from the iconic Flatiron Building). I’d been walking past the tiny, delicious-smelling café all week on my way to the subway after finishing my internship shifts. I took a seat at the bar that stretches down to the back wall of the narrow restaurant, and was quickly offered a menu and a Coke.

Eisenberg Sandwich in Chelsea

For my entrée, I went with a Bacon Grilled Cheese. The sandwich, accompanied by a large pickle, was one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in our short time in New York. The rest of the menu included a wide array of other quirky plays off of traditional sandwiches, and from my vantage point, looked just as delicious. The staff was very friendly, amusing and worked fast – I was out the door and ready to go back to work after half an hour.

The check wasn’t the cheapest of meals you’ll be able to scrounge throughout town, but clocking in at a total of $8.50 made it an affordable splurge for a tasty lunch and an equally enjoyable atmosphere. If you’re working or traveling through (shopping?) the 5th Avenue area, I certainly recommend giving Eisenberg and the boys a try. You’ll appreciate the character and charm of the place, and leave satisfied after a lunch hour spent right.

–Zach Garcia

Zack Garcia admires the scenery in Battery Park

 It feels like there’s literally an endless list of activities to enjoy on this packed, exciting island of Manhattan. This is probably why tourists are visible around almost every street corner. But one lesson I’ve learned rather quickly in our short time here is that living in Manhattan and simply visiting for a brief time are very different realms.

            When you make a place your home – well, that same location that was full of all kinds of fun better have some vital necessities, too. For me, one of these necessities is a spot I can rely on to unwind and appreciate for its beauty. Basically, I need an outlet, just like everyone else. My preferred variety of outlet (most likely stemming from my mountainous Colorado upbringing) is a beautiful, natural setting. Just about impossible in the Big Apple, right? Well, maybe not…

Above is a quick snapshot I managed to grab from Battery Park just before the sun set over Jersey City the other night. Still settling into the city and my internship after a week, I decided to take a walk up Manhattan’s Westside coast along the Hudson River to calm down a bit. Beginning at Battery Park and following the path that enjoins right along the side of the river, I was able to take solace in Manhattan’s best take at natural bliss outside of Central Park. There were a handful of grass fields (a rare, welcoming site) and beautiful embankments of large trees scattered among urban riverfront property heading north, and the walk was simply perfect for slowing down a bit. There’s so much to learn while living on Manhattan – for a relaxing break from it all, try a stroll or jog along the Hudson starting at Battery Park.

— Zach Garcia

MediaBistro intern party is July 17!

The media concern and website, MediaBistro, is hosting it’s annual FREE intern party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 17. Appetizers are free, and drinks are discounted. It’s at Turtle Bay NYC on Second Ave.  You do have to RSVP, and follow this link to do that!