On this trip to New York, I planned a number of return visits to places that I’ve been to before. I guess the true test of anywhere reasonable in NY is one that can survive the rent prices of New York, and the ever changing trends that Manhattan-ites seems to follow all the time. Fortunately it looks like the Korean Fried Chicken trend is here to stay and we returned to the Bonchon Chicken on John.
Unlike our previous visit to Bonchon, this one really resembled a place I’d imagine Korean Fried Chicken should really be eaten – in a bar, as finger food although this was definitely made much more North American with large TV displays showing sport. We sat at the bar where you can order the food as well.
The great thing about the korean fried chicken is the way that they cook it, and the the pieces are lightly coated in a sauce (sweet soy, or chilli in this case) although I have to admit that the spice level was turned way down to the point where I didn’t break into a sweat this time.
Bonchon is still the bomb, and for some pretty tasty fast food, I’d definitely recommend it.
Name: Bonchon on John
Found literally underneath the railway tracks on the east side of Kreuzberg, Burgermeister is just as well known for the awesomeness of their burgers as it is for being built in a former toilet block.
The queues are inevitable being so popular with locals and visitors, even as I aimed for a very late lunch on a Saturday afternoon (3pm). There’s probably about five or six different type of burgers to order from and you’re warned upon ordering that it can be up to a half hour wait as they’re made fresh to order.
Even standing in the cold, I thought it’d be worth it. I’m sure people have done much worse.
The other thing advised by people to order is the chilli cheese fries – a serving of fries topped with strange melty yellow American style cheese, a generous serving of jalapenos and a chilli sauce. Pretty good.
I ordered the BBQ burger, a beef patty topped with some bacon (the best I’ve had in Berlin so far – smoky, salty, and slightly crisp but not too crisp like in the US) including lettuce, pickle and tomato and BBQ sauce. For a burger stand joint, it’s one of the best ones I think I’ve had.
The experience itself is quite interesting as it literally stands opposite the UBahn stop and you get to watch the business of the area going by. I have no idea if they’re open 24 hours, but they do pretty amazing business as it was constantly busy when I was there and I’m sure would be busier at other times of the day.
Found at: Am Schlesischen Tor
Berlin is in no short supply of vegetarian places. However vegetarian doesn’t always really mean healthy. Like Yellow Sunshine, Vego Foodworld supplies vegetarian alternatives to fast food – everything from pizzas, gyros, even schnitzel. Their biggest main selections however are the burgers, all vegetarian including the “bacon and cheese” burgers.
You can order food with just fries, or salad, or both, the latter making it feel like you’re actually being slightly healthlier.
You’ll pay much more for vegetarian burgers although with a drink, fries and salad expect to pay around €10.
You can find Vego Food World tucked in around a trendy street in hip Prenzlauer Berg. Popular for folks eating in and particularly take away
Name: Vego Food World
Found at: Lychener Straße 63, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
We’ve eaten at Yellow Sunshine a few times since being in Berlin. Even though it’s vegetarian and vegan food, it is still fast food, so I wouldn’t necessarily think of it being very good for you. During the week, the evenings have been fairly busy and I can imagine a much longer stream of people here on weekends, particularly when it hits the drinking hours.
They have a great selection of burgers, and even though it says chicken or some meat reference on the menu, it is all mock meat. And tasty.
Things are ordered at the counter and cooked fresh, including the chips that could probably be a little bit crisp but still go down well with the whole burger.
Expect to pay at around €10 for a burger, fries and a drink of some sort. Not that cheap for fast food, but it’s really great fast food that’s happy. I’ve never tried them but they also do “currywurst”, and a number of other snacks though I suspect many other are simply deep fried.
Name: Yellow Sunshine
Found at: Wienerstrasse 19, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 10999, Germany
It’s not every day that you stumble across a place called Tuck Shop and not stop to have a classic Australian meat pie. We stumbled across this one whilst visiting the Chelsea Markets in a newly developed area that didn’t exist last time we visited. Almost walking straight by it, my sister and I shared a meat pie (with tomato sauce of course!) to test how good it was.
Although pretty close, we though the pastry could have been a little bit lighter. There’s nothing quite like juggling molten meat and gravy with each bite or the anticipation of when, what should be, the delicately light crust bursts like a fresh volcano eruption and trying to avoid searing to any other parts of your body.
A pretty reasonable pie, but it seemed a bit pricey at US$5.
Name: Tuck Shop
Found at: 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th Streets), New York, NY 10011
I’d put Hill Country Chicken on the list because Hill Country also do some of the best BBQ in New York, and this Fried Chicken place had been getting some rave reviews.
Stepping in for a late lunch, most tables had people at them but we also didn’t realise there was a downstairs.
It took quite a while to digest what was on offer. Plenty of things screamed for attention although the people behind the counter had hugely warm faces and asked if we needed any help.
Here we are ordering their chicken, we tried one of each type – one piece, “Mama El’s Fried Chicken” was a skinless piece, dipped in buttermilk, herbs and then lightly batter before the deep fry, the other fried with skin on and dusted with a special seasoning.
The first thing you notice when biting into the thicken was the moistness of the bird. At least the chicken was well cooked. The skin on both pieces was a bit disappointing. Here I was expecting large crunch and although the one with the skin on just qualifies as crisp, wasn’t consistent throughout. The skinless batter seemed more like an artificial coat than anything.
The fries were nice though – you see them cut them in the open behind the counter and they are well known for freshly frying them and the buttermilk biscuit just as well done.
Name: Hill Country Chicken
Found at: 1123 Broadway (Corner of 25th) New York, NY 10010
Burritos in Liverpool? Yup and this time provided by a growing chain apparently popular in the North of England. This can only be a good thing for the state of mexican food in the UK. You can find this burrito making join, Barburitto just outside the cinemas at the top of the Liverpool One complex.
Their store is a little daunting with the start of the queue at the door. This gives little time to actually think about what you’d like before lining up and ordering. Fortunately with much practice at places like Daddy Donkey, I was all set to order. The slow cooked pork is always a good test and despite wanting to have the spiciest salsa on the menu, the draw of the smoky chipotle (medium) drew me to order it.
They had a reasonable deal of a chicken burrito with corn chips and salsa and bottomless soft drinks (fountain-stlye) for £4.50 but I still opted for the pork burrito to see how it went. Served with beans, rice, lettuce for free, it’s another 50p to add mushrooms (the English twist) and another 50p to add peppers. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be extra if you went for a fajita burrito instead. Usual additional cost for the guacamole.
The verdict? A reasonably well made burrito with enough flavour to make it not worth trying again. The size was also very reasonable for a lunch time meal, although it’s not as big as the ones they make at Daddy Donkey. Unfortunately I didn’t really taste the smokiness of the chipotle salsa and I would definitely try to the hottest one next time.
Found at: The Galleria, 14 Paradise Street, Liverpool, L1 8JF, United Kingdom
I remember reading about Epic Burger via the Serious Eats feed and marked it down to visit when I was in Chicago. Fortunately (unfortunately?) it’s located very near to where I’m staying so it makes for an easy visit. Its location very close to Roosevelt University helps provide a steady customer base.
Everything about Epic Burger screams like it’s a chain but there’s only one outlet (so far). I’m guessing that they probably want to be bought out or go into a franchising model. Right now, all I care about is the fact that they serve some very decent grub. Their prices are definitely more than you would pay at your other chains but I can attest that it won’t leave you with that strange vacantly void feeling, a precursor to the inevitable sugar crash that accompanies the perfectly homogenised food of other burger joints. What epic does well, it does really well.
Their game is about freshness and locally sourced foods with a series of rules that help you understand what they focus on. It’s an easy target to read whilst waiting in line since their menu is only visible when you turn the corner and are directly in front of them. Fortunately their menu is pretty simple: One of four burgers/sandwiches with additional toppings. Combine it with fries, a shake or a smoothie or just get the combo which saves you a dollar. All of it is freshly cooked to order, including the hand pressed (almost looking like a smashed) patty that actually tastes like real beef instead of tasteless stodge. The fries were great, served in a brown paper bag, medium cut and crispy and I have to give particular mention to the freshly made peanut butter shake. Mmm… you’d be surprised at how well it works.
I’m glad that Epic Burger delivers on what they say. I’m hoping they manage to stick to their guns if they do decide to franchise but in the meantime, enjoy their only outlet where they serve some great burgers, fries and shakes.
Name: Epic Burger
Found at: 517 South State St. Chicago, IL 60605
The Damage: US$12.25 for a burger combo including burger, fries and a shake (+tax)
Nineteen Ten is a welcome addition to one of the food courts found at Shepherd’s Bush Westfield shopping centre. Unlike many of the other “chain” presents, Nineteen Ten is independently owned and run, serving a mean selection of tacos, burritos and fajitas very much in the californian-mexican trend that has been hitting London. It’s bright yellow sign attracts people to the sign and they even have little menus to take with you if you want to simply think about what you want as you shop.
Ordering is simple. You walk up, wait in the queue, and ask for burrito/taco/fajita with one of the many meats. They were out of the barbacoa meat (anything that’s been cooked for a long time is my sort of ideal dish) so I ended up with a steak fajita. Unlike many of the other burrito joints around town, they actually use a flavoured rice (I think lime), and a little bit more of a variety of choice when it comes to fillings including two types of beans. I didn’t have the guacamole but my sister did and she said it was wonderful.
Serving size wise, it seemed about the same size as what I’d get at Freebird, or Daddy Donkey although at Westfield you end up with a plate as well as foil, so at least you won’t end up dripping it on yourself. Priced at £5.50, my burrito was pretty good value, and was very tasty.
I’d definitely recommend this place if you want something different and you happen to be in this area of town. I can’t say that I’d go out of my way just to get here (although I did for this particular visit) but I would definitely return again.
Name: Nineteen Ten Mexican Kitchen
Location: Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush/White City
The Good: Tasty, fresh and reasonably sized burrito. Guacamole was apparently quite tasty. A wider variety of filings to choose from.
The Not So Good: Asking for extra hot wasn’t particularly hot, and like with pretty much the rest of the food court, you almost have to fight for a place at lunchtime.
Yay. Via Slashfood.
I wonder though if they’re going to be American-sized portions, or adopted for more local trends.