Streets of New York

I get three whopping days in New York City this year. Not nearly enough time to do everything I want to do, see everyone I want to see or eat everything I want to eat. From a foodie's perspective, I certainly had to make it count while we were there over Labor Day. While the island of Manhattan is loaded with restaurants, bars, dives, joints and haute cuisineries, there is no better way to know you're in New York than to go to a cart and get some unbelievable street food. There is lots of competition in this market, so these places have to be good to survive. And they're good. The street food in New York is unparalleled in quantity and quality on the east coast and perhaps the world, so I need to take advantage when given the chance.

Take something basic yet beautiful I did for lunch on Saturday. I found a cart with gorgeous Italian sausages on the corner of 33rd and 7th avenue. We're talking nearly foot-long, and with beautiful color, texture and caramelization. The guy takes one, splits it lengthwise down the middle and throws it inside-down on the scorching hot grill and presses it with an equally scorching hot iron. After its fully grilled and smoking, he puts the split sausage on a bun half its size and squirts it generously with spicy mustard. That's it. The sausage is crispy and juicy, spicy and tangy, and just oozing with incredible grilled flavor and juices. Mixed perfectly with the spicy tartness of the mustard, each bite is a fabulous morsel worthy of savoring. Just a pleasure to eat, devour rather.

He also had some divine-looking kabobs that were thick and juicy, shiny and caramelized from whatever marinades they'd been cooked in. I was tempted to go back and get a grilled kabob, as they were so beautiful and the guy's grill was so perfect. As I walked on, I saw he had a longer line forming as it was rolling closer to lunch. I'm not surprised. I think I have a nose for quality. Or maybe you just get quality wherever you go in Manhattan.

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