Delicious and Patriotic Foods to Eat on the Fourth of July

By Hannah Poss

The 4th of July is coming up so that means that it’s almost time to celebrate. This day commemorates our country’s birthday and so to honor this day, we patriots, celebrate all things American. What better way to celebrate than through devouring classic, old-fashioned, all-American food? Even better, salute this special day by exploring some of America’s newest twists to its beloved classics. While you can never say no to a nice, juicy, traditional cheeseburger or a big bowl of ooey gooey mac n cheese, try some of these revamped classics that are sure to spark some fireworks.

An All-American, Over-Flowing Burger from the Counter

Photo Credit: grubstreet.com

At The Counter, in Times Square, you can custom build your own classic American burger. Go down the line, step by step, to create a personalized burger to fit your taste. This chain has an incredible range of patty options, toppings and sauces to choose from so even a habitué of this joint will never grow bored.

The Famous, Fun and Tasty Twist on the Classic: The Ramen Burger

Ramen Burger

While you can get pretty creative and funky making your own burger at The Counter, if you haven’t tried the famous ramen burger from Ramen Co. yet, it’s a must-have, so make your way to one of their New York  locations or catch them at the popular Brooklyn food festival, Smorgasburg. This crowd-pleasing combination of a juicy beef patty, sandwiched by pan-fried “buns” made entirely from ramen noodles, still provides the eater with the feel of a traditional American burger patty, but puts a new, creative, Asian-inspired twist on a classic.

A Traditional (and Indulgent) American Dog

Papaya King

Another common American bite perfect for the 4th of July is a hot dog. Who doesn’t love a standard foot long on a doughy bun with just the right ketchup to mustard ratio? In New York, it is especially easy to come across a hot dog. Don’t get caught, however, investing in an average hot dog from the vendors scattered across Manhattan. Instead, make your way to one of Papaya King’s two locations and get yourself “the Original”.

An Authentic Polish Staple Puts a Twist on a Typical American Dish

Original Polish
Photo Credit: ny.eater.com

Even though a traditional hot dog is always a crowd pleaser, if you’re looking to explore your horizons and broaden your palette, try an authentic Polish kielbasa from the Old Traditional Polish food truck instead. The owners of this food truck are serving up pure Polish kielbasas and pierogis like your grandmother used to make them. So, if you find yourself tired of the well-worn American hot dog, track down the Old Traditional Polish food truck and celebrate July 4th with Poland’s version of the American classic.

Get Down and Dirty with  Katz’s Noteworthy Meaty Sandwiches

Katz's Deli

Another must-have food to celebrate America’s birthday is a legendary Katz’s deli sandwich. This institution has been in place in New York’s historical Lower East Side since 1888 and so their delectable pastrami, brisket and turkey sandwiches (to name just a few) have brought widespread attention to the Manhattan joint. While you may find yourself waiting on a seemingly never-ending line down the block, the wait is beyond worthwhile. There is no better place to get your hands dirty with a stacked pastrami sandwich on old-fashioned rye bread or a noteworthy Reuben sandwich overflowing with sauerkraut than at this famous, Jewish delicatessen.

Get Transported Down South with One of These Southern Inspired Sammies 

Cheeky's

While Katz’s is not a place to skip out on, if you’re seeking out a sandwich shop with a different flavor focus, try Cheeky Sandwiches in New York’s Soho. This place is also a perfect place to celebrate July 4th as it serves up big, hearty sandwiches that Americans love. While Katz’s creates traditional, authentic Jewish deli sandwiches, Cheeky Sandwiches puts a Southern twist on an average deli sandwich. With creations such as vegetable muffalatas and shrimp po-boys, their menu transports you directly to New Orleans. The fried chicken biscuit sandwich is also unmistakably inspired by the South. If you’re in the area, get a much needed dose of Southern hospitality by trying one of Cheeky’s bold sandwiches.

Some of New York’s Finest Cheesy Eats

Photo Credit: thisweekfordinner.com
Photo Credit: foodsmackdown.com

While you’re out and exploring these eateries that whip up American originals, make sure to also try S’MAC  to get your fill of the celebrated and beloved cheesy pasta. Also, make your way down a couple blocks to Bleecker Street Pizza to get the true Tuscan style pizza that has become some of New York’s finest. And it’s not even a question as to whether or not these are celebratory foods fitting for July 4th… because have you really ever met someone who doesn’t like mac n’ cheese and pizza? That’s what we thought!

So when you’re looking for inspiration for the best ways to both celebrate the forthcoming July 4th, while keeping your stomach from growling, check out some of these local, all-American joints. Once you’ve covered the traditional American foods mentioned above, make sure to try the other American-inspired foods that take a fun and delicious twist on the more classic dishes.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat. We help build corporate culture by bringing the best local food to offices for team meals and special events. We believe in investing in your team. That’s why we’re committed to improving employee happiness through food – feed your team today with FoodtoEat! Check out the deliciousness here: FoodtoEat Catering

Discover New Orleans Charm at Cheeky Sandwiches

cheeky sandwiches

By Debra Liu

It’s Fat Tuesday and there’s really nothing else you should be thinking about except for po’boys and beignets. If you’re wondering where to find the real deal in NYC – fully “dressed” po’boys and freshly, fried melt-in-your-mouth beignets – then you’re already on the right path: Cheeky Sandwiches.

Inside Cheeky Sandwiches
Inside Cheeky Sandwiches

The moment I walked into Cheeky, a small sandwich shop hidden in the Lower East Side at the edge of Chinatown, I realized, even before stepping in (a white picket fence lines the front of the restaurant), that I was about to be embraced by the closest piece of New Orleans I’ll ever find in NYC. Immediately, the ambience was warm, with a spunky and friendly charm – white brick walls surround the interior, one painted with a slogan in deep red, “A toast to the ducks that live in the swamp…” and another covered with faces of the owners’ friends. (Mental note: potential date spot.)

Ricardo Rivera (left) & Din Yates
Ricardo Rivera (left) & Din Yates

Ricardo Rivera and Din Yates are the co-owners of Cheeky, which opened about 4 years ago and according to Din, who grew up in New Orleans, he actually did not originally intend for it to be a New Orleans-inspired restaurant. “You’d be surprised because when I was opening, I didn’t think it was going to be a New Orleans restaurant at all. It was supposed to be just sandwiches and that’s all I wanted. I wanted to do sandwiches I liked and I like po’boys,” Din told me as he simultaneously fried oysters for the po’boy I was going to devour shortly. And at that time, according to Din, there wasn’t anyone out there doing real po’boys. “There are places that call sandwiches po’boys but they aren’t really po’boys,” said Din.

Cheeky Beignets
Cheeky Beignets

In addition to shrimp and oyster po’boys, Cheeky offers 5 other sandwiches, including fried chicken on a buttermilk biscuit and a veggie muffalata on an olive roll. The bread for the sandwiches is sourced straight from New Orleans (now that’s authentic!). They also have sides such as bread pudding and of course, beignets (ben-yay’s) and Zapp’s Chips from Louisiana.

The chicken sandwich and the buttermilk biscuits are the most popular items on the menu. Ricardo’s favorite item on the menu is the beef sandwich which is a braised short rib with horseradish sauce and arugula on cherry tomatoes challah bread. Ricardo also really enjoys the veggie muffalata. According to Ricardo, “Nobody used to order the veggie, but then I started telling people how good it was and people started to order it.”

Oyster Po'boy
Oyster Po’boy

What makes Cheeky stand out? Din says, “I think the ambience may be it.” It’s a friendly, down-to-earth place with good food. No pretenses.

As for his favorite foods in general, Din loves his mom’s cooking and also, vanilla ice cream: “Ice cream is my favorite food. It rushes to my body and I can feel it tingling in my skin. I try to eat it daily.”

Ricardo and Din are seriously two of the most fun people to talk to. Little known fact about Ricardo, he used to be a comedian! “I played a character called peanut butter baby and wore a diaper with a peanut butter jar on my neck,” Ricardo told me. When asked why he doesn’t wear this costume at the restaurant, Ricardo replied, “there could possibly be some food safety issues.”

If I lived or worked near Cheeky, I would literally go there every day to hang out with them, and of course to eat. So if you have a chance today, or tomorrow, stop by Cheeky for a bite of New Orleans flavor and say hi to Ricardo and Din. You’ll be glad you did. And if you’re ever craving a Cheeky sandwich at any point, you can order delivery too: Order Now

(As part of FoodtoEat’s Munch Madness, we’ll be giving away beignets catered by Cheeky Sandwiches to one lucky winner – just place any food order on 3/4 on FoodtoEat to be entered to win. Don’t miss out!)

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Cooking Classic New Orleans Dishes with the Palace Café Cookbook

By Debra Liu

Mardi Gras has arrived! What better way to bring the flavor of NoLa into your home than by cooking up traditional New Orleans foods with the help of the Palace Café cookbook. Leslie Brennan, a co-author of the cookbook told me recently, “New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street.” This is so incredibly true. On a recent visit to NoLa, I fell in love with the energy of the city, and even more so with the food.

Palace Cafe Cookbook
Palace Cafe Cookbook

Palace Café is a classic New Orleans restaurant located in the French Quarter, owned and operated by Dickie Brennan and his sister, Lauren Brennan Brower, of the Brennan restaurant family known for Commander’s Palace (opened in 1880). The Palace Café cookbook was published around the 10th year anniversary of the restaurant, which opened its doors in 1991. At that time, “cookbooks were becoming a great vehicle to connect to patrons,” says Leslie. And according to Leslie, the Brennan family is always “delighted to share their recipes with people” so creating the cookbook was a natural next step for the restaurant.

The cookbook is wonderful because it’s truly made for everyone and anyone to use, even those who are not aspiring chefs. And that’s exactly what Leslie aimed to do from the start: “when we did the book, one of the things that I really wanted was it to be a book that I could use…that anyone could use.”

“I also wanted [the book] to start through the backdoor of the restaurant which is where everything begins; where the chefs meet and set the menu for the day, where what is fresh for the day shows up at the door and is what you’re going to have sitting down at the restaurant. My hope was that there would be this very familial element about this whole experience to cooking,” says Leslie.

If you flip through the cookbook, that warm, familial element is evident in every chapter. “There’s a picture in the cookbook of a family meal, that’s what they call it, it’s actually an employee meal but they call it family meal…everybody sits around and eats and I think that the concept of ‘the more, the merrier’ is a huge part of the culture here,” Leslie tells me. The book also portrays the major moments throughout the restaurant’s history; one chapter has a menu for when Bill Clinton dined there.

Crabmeat Cheesecake
Crabmeat Cheesecake | Photo: Palace Cafe

Leslie’s favorite recipe in the cookbook is the Carrot Cake. “It is probably the finest carrot cake you’ll eat in your life. It’s just a simple cake, very moist. It has finely ground pecans and carrots in it with cream cheese frosting and is just magnificent,” she says.

The Crabmeat Cheesecake and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding recipes in the cookbook are two of the many recipes that were on the Palace Café menu when it first opened its doors, and are still on the menu today. And little known fact, the restaurant went through 34 tons of white chocolate during the first 10 years of operation, an amount so large that the man who owned the Switzerland-based white chocolate company they sourced from, personally flew to New Orleans to see what was going on.

According to Leslie, “what to me makes New Orleans cuisine so incredibly different is the phenomenal blend of flavors that come from different cultures. New Orleans is a different place, different from the rest of the South. New Orleans is this little oasis. The food is universally good here. It’s hard to have a bad meal anywhere in this city.”

If you don’t have the chance to go to the little oasis that is New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, simply pick a recipe, any delicious recipe, from the Palace Café Cookbook and you’ll be sure to bring the familial warmth and flavor of New Orleans into your home for Mardi Gras.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

New Orleans Food Trucks Organize to Clarify Regulations

Food Truck Associations have been slowly taking shape in major food truck cities, and it seems that New Orleans will be no different. The New Orleans food truck operators are becoming increasingly fed-up with the status quo, and hope to unite to ease some of the regulations that are prohibiting their businesses. Some of the rules these food trucks hope to rectify concern the number of permits issued annually, the time a truck can stay in a spot, and expanding the allowed hours of operation. The food trucks collectively feel that as the local industry has changed in recent years, the regulations have become outdated.

The food trucks are currently applying for a nonprofit association before they begin clarifying regulations and requesting meetings with city council members. One of the major goals these food trucks hope to accomplish to clear the confusion around many regulations, and emulate the success of food truck organizations in other cities.

Attorney Andrew Legrand believes that bringing the food trucks together will help clearly establish their demands, “We’re at a time when New Orleans has more restaurants than ever before — I think there’s thousands — so why not have food trucks out there kind of contributing to that?” Legrand is assisting the mobile vendors with paperwork.

In Los Angeles, the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association is headed by Matt Geller. The organization started with 29 vendors and now has about 140. Geller says it is soon considering statewide expansion. One of the main reasons Geller cites for starting the organization was the same confusion about the rules. “There was a lot of misinformation. Even the regulators didn’t know what was going on.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com