THEY didn’t grow up riding subways or running with people up in Harlem and down in Broadway, but now they do because by choice or circumstance, New York City is now these Dabawenyas’ new address.
Catching up with the “no tramp but no ladies” was like a typical Davao weekend gathering where the chika was in Visayan, Tagalog and gay lingo, laughter-filled and food was at the center of it all.
On a couple of nights out, I tagged along with Jenny, Tetel, Rica and Karen, the meat-loving New York City girls, and snapped back to being a carnivore once more.
When craving for barbecues— brisket, ribs, pork, chicken and sausages— they head to the “meat market”—Hill Country (30 West 26th Street) in Chelsea District. The restaurant pays tribute to the Lone Star State’s food favorites, live music and relaxed, country dining. Food is cooked fresh daily in a custom meat-smoking room within the premises and served in butcher paper by the pound, counter-style. Hot or cold sides and trimmings compliment the meats, the Longhorn Cheddar Marc & Cheese is pretty popular, and desserts like the best-selling Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes can end a meal with a hee-yah!
I stuck to the recommendations and ordered the Lean Brisket (tender but better get the Moist Brisket because it’s, well, moist) and threw in the Jalapeño Cheese Sausage and a couple of sidings—the White Shoepeg Corn Pudding (too sweet for my taste) and the Beer Braised Cowboy Pinto Beans (very chili con carne, an instant favorite).
Over bottomless sodas and loud, live music, we exchanged stories (or tried to) while enjoying the pounds of meat on the table.
Coffee and dessert was at the Doughnut Plant (Hotel Chelsea, 220 W 23rd St.) in the same area, another favorite of the girls and the rest of the NYC doughnut lovers and I don’t blame them for it. The doughnuts this plant manufactures are delicious. It’s made fresh daily using all natural (no preservatives, artificial flavorings and colors), high quality ingredients, organic when available, no trans fat and eggs, and they make their own jam fillings.
From a “inherited” recipe with modern tweaks on technique and a few original ideas, Mark Israel baked the family doughnut to fame in the Big Apple (and Japan, too). From a doughnut making in a tenement housing in 1994 and delivering by bike to cafes, Doughnut Plant today has two outlets (the other is at 379 Grand Street) and delivers to a large number of cafes and restaurants around NYC.
We ordered a few flavors to share: two cake doughnuts- the Blackout (a chocolate cake doughnut, filled with chocolate pudding, dipped in chocolate glaze and sprinkled with chocolate cake crumbs) and the Triple Chocolate Cake; the Peanut Butter and Banana Cream filled; Valphona Chocolate (light, airy yeast-raised doughnut, with a slight chew). All were good.
On another dinner date with Jenny, I requested Shake Shack because I read and heard about it and wanted to try it. She took me to the mother ship in Madison Square Park.
Shake Shack was born from hotdog cart in Madison Square Park that that became a hit for three summers from 2001. In 2004, it won a bid to erect a permanent food kiosk in the park and “the rest is burger history.” It now serving its 100% all-natural Angus beef stacked burgers, hotdogs, fries, frozen custard, shakes and more in branches across NYC, the US and the globe.
I ordered the Shack Stack (Cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce), Cheese Fries and The Concrete Jungle (dense frozen vanilla custard, fudge sauce, bananas and peanut butter sauce).
It was good and I don’t mind breaking the diet a second time for this “fast food.” Maybe it was the New York City weather or the lovely setting but I enjoyed this “fast food.” Or maybe I was in good company.
Thank you ladies! Until the next meat-eating escapade in the Big Apple!
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