Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arthurs Tavern

Arthurs Tavern
644 Georges Road
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(732) 828-1117

Who wants 24 ounces of meat.
Madison Square Park - Manhattan, New York

Wow, you are literally a shack. Yet the smell alone made me fall in love instantly. An old college friend of mine suggested we make a visit to the Shake Shack during my trip to NYC. At the time I had no idea what this place was, but now I'm preaching the word like it's my job. Five Guys, you have been replaced.

Shake Shack is a New York newbie, but already a staple made apparent by the constant hundred plus person line. Shake Shack opened its windows just a mere 5 years ago in 2004, but it looks like it is here to stay. Located in serene Madison Square Park, the lines may be long, but standing in a park on a beautiful day ain't so bad especially when everything smells like meat and cheese...mmm, beef flavored foliage. I forgot what I was saying.

Looked like we made it at a decent time - I think it was 1ish on a Saturday during Rosh Hashanah and German Day Off. I suggest if you can visit during a major holiday to do so. The line got noticeably longer as we slowly moved forward. The shack has only 2 service windows and even after you order there's a wait. About halfway through the line we got a menu.

I may have almost died when I saw they had cheese fries, which are my secret lovers. I totally expected squeezey cheese or canned nacho cheese from a pump, but oh no. This was the good stuff. I'll talk more about that later.

As you may or may not be able to see from the menu above prices seem decent. However, once you add up some fries, a burger and a beer you're looking at a $14 meal. But I was on vacation, still unemployed, but on vacation with an excuse to splurge. Also I was in New York, a city which reliable sources (tv shows such as Sex and The City) have told me is uber expensive and you can apparently only live there if you're a whore, a wasp or some hybrid combination of the two. But I digress. Believe it or not, the wait and the price were no match for the awesomeness of the food.

We finally made it. About forty minutes in line and another fifteen waiting for our order to come up we got our food. They give you that little buzzy thing to tell you when it's ready. I made the mistake of holding it up to my ear, thinking that I probably got the broken one and of course it goes off. I throw it while yelling eep and a profanity at the same time, looking like a complete ass. Sorry children, earmuffs. What can I say, I am not New York chic, I am Minnesota bumbley.

Ahhhh, see above. Soak in the glory...Imagine the smells...Feel the grease and the smush of the bun between your fingers...See the glean of the cheese...send BananaWoo money...Oh, sorry, thought I might have had you hypnotized. But seriously, look at that and tell me it's disgusting. You can't! You just can't do it! And if you can do it, well guess what pal, we cannot be friends.

What you see pictured above is a Shack Burger (single), cheese fries and the bottom half of a cup containing ShackMeister Ale. And yes, it's actually called that. And yes, I had to sound like an ass and ask for it by name. The good news is I've done far worse for 16 ounces of beer.

Burger=Beefy goodness. Super fresh beef and fixins, cooked just right with just the right amount of seasoning. The "Shack Sauce" as they call it was also delicious. I expected spoiled mayo, but instead it was light and creamy and a little spicy. And did I mention the cheese fries? It was like God sent me a potato guardian angel and some dude in a park caught it, chopped it up, dunked it into a fryer and smothered it in cheese. Thank you for your sacrifice potato angel. Like I said, it wasn't nacho pump cheese and it wasn't oily dried shredded cheese either. Can't say exactly what it was, but it was amazing. Crinkle fries weren't half bad either, even though I'd probably just drink the cheese straight if given the option. Also, Meister Ale, superb. It might have tasted really good because I was standing in line for an hour for it, but I think under regular circumstances I would still enjoy.

All in all I am now prepared to move to New York for this place. Just kidding...ahem. But in all seriousness, if you find yourself in Manhattan and have a little extra time on your hands I strongly recommend Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. My only advice is don't come starving and make sure you place a hearty order. If you're going to wait in line for an hour might as well gorge when you get the chance. Maybe get a whole bunch and then walk down the line and sell it to the people waiting for an inflated price. Jokes.

-BigAppleWoo (?)

Journal ala Blog?

Mr. B suggested that I start a journal about my travels. I agreed that would be a good idea. Especially now that I am unemployed and without money, Food ala Blog might be without new restaurant reviews for awhile. No funds = no eats for this blogster. I take that you want to hear 20 or so posts on how to fancy up a Cup O' Noodle? Thought not.

I know, I know, you're probably wondering how I'm going to travel without funds. Well...that's a good question. Crap. I guess I'd rather be traveling and starving than full and dormant? Anyways, I just recently returned from a trip to NYC and Jersey. Two major foodie cities in the U.S. of A. I hit up some hot spots and obsessions (Americana Diner, Arthur's, Les Halles) so still food related, but there was so much more that made me fall in love with New York. Once I become rich or find an old rich guy I will be moving there. Reviews and pics to come soon.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Goodbye State Fair!

Labor day, last day of the State Fair and although it's not offically fall yet it feels that way. I guess it's convenient that the cold comes right after the fair ends. Now I can cover up my salty, greasy bloat with a couple cute sweaters. Fried cheese, hot dogs, ice cream and corn on the cob are all things of the least until next year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sustainable Food

As the growing season comes slowly to a close (at least here in Minnesota) I reflect back on my first attempts at gardening. I think that sustainable food is a really important issue that we should all address. I don't think we all need to become vegetarians and I am fully aware of how expensive organic produce is, but consider the future and the past and think about where skills like gardening have brought us and can bring us. It is not such a crazy idea anymore that urban gardening and sustainable food is the wave of the future and maybe the only way we will be able to survive someday.

We live in a culture where quick and easy is the norm. A lot of people don't want to get their hands dirty or wait 3 weeks for a tomato to grow when you can get them at the grocery store. I'm guilty of this just as much as the next person. It is hard to start a garden, especially in the city. Things don't just magically start growing, at least for more people, and most first time gardeners will have their fair share of disappointment. Just a few weeks ago i killed a bunch of morning glory plants, sigh. The good news is somethings did work out and the things that I didn't I learned from my mistakes.

My goal this winter is to keep a considerable amount of plants growing indoors and to start my second garden early next season.

Welcome Fall

Fall means a change of season in the world of food, especially here in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis. I am looking forward to some awesome heart warming seasonal menu items at my favorite restaurants around town. I would highly suggest Broders' Pasta Bar for an excellent fall meal. The digs are cozy and they always have great seasonal menu items.

Personally, I'll be cooking a lot more, staying in and enjoying the indoors. Hope to get some new recipes posted real soon.