4 Places with Dope Eats in NYC

Food

I wouldn’t call myself a foodie. I’m just a normal person who likes food and who loves to try new things. I had raw shrimp brains, raw chicken and sea urchin sushi in Japan. I used to be the kid who refused all vegetables, but somehow I wound up growing up to be a person who will eat just about anything at least once.

I’ve eaten some pretty cool things since I’ve gotten to NYC about a month ago, so I thought I’d take a sec to share, in no particular order:

Pretzel Croissant from City BakeryIMG_3362

I did not wander here on my own accord. I interned at Grantland, and it turns out one of the editor’s uncles started this joint. The pretzel croissant was highly recommended to me, so of course I checked it out. One word: heavenly. Cronuts, ramen burgers, [insert other ridiculous food mashup here] — got nothing on this. It’s flaky and salty on the outside, and full of warm, doughy goodness on the inside. Imagine the flakiest, most gorgeous croissant married the softest, perfectly salted pretzel. It’s so soft it barely pulls apart, then it melts in your mouth.

Birthday Cake Cream Cheese from Tompkins Square BagelsIMG_3378

NYC doesn’t know how to make burritos. However, I will say that all of NYC does bagels better than any West Coast place. On Sunday morning (err, I guess afternoon, technically), I was looking for a place to grab breakfast. I had gone to Bob’s Bagels (or Bagel Bob’s? – no clue) the weekend before, and I wanted to try somewhere new. I perused Yelp and saw “birthday cake cream cheese” — sold. This place was poppin’ when I walked in. I knew I had come to the right spot. The bagel sandwich menu is enormous. I stuck with the birthday cake cream cheese on a sesame bagel. It was sweet and everything I expected and wanted. Although, I felt like I was on a sugar high the rest of the day. Anyway, they also have a french toast bagel that I will definitely be going back to try. Stay posted.

Guinness Shake from Mark

Now, let’s get into desserts. Mark doesn’t look spectacular from the outside. I passed it a few times before actually going inside. There’s a sign outside that boasts “best sliders in New York City” — they aren’t kidding. The sliders are dope, the fries are crisp, the atmosphere is chill, the servers are always nice. Tonight I decided to ball out and go for the Guinness Shake. I’m a fan of the dark beer. The shake is exactly what it sounds like. It’s heavy. It was good, but it’s something you should share. I was only able to finish half of it. The sweetness of the ice cream doesn’t mask the prominence of the beer. It’s all there, which is amazing and a lot to digest at the same time.

Mark also has beers on tap, and yes it gets crowded on the weekends.

Mark also has beers on tap, and yes it gets crowded on the weekends.

Cereal Milk from the Momofuku Milk bar

This is the soft serve ice cream flavor you’ve been craving all along — you just don’t know it yet. Corn flake & milk infused ice cream. Pause and think about that, IMG_3375because that is exactly what it tastes like. It’s a thick, icy soft serve, and you can also add “crunch,” which is crunchy corn flakes with some added salt. It gives it that sweet and salty combo that causes a party in your mouth. They also have other amazing looking treats such as crack pies (“toasted oat crust, gooey butter cake meets chess pie”) and compost cookies (“packed with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips”), to name a couple. I tried a piece of the compost cookie that basically has every ingredient you’d ever want in a cookie inside it. It was dope. I’d recommend you save it for later or for your next visit. The soft serve doesn’t look intimidating in size, but it will fill you up and leave you extremely satisfied. And they have cereal milk soft serve in a milkshake form, if you’re into that. Don’t be daunted by the long line. It moves fast, and it is oh so worth it.

While I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, I do love food, so if you have any NYC recommendations, please send them my way. I’ve also had lovely BBQ brisket, delicious $1.50 dumplings, the freshest Artichoke pizza and the best falafel I’ve had since going to Israel, courtesy of friends’ recommendations. I’ll try anything.

One thing I should have added as a fifth dope eat, but sadly forgot to take a photo of, is the peanut butter and bacon burger I devoured this weekend. It was from Whitmans. I also had the blue cheese fries which were divine, and I don’t even like blue cheese. NYC, I love you, even if you don’t have good burritos or In-N-Out.

The Great Debate: In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

Food

I’m an Angeleno who has had In-N-Out all my life and Shake Shack only once. It’s true this review/comparison may not be 100 percent accurate and only like 99 percent biased, but here goes:

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the Madison Square Park Shake Shack was the line — SO LONG. Why. How. In-N-Out can be packed, but the line rarely ever gets too long. The service is quick no matter what time of day it is. At 6 p.m. on a Friday I spent at least half an hour trying to pick up food from Shake Shack.

In-N-Out: 1, Shake Shack: 0

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Shake Shack’s menu is definitely more diverse than In-N-Out’s. I expected that. Their shake flavor selection is pretty bomb. I had the black and white, which I thought was a cool way to rep the East Coast. Additionally, while I was waiting in line there was this really funny staff guy passing out menus and challenging customers to rock, paper, scissors — good laughs to pass the time.
In-N-Out: 1, Shake Shack: 1
The sauce is where it gets interesting. Both have their own special blend. In-N-Out has the thousand island-type stuff, while Shake Shack has a sort of spicy mayo. Both are equally good. Truly. Try ’em before you knock ’em.
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In-N-Out: 2, Shake Shack: 2
Burgers and fries are what we’re here for. I give a one-up to In-N-Out for having onions included. Yep, it’s that simple. Plus, In-N-Out uses more of their sauce, I think. Or maybe Shake Shack skimped.
In-N-Out: 3, Shake Shack: 2
Lastly, the price. You cannot beat In-N-Out’s price. The burger, fries, shake combo is definitely cheaper than that same combo at Shake Shack.
In-N-Out: 4, Shake Shack 2
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 9.54.03 PM

Such a cute little burger.

I could also score the branding. While In-N-Out has a classic, unmistakable logo, the Shake Shack little icon things are super cute. It’s very 21st Century. The fact that Shake Shack isn’t afraid of evolving with chicken sandwiches and limited-time items could earn them two points to tie out this score. But I won’t do that because LA TILL I DIE.
In-N-Out wins, duh.

The Pepperdine perspective: College cooking

Pepperdine

For many undergraduate students, college is their first real whiff of independence. And if it is, successfully executing small tasks such as cooking and cleaning can feel impossible.

At Pepperdine University, freshmen are required to live on-campus and purchase a 1,500-point meal plan. It makes the transition easy because having 1,500 points means the majority of freshmen eat almost every meal in the school cafeteria.

However, after students go through the deer-in-the-headlights first year phase, sophomores, juniors and seniors are given more freedom in selecting meal plan sizes. The question of, “To cook or not to cook?” comes into play.

Throughout this feature, sophomore Conor Burke; juniors Alina Ching and Yi Quin; and seniors Chase Vanderpol, Brandon Scheirman and Patrick Rear share their experiences and opinions surrounding the topic of “College Cooking.”

[Full disclosure: I have worked closely with Scheirman and Rear as fellow staff members of the Pepperdine Graphic. Currently, I am the print managing editor, Rear is the Perspectives section editor and Scheirman is a photographer.]

Do you like to cook?

While cooking at home rather than buying Caf food may be cheaper, healthier and even more enjoyable, students’ busy lives can hinder the development of their inner-chef.

Vanderpol is often busy with pre-med studies, Qin takes an abundance of night classes, Ching competes on the NCAA Division I women’s golf team and Burke is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Rear participates as a member of the Graphic staff and the Pepperdine Debate team, and Scheirman is a photographer and serves on SGA.

While breaking out the pots and pans daily is unrealistic, the six of them said that at one point or another they have cooked meals while attending Pepperdine. That led straight into the next question.

What’s your go-to dish?

Each person brought up a variety of dishes from pizza to pancakes. Additionally, Scheirman and Rear explained that studying abroad in Germany sparked their passion for cooking.

“In Heidelberg we had a kitchen and we all often made giant feasts,” Rear said as Scheirman nodded in agreement.

Now, the two host a monthly brunch in their George Page apartment.

“There’s nothing more exciting and more fun than making a giant dinner or a giant breakfast with ten of your favorite friends,” Scheirman said.

Because Scheirman and Rear express such joy in routinely flexing their culinary skills, I then asked if they would give a mini tour of their apartment kitchen and provide tips to any college students struggling to grasp the cooking concept.

“Welcome to our apartment”: Kitchen tour and cooking tips

Something to note is that these guys didn’t become pro-chefs overnight. Both began cooking from a young age and it carried over to enhance their college experience.

Rear grew up living abroad in Austria as well as in Portland, Ore., and said he always had an interest in food.

“When I came to Pepperdine, I was dismayed I did not have a kitchen,” Rear said. “So it became a goal to get a kitchen.”

Likewise, Scheirman said he also expressed sadness upon the lack of a kitchen his freshman and junior years. He was a freshman RA his third year.

Scheirman’s love for cooking was brought about by the fact that his grandparents “had a couple of restaurants in the Portland, Ore., area.”

Even though Scheirman and Rear have extensive culinary experience stemming from childhood, they encourage everyone to join in on the fun — as Rear stated at the end of the above clip:

“Just do it. Don’t be afraid. It’s a great time to bring friends together and bond and have fun. And you get good food out of it in the end.”