Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fast Food - Jamaican Me Hungry for More (well almost)

Being back in New York, I feel compelled to stop by all of my old favorite haunts as well as to try some new places.

Given my recent piece for Black Book on food carts in San Francisco, I thought that I needed to visit at least one here in the city. So when I found myself in midtown the other day, I debated between two carts that I'd read about on Midtown Lunch for the past couple of years, both of which have been nominated for some Vendy Awards over the years.

I was closer to the Biryani Cart and thought I'd try one of their Kati rolls since I'm a sucker for a spicy chicken sandwich, but when they were out, I decided against going for one of their chicken in a pita sandwiches, and hiked uptown a few blocks to the Jamaican Dutchy cart, which sells its wares on 51st and 7th.

While the cart made its name for jerk chicken, oxtails, and patties, I wanted to try one of its new sandwiches, served on soft, pillowy Jamaican style coco bread (this bread has no coconut nor cocoa in it, but it's a cute name nonetheless.) I'd read on Midtown Lunch that the vegetarian version of this sandwich was actually more tender and moist than the jerk chicken breast offering, so I took his advice and ordered the vegetarian.

I had to wait a while for my order to come up, as I understand is often the case at Jamaican Dutchy. It was very hot and I'll admit I felt a little cranky, especially as others who had ordered after me received their heaping plates of jerk and rice. But when my five dollar sandwich arrived, I was not disappointed. It was a good-sized baked tofu steak, marinated in a spicy jerk sauce, topped with lettuce and tomato and hot sauce, and served on the aforementioned coco bread. Very simple, but really incredibly satisfying. The tofu was tender and appropriately chewy. The bread nicely soaked up the sauce, and the veggies supplied some good crunch and tang. It was a lovely lunch, indeed. If only I had more time here, I'd go and get another. But even a sandwich this good is not going to send me back to the Times Square area in this heat.

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