Friday, November 16, 2007

Famous Fat Dave Takes Us On A Veggie Food Tour of NYC

If you've been reading the food blogs for a while, you should be familiar with Famous Fat Dave, The Hungry Cabbie. If you have never heard of Dave, it is my pleasure to introduce you to him. Everyone, meet Dave.

Before becoming a New York City cabbie back in 2001, Dave worked for a variety of food stores: Orwasher’s Bakery, Guss' Pickles, Nathan’s hot dogs, and Murray’s Cheese. But Dave is probably best known for his wonderful food tours of New York, Famous Fat Dave’s Five Borough Eating Tour On The Wheels Of Steel.

Because I've long wished to experience Dave's food tours, I asked him if he could take me (and my young nephew Tyler -- you've seen him before on this blog) on a vegetarian tour, specifically the Chunky but Funky Monkey Package. Dave readily agreed.

Almost two weeks ago, Tyler and I took the train from New Brunswick, NJ, into Penn Station, where we met up with Dave and his wheels of steel.

After only seconds in his car, Dave surprised us with a cheesey appetizer -- Ewephoria sheep's milk gouda from Murray's Cheese Shop. It was mighty tasty. Tyler and I both enjoyed breaking off tiny pieces of the cheese because we knew we were just at the beginning of a foodie odyssey.

Dave explained our options to us as we munched on the Ewephoria.

We decided not to spend an inordinate amount of time in the lower east side's eateries, but to get a taste, our first stop was Kossar's Bialys. If you've never had a bialy before, you would think it was a cousin to a bagel. You'd be correct to a certain extent, except that bagels are boiled before baking and bialys are not.

Dave selected one garlic and one onion bialy for Tyler and me to try. We both enjoyed the chewy, doughy bits, but saved most of the bialys so we could use them to cleanse our palates between tastings. (And, we didn't want to fill up early. We had several hours of grazing ahead of us.)

Next came the pickles.

We drove to the Pickle Guys store and tried a variety of pickles (new, half-sour, three-quarters sour and full sour).

We also tried pickled garlic, which was surprisingly sweet, pickled green beans, and olives.

I liked the almond-stuffed olives the best.

We spent the majority of our time in Brooklyn after the pickle experience. First, we stopped at Waterfalls Cafe for a truly excellent sandwich of fried cauliflower and tahini. We didn't eat in the cafe, however, because Dave had a delightful surprise for us.

We dined by the Hudson River, Tyler and I, sharing the tasty, tangy pita sandwich. Way in the distance, we could see the Statue of Liberty.

Tyler and I agreed that one of the highlights of the dining experience was the pita sandwich. It was like falafel, but ten times better.

Next, we traveled to Ferdinando's in Brooklyn for some squid and octopus salad (for Tyler and Dave) and broccoli rabe (for me, primarily).

Next off to Red Hook...

We sat in this lovely greenhouse of sorts in front of the legendary Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook, eating our seafood salad and greens.

Tyler really liked the seafood salad, but what about the broccoli rabe?

It was a bit bitter.

After we picked up a "swingle" for Tyler, we headed out to a nice little park with a great view of the Statue of Liberty. Yes, that's me on the left.

Here's Tyler's "swingle," the dark chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick.

He LOVED it.

Next, we headed out to Bensonhurst for thick pizza slices (Sicilian style) at L&B Spumoni Gardens. (My apologies for the poor audio in the next clip.)

Soft, yummy slices with the cheese under the sauce. It's very traditional and tasty.

Tyler also tried the spumoni.

It's served in a traditional Italian ice cup, but it looks more like gelato.

Probably my favorite new taste came when we headed back to the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan for a warm sesame bagel spread with fresh whitefish salad at Ess A Bagel.

It was like great tuna salad, but much less fishy and so much more tastier. I'm definitely going to have to visit a Jewish deli soon for another great warm bagel with whitefish salad.

Finally, we ended our trip at Pommes Frites, Belgian-style fries served with a huge variety of flavored mayonnaises. I'm not a big fan of fries with mayo. Too artery-clogging and rich for me, but the fries were pretty good. We tried parmesan peppercorn, horseradish and pesto mayos.

The fries are served at these odd little tables with holes to hold drinks and the fries, which are served in paper cones.

Overall, Dave's food tour was loads of fun, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting New York City. Just remember that our tour was customized for us. He usually takes people to some of the places, but you can ask for exactly what you want, and I'm sure he'll accommodate your needs.

Contact Dave here. You'll be happy you did.


Anonymous said...

How much did your tour cost?

Deb Schiff said...