Taste of Travel: Suggestions on eating your way through the Big Apple
New York’s newly renovated, no-frills Frederick Hotel is in a prime location for exploring the excitement of lower Manhattan and its cultural and culinary delights.
On Friday night, a friend and I walked from the hotel over to Broome Street, where Pera Soho brings Turkish-inspired cuisine to the heart of the trendy Soho neighborhood. Conversation between us bubbled as we drank wine and foraged through a plate of Mediterranean appetizers. All chatter stopped — temporarily — the moment we bit into the restaurant’s hot, crisp phyllo rolls filled with Kasseri (raw sheep milk cheese) and Lor (Bulgarian feta cheese), accompanied by a tangy yogurt-cucumber sauce, also referred to as tzatziki. Wow.
On Saturday, after brunch, mimosas and more chatter, we shopped Soho for a while before heading north toward Times Square. The walk to Midtown is close to four miles. Not for the weak of spirit — or shoe — but enough to burn off those phyllo appetizers. Whistle for a taxi or an Uber if you prefer. Along the way, we made a pilgrimage to the flagship Barneys store on Madison Avenue, a longtime fashion fixture for the well-heeled of New York. Eventually, we landed on 42nd Street, a dizzying and Disney-esque blur of bright billboards and tourists posing for selfies.
We marveled at the long, snaking line at TKTS, a gigantic box office where half-price tickets to Broadway shows go on sale every day. We were lucky enough to have orchestra-seat tickets already in hand for America’s longest-running Broadway musical, “Chicago” at the famed Ambassador Theatre. Yes, I’d seen “Chicago” performed at a regional theater once, and I watched the 2002 movie “Chicago,” but neither prepared me for the thrill of producer Bob Fosse’s exuberant urban vision brought to life on the big stage. The music, the sets and the cast were an enthralling reminder that there is only one Broadway.
We filled the remainder of our weekend guzzling coffee (and chatting), scarfing down slices of thin NYC pizza (and chatting), and visiting the downtown outpost of Zucker’s, where hand-rolled bagels are an art form.
New York City remains a melting pot of people, experiences, sights, smells and tastes worthy of a weekend or more. Follow in my steps, or chart your own course. You can’t lose.
— Charlene Peters is a passionate explorer of indigenous dishes throughout the world. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Crispy Phyllo Rolls with Tzatziki
Makes 10 rolls; serves 5
• 10 frozen filo (phyllo) sheets, defrosted and cut into large triangles
• 16 oz. shredded Kasseri (you may substitute manchego)
• 5 oz. crumbled Lor (you may substitute any low-salt feta)
• 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (discard stems)
• 1 large egg, beaten
For the tzatziki
• 4 oz. plain yogurt (preferably Greek-style)
• 4 oz. cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
• Pinch of dried mint
• ½ oz. minced garlic
• Pinch of salt
• ½ oz. extra virgin olive oil
Mix the cheeses and the dill together in a bowl. Place about 2 oz. (a shot-glass full) of the mixture width-wise and centered onto each triangular pastry sheet. Fold pastry sheet at ends and roll it into a cigar-like shape. It should be about 1 inch around and 3 inches long. Dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg and wash the entire roll from bottom to top.
Pera Soho deep fries their rolls, but home cooks can use an inch of hot vegetable oil in a frying pan. Turn the rolls often to achieve an even crispness. When lightly brown, remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, whisk tzatziki ingredients together. Serve with the phyllo rolls.
— Courtesy Pera Soho