Handicapping the Vendies
The Vendy Awards, a.k.a. the Homeless Beards, are upon us again, and the finalists for Street Vendor of the year have just been announced. As at the Beards, a familiar cluster of luminaries dominates the nominations. These are not necessarily the very best carts going, but the ones whose years of service and body of work has earned them a high reputation among sidewalk gastronomes. The nominees, and our handicapping, are below.
And the Nominee for Best Performance by a Falafel …
The street cart boils the restaurant experience down to its most intimate dimensions: One person cooks for another, with no waiters, walls, or even kitchen separating them. For this reason, New York’s best vendors inspire fierce loyalty. Now, “cartisans” can vote for the vendors they love best. But the polls will soon close: The Street Vendor Project’s Vendy Awards are happening October 22 at St. Mark’s Church, and voting ends the day before. Which means we only have 13 days to lobby furiously for our candidates. Without further ado …
Update, 1:15 p.m.: Contrary to what we just said, the Street Vendor Project tells us that the polls close today, at midnight. All the more reason to blindly follow our endorsements!
Russian Tea Room Back From the DeadNot that we remember ever eating there — who does? — but New York has never seemed the same without the Russian Tea Room, which closed in 2002. (A lone dividend: Former RTR chef Muhammed Rahman went on to launch his famous midtown lunch cart, Kwik Meal.) Now, however, Restaurant Girl reports that the Tea Room will reopen in late October or early November. They’re taking on former Biltmore Room chef Gary Robins but losing the chandeliers. The new Russian Tea Room will be a lot like the old one, in spirit anyway, with 40 vodkas (some making their New York debut) and four sommeliers. Now if only they could get Rahman back!
Worldly Lunching Around Rockefeller CenterNobody wants to walk more than three blocks for lunch during the workday. In this series, we’ll comb the city’s micro-micro-neighborhoods in search of affordable spots for dining with co-workers, eating solo, or just getting takeout.
Today: The area around the intersection of 48th Street and Sixth Avenue.