Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: New York a la Cart Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks by Siobhan Wallace, Alexandra Penfold


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Divided into neighborhood sections (Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, the Boroughs, etc.) New York a la Cart will spotlight the best of the Big Apple's cart cuisine, profiling 50 vendors and including their most popular recipes. There are terrific "only in New York" stories here: the IBM exec who quit his six-figure job to flip Belgian waffles, the banquet hall chef who followed his dreams from Bangladesh to 46th Street, the second generation souvlaki masters carrying on their family traditions, among many others. With full-color photos that capture the local color as well as the delicious food, New York a la Cart is a celebration of the food-cart scene — but most importantly, offers more than 60 recipes so that readers can make their favorite street food at home.
MY TAKE:
I've never been to New York but I've always wanted to go. That's why I like reading and watching about all things New York.

In New York a la Cart, different carts in New York are profiled by area. You get to learn about each cart's history, their specialties, and even their plans for the future. You'll also get a couple or so recipes patterned after the recipes for each cart's specialty.

I really, really enjoyed this book. Granted, the only truck/cart featured here that rang a bell with me was Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, which I knew about thanks to Anthony Bourdain's The Layover. However, you don't need to be in New York to enjoy this. That's the best thing about this book, I think. New Yorkers and tourists can use this as a guide to what trucks to look out for and which dishes to try. They can also use it as a cookbook for when they're craving their favorite food cart specialty but they can't buy it from the cart at the moment. For those of us who live far away from New York, we can try those specialties from the comfort of our homes.

The recipes are labeled as easy, medium or challenging, and vegetarian or gluten-free. This is very helpful for people like me who aren't too comfortable with their cooking skills or tend to blanch when they see a lot of ingredients for one recipe. The recipes include drinks, desserts and main courses, so this should cover most of your cravings.

The book is almost 300 pages long, but it feels like it only talked about a small amount of carts, even though it covered uptown, midtown, downtown, and the outer boroughs. Perhaps there should be a sequel? :)

Thanks to NetGalley and Running Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of New York a la Cart is on April 2, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It covers as much of New York as possible.
  2. You get to try recipes which are based on the actual recipes of the vendors.
  3. You can use this as both a guide and a cookbook.

THE BAD:

  1. It feels too short, despite being almost 300 pages.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Carts in Chinatown distinguish themselves from their tonier uptown counterparts by offering super cheap snacks like fried fish balls, plates of noodles, and egg rolls priced from $1 and up.
READ IT IF:

  1. You're a foodie.
  2. You live in New York and are on the lookout for food carts/trucks you haven't tried yet.
  3. You want to replicate a favorite dish from one of the featured food carts/trucks.

RATING:
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