Category Archives: Europe

Eddie’s Pizza (Italian)

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Food Truck: Eddie’s Pizza

Sighting: 47th and Park

Country: Italy

When I first saw the Eddie’s Pizza truck, something felt very, very familiar about it. I later realized that it’s because this is the same Eddie’s Pizza in New Hyde Park (I live in Great Neck, so New Hyde Park is just a stone’s throw away).

Eddie’s pizza in New Hyde Park has been around literally since the 1930’s. One of their innovations was the “bar pie”, a 10-inch pizza that was just the right size and lightness to be eaten as bar food, allowing for bar patrons to imbibe of their potent potable of choice without filling themselves up too quickly with food. Eddie’s “bar pie” came years before so-called chain pizza restaurants came up with the concept of “personal pizzas”.

As luck would have it, the very same bar pie they sell in their restaurant also happens to be the perfect portion for lunch. And so Eddie’s started up their own food truck in Manhattan, one that is apparently so successful that their Web site is mostly dedicated to their truck and barely mentions their 85 year-old restaurant.

When I saw Eddie’s parked at 47th and Park, I decided I definitely had to try it. So I ordered the lunch special which consisted of 1 one-topping pizza, tomato soup, and a soda.

Mind you, these aren’t just some guys in a truck microwaving frozen pizza for you. If you look in the back, they have an actual pizza oven right there in the truck, and they’ll make your pizza to order

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The total process of cooking your pizza takes about 10 minutes–normally an eternity for an NYC food truck, but then again when you consider that you get an authentic oven-baked pizza in that time it makes the wait a bit more bearable. You wouldn’t think this was a great business model, but it works; there were plenty of people ordering the 10″ or the 16″ pizza and waiting patiently as they cooked. And the price was right–you could score an entire pizza for less than the cost of a schwarma platter at the truck next door. Mama mia!

As for the pizza itself, it’s definitely unique and a bit of an acquired taste. When they say it’s a thin-crust pizza they’re not kidding–the crust is literally paper-thin, to the point of it feeling more like a pizza served on a baked tortilla or a piece of crispy flatbread.

 

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To be honest, it’s no replacement for a traditional New York slice, but for the occasional lunch it totally works–the 10″ pizza contains about the same portion as two slices in a traditional New York pizzeria, but the thin crust and the judicious application of cheese and toppings actually make it feel light and satisfying. Not to mention that I was the envy of the office when I walked in with my cute miniature pizza box.

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4 of 5 stars.

Price I paid: $10

Line: short

Tricks for fast ordering: You’re here for the pizza, so pick what you’d like–margarita, chicken, arugula, veggie, BBQ chicken, or Eddie’s Favorite.

What to order if you’re a newbie: $10 lunch special–pizza with one topping and a tomato soup.

The menu:

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On Twitter:


On the Web:

Eddie’s Pizza

Uncle Gussy’s (Greek)

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Food Truck: Uncle Gussy’s

Sighting: 51st and Park

Country: Greece

If Uncle Gussy ran the Greek economy, I think Greece would probably be one of the world’s top financial superpowers. Every day I walk by there’s a huge line and I wonder what the fuss is, as you can get Mediterranean food on any street corner.

Unlike other trucks, Gussy’s seems to have a pretty permanent location on 51st and Park, right in front of St. Bart’s.

So I got on line, which was about 15-20 minutes long when I went there at high noon.

line outside uncle gussy's truck

The nice thing about the line is that it gives you lots of time to study the menu. They split it into four easy steps: you pick a meat or veggie; you pick whether you want it to come with rice, on a sandwich or with a salad; you pick a sauce; and you pick optional extras.

I chose the combo platter, which consists of chicken and lamb. Normally I can’t stand to eat lamb, but for some reason when they mash it up into gyro form I love it. You get some yellow rice with the platter. I also got it “with the works”. which meant both tzatziki sauce and hot sauce, grilled onions, and a little salad of your own of lettuce and tomatoes.

Even though the line was long, unlike other food trucks where you need to gather around and wait like you’re in the DMV, once you’re at the front of this one you get your order seconds after you place it. So while I waited around 15 minutes, the end-to-end time when you consider the line and waiting for the food is about comparable.

Here’s what mine looked like:

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Warning. If you attempt to eat more than half of this, you’d better cancel all your meetings for the afternoon because you are going to be sound asleep within 20 minutes. It is filling but oh so good. You get good generous chunks of chicken and gyro meat, perfectly cooked al dente rice, and a nice kick with the sauce. The lettuce and tomato know their place–they are to rally the troops and lead them as they march their way down your GI tract.

I got about 75% through mine and couldn’t go on. Maybe an afternoon snack.

Dollar for dollar, this is probably one of the best deals you’ll get for lunch in Manhattan. Personally, this isn’t the kind of meal I’ll eat every day or even every week, it’s sort of a once-every-few-months thing. But still, it’s nice to know they’re there anytime you need them. They are most certainly one of the tops as far as Mediterranean cuisine in a truck goes.

4.5 of 5 stars.

Price I paid: $7.50

Line: Very long, but instant gratification when you finally reach the end

Tricks for fast ordering: Don’t be intimidated by the choices. Learn the four steps and be able to rattle them off quickly.

What to order if you’re a newbie: Combo Platter with the Works

The menu:

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On Twitter:


On the Web:

Uncle Gussy’s

DiSO’S Italian Sandwich Society (Italian)

Food Truck: DiSO’S Italian Sandwich Society

Sighting: 47th and Park

Country: Italy

One thing that struck me recently is that it’s hard to find a decent Italian deli in midtown Manhattan. Sure, you’ve got plenty of them in the Bronx, some in Brooklyn, and some in Jersey, but elsewhere you’re relegated to awful options like Subway (who should be arrested for fraud when they put the word “Italian” next to anything).

Enter DiSO’s. At first the truck seems pretty generic–a red truck with a menu with such tiny letters that it’s easy to pass it by. But a sign that said this grabbed my attention:

DiSO’s Italian proudly specializes in serving:

  • Imported Italian meats and cheeses
  • Fresh daily made Mozzarella and Ricotta
  • Daily prepared Italian veggies
  • Gourmet Italian spreads and toppings
  • Fresh daily baked brick oven Italian and Rosemary Focaccia breads

This sign also caught my attention.

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As did the very distinctively Italian crew manning the truck, plus the tip jar that read “F— You, Tip Me”. Despite the gruff outer appearance, they couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful as I placed my order. 
IMG_8416I decided to give it a try. The menu can be a bit intimidating, and not because all the sandwiches are named after famous crime figures, but more so because there are about 30 sandwiches to choose from (and multiplied by 4 types of bread, that’s 120 choices to make in the span of a couple seconds!

Once you break down the menu it becomes easier. You can choose sandwiches made from the following meats (the cured meats are all from Italy):

  • Prosciutto De Parma
  • Mortadella
  • Capicola (dry cured pork shoulder)
  • Salami (dry cured sausage)
  • Sopressata (spicy dry cured sausage)
  • Italian Meat Combos (some combination of the above)
  • Chicken (grilled or breaded)

You can choose your bread as well:

  • Rustica Italian (a harder shell)
  • Cibatta (softer)
  • Focaccia
  • Rustica Whole Wheat

Plus any of a number of extras.

Or you can do what I did, panic, and ask the guys at the window what the most popular sandwiches are.

Turns out the chicken is the most popular. Specifically, the Jimmie Naps (chicken, mozzarella, plum tomatoes, arugula, parmigano reggiano, pesto herbed ricotta spread), the Big Pauly (Breaded chicken cutlet parmigano, fresho mozzarella, homemade marinara, parmigano reggiano, and fresh basil), and the Fonz (Chicken cutlet, proscuitto, provolone, hot peppers, arugula, parmigano reggiano, ricotta spread, glazed balsamic dressing).

Since I wasn’t in the mood for chicken, I asked what the most popular cold cut sandwich was, and he said the Joey Shakes (Prosciutto, capicola, salami, provolone, hot cherry peppers, arugula, parmigano reggiano, herbed ricotta spread, glazed balsamic dressing).

Here’s what the sandwich looked like.

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The taste was phenomenal. If your idea of a cold cut sandwich is Subway or a few slices of Oscar Mayer between white bread, this will blow you away. The meat was perfectly cured and perfectly sliced and the flavors blended together beautifully, from the light, sharp flavor of the provolone to the provolone which had that wonderful chewiness and flavor to the slightly sweet tang of the balsamic vinegar. The bread was also freshly baked. It was like being transported to old Italy.

This is one I will easily go back and try again.

5 of 5 stars.

Price I paid: $11.50

Line: moderate

Tricks for fast ordering: First, decide what kind of mood you’re in, cured meat, chicken, or veggie. Use the menu below to decide on a sandwich within each category before you take off.

What to order if you’re a newbie: Jimmie Naps, Big Pauly, or Mickey Scars if you’re in a chicken mood. Joey Shakes if you’re in a cold cut mood.

The menu:

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On Twitter:


On the Web:

http://www.disosnyc.com/

Old Traditional Polish Cuisine (Polish)

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Food Truck: Old Traditional Polish Cuisine

Sighting: 47th and Park

Country: Poland

They’re probably not going to win any awards for Most Original Name, but the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine Truck is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The menu is refreshingly simple. Do you want to eat meat? Do you want to eat pierogis? Do you want to eat vegetarian pierogies? Do you want kielbasa? Or you you want a little of everything?

I asked the man at the truck what the most popular dish was and before I finished my question he said it was the Lite Combo. This has a little bit of each–kielbasa, pierogies, and pickle salad served with bread. So I went for that.

Here’s what I got:

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The pierogies were IMO the star of the show. They were made fresh with a great taste. The exterior was slightly doughy the way I like it. The spinach and cheese mix inside was flavorful without being overpowering. They made a nice balance with the pickled vegetables.

The kielbasa was outstanding as well. It was perfectly cooked with a slight char which made a crispy snap when you hit into it. Again, the flavor was just right and it certainly made a filling meal with the piece of rye bread and mustard.

4.5 of 5 stars.

Price I paid:

Line: Short

Tricks for fast ordering: Go with the Lite Combo, see what you like, and order that the next time.

What to order if you’re a newbie: Lite Combo

The menu:

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On Twitter:


On the Web:

Polish Truck NYC