Of all the places I have travelled to, New York aka New Yoik, is still one of my favourite destinations. Having been there on three seperate occasions with three different groups of people, I can encouragingly recommend this place to everyone. Other than the typical tourist attractions statue of liberty, times square, central park, etc which I will gladly visit again, it is the food that stays with me the most!
But what actually is American food? Historically, as Europeans gradually colonised the Americas they took with them ingredients and cooking styles from their native lands. These influences continued expanding proportionally with the influx of immigrants from many foreign nations. It is this influx that has developed a rich diversity in food preparation throughout the country.
As these immigrants passed through Ellis Island, many of them settled in New York City. Creating a melting pot of cultures, race and food.
On my second visit to NYC we stayed at the Beekman Tower Hotel, near the United Nations building. Opposite our hotel there was a cafe – I think it was called Union Cafe – which severed food all day from 6am to 11pm (I may be exaggerating). My NY breakfast of choice was french toast with maple syrup fried bacon and eggs, sunny side up 🙂
What can I say? If you don’t want to have to keep stopping for mid-morning snacks delaying your itinerary to your next tourist queue this is the sort of breakfast you are going to want, no, correction, need!
But this food obsession does not just stop at breakfast. From a city that boasts ~23, 500 active restaurants (figure taken from nycgo.com) there is food for all pockets and tastes.
This figure also incorporates food stands selling the quintessential hot dog with relish, burger stands and the other New York City staple, the pretzel.
When you first buy a pretzel you welcome its warmth and bready smell. Holding it in your hands you feel victorious that you have found the answer to keeping warm in New York in Winter – but when you take your first bite you realise you should have asked the guy for relish! It is too dry therefore hard. However, for me, it is the rock salt that covers it that makes it an unpleasant experience. Each bite you take makes you wonder whether your fillings are being hacked out of your teeth! Not content with this the first time (or wondering whether I was sold a dodgy pretzel), I have then bought pretzels on my other two visits to NYC and found the same unpleasant, salty experience.
Actually make a point of adding relish to anything you buy from a food stand/hot dog cart/burger stand/pretzel stand as generally the sweet relish masks the taste of what you are consuming!
NYC does sweet very well. Not only is it a mecca for cupcakes and muffins which are amazing. Stop in any deli and get a coffee (cu-o-ffy) and a slice of cheesecake that lifts you spiritually as well as providing much needed respite from walking the streets of Manhattan. And it was with this uplifting memory of NYC and those indulgent if not calorific breakfasts that I made American Style Pancackes for my Saturday breakfast!
1st: Mix plain flour, milk, melted butter, eggs, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt in an electric foodmixer until everything is mixed well.
2nd: Pour the mixture into a jug as they are easier to pour onto the pan than spooning them out.
3rd: Cook on both sides.
4th: Serve with maple syrup like a waterfall, cascading over its sides!!