If you're coming to New York City for the Pinstripe Bowl, you're probably a huckleberry from points other than, well, New York City. As New York City residents, let Hoya Suxa and Aaron Goldfarb clue you in on what to do, what not to do, and how not to totally piss all of us New Yorkers off as you gallivant about town in your not-from-here slack-jawed way.
We know Syracuse fans; in fact, we are Syracuse fans. Now, we're not Syracuse fans in the sense that we grew up in Central New York, but rather we have been assimilated into the Syracuse universe like a lot of people: We dropped a mortgage in tuition payments and were begrudgingly accepted into Orange fandom for the rest of our existences whether we like it or not. If there's anything we've learned from our travels as Syracuse fans it's this: You people like to eat, and in many cases have developed a palette for only the finest garbage that can be slapped on a cardboard plate. Up in Central New York -- or whatever backwater nuclear waste dumping site that you now call home -- picking dining options isn't a particularly difficult task: There's, like, four places that you can actually swallow food and distinctly delineate what, exactly, you've eaten. Here in New York City things are a little different; every section of town has dozens upon dozens of amazing restaurants (and even more than that will turn your skin green).
Luckily, we're here to help you navigate this maze of stuffing-your-face-until-you-look-like-a-Connecticut-fan. Here's what we recommend you try while knocking around Gotham, and also what your hick upstate uncle may suggest (and what should be summarily ignored):
YOUR HICK UPSTATE UNCLE RECOMMENDS
You think I'm gonna recommend some Guy Ferrari shit I saw on TV, huh? What do I look like, some clown? No, the place to go if you want good, authentic Eye-talian cuisine in New York City, is Carmine's. It ain't some Times Square tourist trap...no way, this baby is a few blocks off Times Square. Serving family-sized portions of pasta to family-sized portions of people, there's no better place in town to eat plates of calamari as big as a jouster's shield while scoping out hotties from Toledo.
HOYA SUXA RECOMMENDS
If you're really hurting for a taste of Central New York, you can head over to Little Town in Manhattan for a garbage plate, but it isn't like Nick Tahoe's. You could also haul your rump up to Harlem for Dinosaur BBQ on the west side, but what's the point of coming to New York City if you're just going to eat exactly as if you were bombing around Syracuse wishing for the typewriter industry to return?
Instead, why not try Crif Dogs in the East Village -- fancy hot dogs for fancy people! -- or, if you're really hurting for some barbecue, you could try Blue Smoke in Midtown. If you're looking for something a little more ethnic, Pok Pok NY -- in either Brooklyn or Manhattan -- is some of the best Thai food in the boroughs and SUSHISAMBA in the West Village will make your face melt. I also like the Corner Bistro in the West Village for a solid burger and some beers if you're looking to gawk at knuckleheads.
Other than that, help yourself to any of our numerous food trucks that may or may not be filled with tetanus.
AARON GOLDFARB RECOMMENDS
DBGB is a real crowd-pleaser I like to both employ for out-of-town guests I respect, and frequently hit up myself. A gorgeous East Village gastropub on the Bowery, where else can you get a Daniel Boulud (he's like...acclaimed) meal for cheaper than the cost of some new Syracuse Zubaz? And though there's plenty of "weird" stuff on the menu (chilled pig's head terrine, highly recommended), there's plenty more delicious "normal" stuff, like the pulled-pork topped Piggie Burger. Likewise, their beverage program has a craft beer, tap (yes, tap) wine, or boozy cocktail to please any one.
The best meal I had in 2012 was at Mission Chinese, the hip San Francisco transplant foodies can't write enough paeans too. I'll write my own: go wait in line for it this very second, before you even continue reading what I am currently writing. Mission Chinese can be tough to get into (expect an hour or two wait), but it's worth it to enjoy this heavily-spiced, aggressively-combined, highly-innovative fare that tastes like nothing you've ever had before.
For a quick, cheap meal that's more delicious than it deserves to be, go for some good ol' fashioned NYC street meat. I ain't talking about those bullshit food trucks that serve $18 lobster rolls you're forced to eat on the sidewalk while a drooling bum ogles you. I mean the no-frills Halal carts on every corner where a disinterested Middle Eastern man quickly slaps together some seasoned chicken or lamb on top of a bed of rice or vegetables. Here's how to order so you don't look like a rube and hold up the line:
"Chickenonrice." [all one word]
Hand over a $5 bill.
Hoya Suxa (@HoyaSuxa) ruins things for everyone at College Crosse. Aaron Goldfarb (@AaronGoldfarb) is the author of How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide and The Cheat Sheet. This is a rare lucid and sober moment for both of them.