|A classic New York slice, October 20, 2002, by Pete Harris. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Gastronomic Adventures in Manhattan
In a city as large as Manhattan with so much ethnic diversity, one would expect that diversity to be demonstrated in the foods available. You name the type of food and you will undoubtedly find it or a reasonable semblance of what you are trying to find. The number of restaurants in Manhattan is estimated to be about 30,000 give or take a few thousand. The number probably changes from week to week and this doesn't even take into account the food trucks and street vendors roaming around the town.
Clearly no one could likely eat in all of Manhattan's food establishments in a single lifetime. And we haven't even taken into account the grocers, bakeries, and other specialty food stores. The great abundance of food is a necessity when you consider not only the people who live in Manhattan, but the millions who visit and work in the city every day. People have got to eat and the demand accounts for the vast supply of food available throughout the city.
C.W. Martin from Tilting at Windmills said in response to my question What Does Manhattan Say to You?:
"Well, right now I'm hungry so a nice gravy-drowned Turkey Manhattan sounds good. If you'd have done this on the weekend, I might have reminisced about how long it's been since I've drank a manhattan. But if you want it limited to the borough, I might be at a loss, having never been there. First thing would be Lisa Douglas looking off her balcony singing, "Darling I love you, forgive me Park Avenue." After that I get a chunk of the country song Manhattan, Kansas. After that, I get a visual on Spider Man. Bet that was a lot of help"Whoa, Chris! You've mentioned a lot of things coming up in April in my Manhattan series. But you had me at "Turkey Manhattan". I had to look that one up to find that it is essentially what I'd call an open faced turkey sandwich with gravy. A while back I was trying to find a restaurant around me that served something like that. They seemed ubiquitous back east, but not so popular in California from what I found. Now I've got a new Manhattan food namesake to add to my list.
If someone asks me about food in Manhattan, the first thing that comes into my mind is pizza. There's something about New York pizza in my mind and I know many agree. I've heard it said that it's something in the water. I don't know if that's so, but I have been disappointed by pizzas elsewhere that label themselves as "New York Style".
The last time I was in Manhattan I ordered a slice of pizza. It was good I'm sure but maybe the experience was diminished some because it was so hot that day. It was like we'd been walking in a pizza oven all afternoon. My wife got a bit sick and that scared me, but then she got something to drink and felt much better. She didn't feel like eating pizza, but I had to have a slice before we got on the train back to New Jersey.
Next time I'm in Manhattan I'll be sure to get more pizza. Hopefully it will be spring or fall when it isn't so hot. Maybe even winter. Actually anytime will do. We'll pace ourselves and go when we're real hungry. Get a whole large pie. Pepperonis. I'll take some anchovies on a couple slices. I can just see and smell that big ol' pizza pie right now.
Excuse me while I go get a pizza.
What is your favorite style of pizza? What are your favorite pizza toppings? What type of food is your community most noted for?
My first Battle of the Bands post for April pitted versions of the Leonard Cohen song "First We Take Manhattan". I was surprised to find so many great covers of this song on YouTube, but I settled on the two that I liked the best. Then I just had to decide which I liked better than the other.
This was a very tough choice for me. I like the haunting minor key piano work throughout the Joe Cocker version and the backing vocals are a nice touch. This is one of my favorite Cocker performances that I've heard so far. I'm not a big fan so I don't know all of his work, but this version of "First We Take Manhattan" is pretty powerful in my opinion.
Jennifer Warnes' version was the first I ever heard of this song and for years was the only version I'd ever known. It's a recording that I've enjoyed from the first time I heard it. After I heard Cocker's version I figured this would be a difficult decision. The vocals on the Warnes version are more pleasing to my ears. Cocker offers a more convincing vocal, but the smooth tones of Warnes provide an irony to the subject matter of the song. The smoking guitar work of Stevie Ray Vaughn absolutely cooks throughout the song. The production value of the recording is excellent.
In the end I had to stick with the version that I had long known and liked. Jennifer Warnes' version gets my vote in this Battle. But I really do like Cocker's version so Jennifer wins my vote by a very slight edge.
The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Joe Cocker. He took an early lead and maintained it throughout the voting. Thanks to all of you who voted in this round.
Final Vote Tally:
Jennifer Warnes 15 votes
Joe Cocker 29 votes
Next Battle of the Bands contest will be on Friday April 15th with another "Manhattan" related song. Plenty more Manhattan posts between now and then so please continue to drop by to see what I've cooked up based on that prompt.