• Sample the finer things at New York food carts

    2013-11-12

    Something is always happening in New York City, with food carts providing fueling stations for the bustling population. For a fun form of family travel, take a tour of the revered yet underappreciated trucks and carts that keep New Yorkers on their feet.

    Midtown majesty
    Turnstile Tours is a trek through Manhattan's midtown and financial district, sampling some of the most savory and odd dishes across the boroughs. This tour, recently covered by USA Today, keeps the itinerary secret until after booking so as to avoid taste crashers. However, the kinds of meals one can expect are sure to entice some and raise others' eyebrows.

    Falafel and vegetables and chicken and rice with tamarind sauce make up the more conservative fare in midtown, as travelers can also expect Korean short ribs, kati rolls - a type of Indian street food consisting of a flat bread stuffed with anything from paneer to chillies and onions - spiced Mexican brownies and Belgian waffles.

    The Financial District keeps the flavor international with Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, a cultural fusion of baguettes, meats and vegetables resulting from the French occupation of Indochina in the first half of the 20th century. Korean-Mexican tacos, however, pose a more perplexing fusion logic.

    Those who wish to dine with Turnstile Tours have to shell out $48 per person, but the six tastings usually come with eclectic dinner guests, a robust walk of the city and an in-depth look into the city's foodie history, as guides wax poetic on the rise of street food and famous chefs about town.

    Greenwich pasta and greens
    A slightly pricier tour leads hungry travelers through the historic neighborhood of Greenwich Village. This tour, hosted by Foods of New York Tours, boasts a look into the food and family that lends charm to the old Italian neighborhood. Tour-goers will meet on the famed Bleecker Street, rain or shine, to sample seven different restaurants' specialties.

    Murray's Cheese Shop offers its cow, sheep and goat cheeses as an appetizer, while Palma Ristorante mixes together a healthy spread of cauliflower, currents, caramelized onions and pine nuts. These are just build up, however, to the homemade meatballs, eggplant rollatini and thin crust pizza that make up the entrees. An Italian food tour would not be complete without desert, and Rocco's Pasticceria delivers with fresh cannolis. Anyone looking for simpler pleasures can opt for a warm chocolate chip cookie out of the oven from the Milk and Cookies Bakery.

    Tours cost $52, except on Tuesdays, when they are marked down to $49.

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