These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

As they say, all good things must come to an end. Acting as Joonbug's Food Editor for the last five months has been swell, but unfortunately this will be my last article for the publication. I know what you're thinking, I'm going to write about the epic dinner I just had at Per Se a la Sam Sifton's farewell as the New York Times Restaurant Critic. Well, guess what? You're wrong. I've actually never eaten at Per Se. Writer-waitress-chef's with student loans don't really mess with two-hundred and ninety five dollar tasting menus. Unfortunate, but true. Instead, I'm going to give you my love list- a quick account of all my favorite food things in New York City. I've only just begun to scratch the surface here in my new home and this a very short list of chosen ones, but these are a few of my absolutely favorite restaurants and holes in the wall that make me never want to leave the fat and juicy Big Apple.

Do or Dine, Then Smile

Do or Dine, 1108 Bedford Avenue (Lexington Avenue), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, (718) 684-2290.

Pumpkin Patch

There's been a shift, it's palpable. The air tastes cleaner, the leaves look prettier. A fall shadow has been cast on the city and the streets smell better. Farmer's markets sell hot apple cider and sweet potatoes. Restaurants debut all kinds of seasonal treats. If fall were an icon, it would be orange and round and shaped like a pumpkin. Sure you can make and enjoy pumpkin pie year round, but it tastes better in October and November when your heater is sputtering and your co-workers are asking for vacation time. Pumpkins in fall make sense. And they are so all-purpose, the flesh can be turned into pie, the seeds roasted, and the shell carved into Jim Morrison's face. The taste is earthy and comforting and goes great with bourbon and red wine. Don't feel like crafting your own pumpkin pie, bread, ravioli? No worries, here is a list with some of the best pumpkin treats this city has to offer:

Soup and the City

Atlas Cafe: A popular vegan and vegetarian hangout in the East Village, Atlas has more going for it than just dairy-free desserts. The lentil soup alone at this hole in the wall merits a visit. Delicious and nutritious, even meat eaters will enjoy a hot bowl of this near perfect vegetarian delight. The texture and flavor is spot-on and neither mushy nor mealy. Order dessert once you're finished, but steer clear of delivery.

Soup is the universal food, it spans cultures, heals the sick, nourishes the weak, and appeals to all, young and old. Soup is an inexpensive way to warm yourself up and yank yourself out of any funk. Soup is comforting and casual and relatively healthy. Soup-er duper.

The Controversial Pumpkin Spice Latte

Greetings coffee fiends! It's (more or less) officially Fall on this planet and you know what that means- crisp air, pretty colored leaves, Halloween party stores, and...the Pumpkin Spice Latte returns at Starbucks. Debuting at the beginning of September, this warm and fuzzy drink is getting a lot of attention. From Facebook status updates to subway chatter to amateur food blogs, this drink seems to be the best thing since sliced bread. And after a recent visit to Starbucks, the famous multi-bazillion dollar coffeeshop chain, I was inspired to try the drink and then conduct a quick poll in the office to see how my cohorts feel about this pumpkin-spiked espresso and milk concoction.

Peru and Japan Meet in Midtown for a Delicious, Month Long Affair

For more information, including the full Lima-Tokyo tasting menu, reservations, and hours, click here.

Rooty Tooty Fresh n' Franchise

The allure of New York City is maintained by the glamorous people, fashionable couture, diversity, and, most importantly, innovative food. The restaurant scene in Manhattan (and the other boroughs) is defined by cutting edge chefs and creative menus full of seasonal ingredients and local products. People flock to this city to experience authentic hand-pulled noodles in Chinatown and house-carved pastrami at Katz's. The pizza and bagels in New York are some of the best in the world. Gabrielle Hamilton, Bobby Flay, Lidia Bastianich, and so many others have fabulous restaurants in the city. The superb dining options are endless. And yet....IHOP just opened on 14th Street to a crowd of eager people.

The Bounties of Fall on a Plate

Fall truly is a delicious season. Now that I live in New York City, I actually feel it in my bones when summer turns to fall. Trees become more apparent with their rainbow of colorful leaves, chapped lips scream for moisture, and those nuts roasting on every corner smell even better. But the most prevalent tell-tale sign of fall? Apples. Pumpkins.
Spaghetti squash.

Because I speak fluent food, my mind races at the possibilities when it comes to the produce available in these coming months. As I push my sandals and tanks to the back of my closet, I ponder squash soup and apple cider, and pie. (I also think about indulging in a cashmere sweater, but this thought usually dissipates quickly.) The farmers markets are bursting recently with all kinds of wonderful tools to concoct comforting fall dishes. Here is a break down of my fall favorites and a few ideas on how to take advantage of these seasonal gems:

Bangin' BBQ in the Big City

You don't come to the Big Apple to eat barbecue. The food of choice for tourists flocking from all over the world is generally a massive frozen hot chocolate a la Serendipity or a corned beef mountain that somewhat resembles a sandwich at Katz's or Carnegie Delicatessen. Street vendor hot dogs and giant pretzels are devoured and captured in millions of snapshots and live forever in photo albums and precious memories everywhere. People aren't coming to New York City to find the best dry-rub ribs they've ever had. That's crazy. Pulled pork has long been associated with the Carolinas or Texas, not Brooklyn. But it turns out there is more than just one flavor of sausage in Chelsea. And the brisket ain't bad either. Believe it or not- barbecue exists in New York City. And some of it is damn tasty. Here's a round-up of the best places to lick sauce off your chin: