Ayesha's Street Eats Proves That the Best Food in New York City Comes from a Cart


Take a look at the street-food-inspired offerings featured at the Street Eats event during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

If you’ve ever visited New York City and bought a hot pretzel from a cart on the corner, then you’ve experienced an important Big Apple tradition: street dining. Though the city’s traditional dining options are seemingly limitless — from hole-in-the-wall bakeries and grab-and-go delis to fast-casual diners and elegant sit-down dining rooms — it’s the food trucks, stalls, kiosks and carts that help make up the one-of-a-kind culture for which the city is loved.

On night three of the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Chef Michael Mina of Mina Group fame and Ayesha Curry, whose Food Network series, Ayesha’s Homemade, is set to premiere on Oct. 22, came together to honor this Big Apple tradition by hosting Street Eats. This walk-around tasting featured some of the best bites to come from a truck, stall, stand or cart in NYC, plus a few from brick-and-mortar joints that pay homage to classic street food. We joined the crowds of hungry fans on Saturday, bellying up to the tables to experience all of it, and below are our picks for the best savory and sweet street eats that were up for grabs.

With locations around New York City (and across the country), Luke’s Lobster is a mainstay of the city’s lobster roll popularity — yes, there really is such a thing in the Big Apple. We think its fame has something to do with three key elements: fresh lobster, a bun that’s toasted yet soft and an ever-so-slight dusting of spices on top. We were thrilled to see these guys at Street Eats, and we happily waited in line to get our hands on a roll.

If you think this Mini Sabich Sandwich looks like it would be messy to eat, you’re right. Our hands, phones and faces were full of sauce after diving in — but we didn’t mind one bit. The eggplant was hidden at the base of the pita bread, offering a meatlike heft to the sandwich.

Snappy and savory, the hot dogs from Drizzy’s Club Coca-Cola were impressive, but it was the combo of a smoky chili and a creamy kale slaw that left us wanting more.

Both of the sugar-dusted beignets from Booqoo Beignets that we ate — yes, we ate two — were so hot coming straight out of the fryer that we had to force ourselves to wait before taking a bite. But we were happy to wait, because hot beignets are fresh beignets, and fresh beignets are often light but satisfying, just like these were.

What you see here is a Bing, a paper-thin crepe filled with a lightly scrambled egg, seasonings, duck and scallions. The team from Mr Bing – Beijing Street Foods was making these on the spot, first spreading out the crepe batter, then piling on the filling, then folding the crepe into servings.

While traditional macaroni and cheese may be difficult to eat while walking down the sidewalk, bite-size balls of it would work just fine, and that’s exactly what Arancini Bros. dished out. Hidden inside each of these Bucatini Fritti was a pile of gooey, melty cheese.

At Macondo’s station, the tender, juicy meat was just one part of the Smoked Chicken Barbecue Taco. There were also plenty of toppings, which we think made the bite complete. We were especially into the pickled onions.