A&W + Kentucky Fried Chicken
Location: Nationwide
What it is: Poutine
Canadian expats know it’s tough to find poutine south of Quebec. But after we received a tip from reader Jonathan Hill, we headed to A&W and found out you can score the dish at any A&W + Kentucky Fried Chicken location. 
Their version of poutine consists of A&W fries draped with KFC’s gravy. While it may look gross (and lacks the traditional curd cheese) it’s actually pretty tasty and a welcome diversion from smothering your fries in Heinz. 
Written by: Kat Manalac & Danny Dumas

A&W + Kentucky Fried Chicken

Location: Nationwide

What it is: Poutine

Canadian expats know it’s tough to find poutine south of Quebec. But after we received a tip from reader Jonathan Hill, we headed to A&W and found out you can score the dish at any A&W + Kentucky Fried Chicken location.

Their version of poutine consists of A&W fries draped with KFC’s gravy. While it may look gross (and lacks the traditional curd cheese) it’s actually pretty tasty and a welcome diversion from smothering your fries in Heinz.

Written by: Kat Manalac & Danny Dumas

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Location: 171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

What it is: Kimchi Stew — braised kimchi and shredded pork with rice cakes
 
We wrote to David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar and they wouldn’t divulge their secrets. Here’s what they said: “Noodle Bar does have some secret items, but for the time being we would like to keep them hidden for a reason! Feel free to figure them out for yourself though!
 
Challenge accepted. We did some research, rolled in, and ordered the spicy Kimchi Stew. We were extra excited to get the dish when our server gasped, “How did you hear about this?” after we asked about it. According to Momofuku, this dish once held a spot on the official Noodle Bar menu. It was discontinued a few years ago, but regulars complained enough that they made it available again for kimchi lovers in the know.

Written by: Kat Manalac

Chipotle

Location: Everywhere

What it is: Burritodilla— Frankenquesdailla’s monster 

Chipotle has an internal policy that says it will make virtually any dish a customer asks for as long as the ingredients are on hand. And while there’s no official secret menu at the chain, there are a number of off-the-books items that have gained popularity in recent years. One of which is the Burritodilla. 

A sibling of the monstrous Quesarito, a 1500+ calorie behemoth a writer from Fast Company had the courage to eat, the Burritodilla is a more manageable dish but requires a little finesse to obtain.

If the worker at Chipotle doesn’t know what a Burritodilla is here’s how to order it: Have them make a burrito with about half of whatever ingredients you like and try to stay away from messy stuff like guacamole. Then add cheese. A lot of cheese. (Our guy used a baseball sized amount.) Have the tortilla folded into a half circle and then put on the giant circular press.

After 3 minutes out will come an impossibly cheesy, goopy dish that’s not quite a burrito and not quite a quesadilla. Don’t expect to be hungry for at least 18 hours after consuming. #onthego

Written by: Danny Dumas
Photos by: Jon Snyder

Asia Dog

Location: 66 Kenmare Street New York, NY 10012

Maybe you were starving at the Brooklyn Flea or maybe you drunkenly stumbled into a hip Brooklyn warehouse party they catered. Whatever the location, you no doubt remember your first Asia Dog*. The brainchild of culinary inclined couple Mel and Steve, Asia Dog serves up a hybrid of the classic American street food combined with Asian inspired toppings (think: kimchi, barbequed pork belly, and fish sauce).

We stopped by Asia Dog World HQ in Nolita to sample a secret dish that ditches the dog but adds an Asian spin on another classic American dish: chili fries.

Chili Fries

What it is: Fries smothered in Texas chili (ground pork beef and no beans) then topped with red and white onion marinated in a Sriracha sauce brine.

What we think: In T-minus 120 seconds all that was left of the chili fries was a wobbling empty basket.

Inside info: Much of the menu at Asia dog is the result of Mel, Steve, and their employees getting bored and randomly experimenting with different ingredients.

*Never had an Asia Dog? Stop what you’re doing and try one right now. You can hit up their Manhattan shop or check out their latest antics on the Web, Twitter or Facebook.

Written by: Danny Dumas
Photos by: Jon Snyder

Blue Bottle Coffee

Location: 1 Rockefeller Plaza, Concourse Level, Suite D

The Blue Bottle Coffee located within Rockefeller Center is something of a secret in itself. Tucked away in a lightly trafficked corner of the complex, the shop is typically overlooked by mouth breathing out of towners who prefer a triple whipped fructose latte from Starbucks to a well crafted macchiato. 

That doesn’t mean the spot doesn’t get busy (pro tip: hit it before the midday rush that erupts between 1pm and 5pm) but even in-the-know coffee connoisseurs don’t know every mystery Blue Bottle holds. Luckily store manager, Brett Garrett invited us behind the counter and delivered the download on the top secret Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar

What it is: A double shot of espresso with steamed milk served in a clear Gibraltar glass. The milk’s temperature (about 130 F) is about ten degrees lower than typical Blue Bottle cappuccino or latte. Why? The drink is meant to be consumed in house and pleasing to hold in hand.

What we think: A fantastic mid afternoon pick-me-up. Don’t wait too long to drink this one though — the foamed milk gets a little flat after only a few minutes.

Inside info: The Gibraltar — or Gibby — is the result of a quick thinking barista. A few years ago a barista at the Hayes Valley Blue Bottle was tinkering with milk and coffee levels in a Gibraltar glass. A customer glanced over and asked “what’s that?” Without hesitation the barista replied “That’s the Gibraltar” and served it to him. The drink proved so popular that it became Blue Bottle’s signature off menu item. “Only about five to ten percent of people know about it,” says Garrett.

Written by: Danny Dumas
Photos by: Jon Snyder

 

Dassara

Location: 271 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY

Last summer an anomaly appeared among Carroll Garden’s steadfast array of rustic Italian joints.

With an eclectic hip-hop soundtrack, creative bar menu, and neon signage, Dassara pledged to be anything but your average ramen spot. It’s half a year later and they’ve made good on that promise. Owner Josh Kaplan and his team combine seasonal ingredients with local food culture — just take a look at their now-famous Deli Ramen which throws pastrami and mini matzo balls into the noodly mix.

Dassara is continuously experimenting, and while their ramen is always a good bet, they highly recommend keeping an eye out for their specials and new bites they might be beta testing.

Here’s what we ate tonight that wasn’t on the menu:

Crab Cake Bun

What it is: Crab cake with avocado, arugula, pickled red onion, and ginger scallion mayo on a fluffy asian bun.

What we think: It’s a crabby patty your favorite sponge would flip for.

Inside Info: Order and eat at the bar the place gets crowded fast. Also, Josh has his iPod on shuffle which is great for you if you grew up listening to rap in the 00’s and haven’t heard that Afu-Ra record in a minute.

Bonus Inside Info: There’s a heated Toto toilet seat in the bathroom. If you’ve never had the pleasure of treating your derrière to one of these suckers try it out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Written by: Kat Manalac
Photos by: Jon Snyder

C.S.G.'s first officer of flavor, Jim McGurk. The Veggie Sandwich in production. McGurk puts finishing touches on the Veggie Reuben. The Veggie Sandwich The Veggie Reuben

Court Street Grocers

Location: 485 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Deep in the outer rim territories of Carroll Gardens lies Court Street Grocers, a hybrid general store and deli home to sandwiches so delicious you’d step over your dying nana just to sink your incisors into one. (Sorry, grannie.)

But like any great sandwich spot there’re a few unlisted dishes known only to a few in-the-know regulars. Here we take a look at two off menu sandwiches geared towards the non carnivorous crowd.

The Veggie Reuben
What it is: Starting out as Court Street Grocer’s reuben (complete with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and Orwasher’s wine bread) the sandwich substitutes the house corned short ribs with broccoli that has been roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

What we think: While the on-menu reuben is quite possibly be the best sandwich in all of NYC (seriously try it) the broccoli oriented version is a tangy, buttery departure that stands on its own. And stands tall.   

Inside info: According to partner Eric Finkelstein the idea for the dish came out of a desire to create a vegetarian sandwich that was tasty but didn’t skew super healthy. “There’s no goat cheese or kale on it.” 


The Veggie Sandwich
What it is: A lentil burger on a brioche bun with shredded lettuce, red onion, pickles, American cheese, ketchup, and house made comeback sauce. (Why is it called comeback sauce? Because you’ll keep coming back to get some.)

What we think: Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered a veggie burger, and bitten into a big fat piece of disappointment? This sandwich is the EXACT OPPOSITE of that experience.

Inside info: The burger is the brainchild of Court Street Grocer’s Jim McGurk who, while not a vegetarian, gave up eating meat for a month. “I wanted to create a sandwich that had a certain familiarity to it.”

Written by: Danny Dumas
Photos by: Jon Snyder

Bowery Diner

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Location: 241 Bowery, Manhattan, NY 10002

Going out on a Wednesday night in New York City is a hell of a good time. You’re over halfway through the workweek and you don’t have to deal with the amateurs who tend to operate on Fridays. That’s where we found ourselves last week when we very randomly cruised into the Bowery Diner and uncovered the off-menu S’Mores Shake invented by our server, Christian. 

What’s in it? The shake has a vanilla custard base, toasted marshmallows, Fox’s u-bet Chocolate Syrup, chocolate whipped topping and a cherry (obviously). In lieu of graham crackers, Christian blends in a chocolate chip cookie. 

Inside Info: The authentic fresh from the campfire flavor is achieved by scorching the marshmallows.

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Written by: Kat Manalac & Danny Dumas
Photos by: Jon Snyder