October is now upon us. That means the giant costume store by Union Square will actually be packed, pumpkin spiced lattes will be in everybody’s hands and the weather is, of course, finally going to cool down. It’s also the time for comfort foods. Here is a list of great comfort foods this fall, and where in New York you can pick them up:
Bigos: Also known as “hunter’s stew”, this stick-to-your-ribs food is an essential staple of Polish cuisine. The recipe depends on who is making it, but it’s often tomato-based, and always includes sauerkraut and pork (typically in the form of pork shoulder, bacon or kielbasa). Even if you aren’t a big cabbage fan, do yourself a favor and give this unique and delicious dish a try.
Where to get it: Karczma (136 Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint)
Ramen: New Yorkers love their ramen. And I’m not just talking the freeze-dried stuff they pick up at the bodega. New York restaurants easily make some of the best and most creative ramen on the East Coast. And with the weather getting colder, New Yorkers now have an excuse to dig into a bowl of this delicious noodle soup.
Where to get it: Hide Chan Ramen (248 E 52nd St, Midtown East)
Lamb mafe: Senegalese food may not be as popular in New York as, say, Chinese or Italian, but that’s not to take away from how delicious it can be. One of the best (and most comforting) dishes in Senegalese cooking is lamb mafe, a creamy peanut-based stew made with lamb and tomatoes. Served hot over rice, it can warm up even the coldest New Yorker.
Where to get it: Joloff Restaurant (1168 Bedford Ave, Bed-Stuy)
Matzoh ball soup: If matzoh ball soup has become a cliché of New York cuisine, that’s only because it’s absolutely delicious. Hailed as “Jewish penicillin”, it’s an essential fall dish for those New Yorkers who get sick when the seasons change. And even if you aren’t sick, matzoh ball soup is still just as tasty.
Where to get it: Mile End Deli (53 Bond St, NoHo; 230 Park Ave, Midtown or 97 Hoyt St, Boerum Hill)
Soup dumplings: No, this isn’t “dumpling soup”, these are dumplings with soup inside them. They’re difficult to make, and even harder to master, but when they’re done well, soup dumplings are easily the best part of any dim sum spread.
Where to get it: Joe’s Shanghai (9 Pell St, Chinatown or 24 W 56th St, Midtown)
Mac and cheese: Whether it comes from an artisanal restaurant in Williamsburg or a box you bought at the supermarket, you can’t go wrong with mac and cheese. It goes great as a side dish, but also stands just as well on its own.
Where to get it: Queens Comfort (40-09 30th Ave, Astoria)
French fries: French fries are everybody’s favorite side dish, whether they’re served with a burger, dipped in milkshakes (I promise you it’s delicious!) or smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Maybe deep fried sticks of potato aren’t that great for you, but that’s not to discredit their value as delicious comfort food.
Where to get it: Pommes Frites (128 Macdougal St, Greenwich Village)
Burritos: Guaranteed to fill you up, nothing beats a good burrito filled with hot beans, rice and guacamole. Since Chipotle took the country by storm several years ago, various burrito joints have sprung up across the US (including New York); although none of them have been able to match the success of the fast food giant, many of them have made burritos that can easily go toe-to-toe with them.
Where to get it: Dos Toros (various locations)
Beef Patties: Since they were first brought to New York City by West Indian immigrants some 50 years ago, Jamaican beef patties can be found everywhere in New York from hole-in-the-walls in Crown Heights to your local bodega. Served piping hot and packed with spices, they’ll be sure to warm you up.
Where to get it: Miss Lily’s (132 W Houston St, Greenwich Village or 109 Ave A, East Village)
Naan: There’s beauty in simplicity. And you can’t get simpler (or tastier) than a simple piece of buttery naan. It’s an essential part of any Indian restaurant experience, whether it’s served as an appetizer or used to dip into your chicken tikka masala.
Where to get it: Masalawala (179 Essex St., Lower East Side)