Season's Eatings: Street Cart Chestnuts
The sole reason to put oneself in the path of the rapacious hordes of tourists who stampede through Midtown during the holiday season can be found in a brown paper bag and is not a fifth of gin.
Roasted chestnuts, typically sold at pretzel carts for around $4 a bag, are one of those foods whose allure is tied directly to its presentation and immediate consumption: few things are more comforting than the smell and feel of a paper bag full of hot chestnuts. Tasting of smoke and endowed with an odd, agreeably mealy texture, they're best consumed at or near the point of purchase, preferably on a side street, far (enough) from the madding crowd. Rip open the bag, start prying the cracked shells from the warm flesh underneath, and feel thankful that you aren't being cattle-prodded into H&M.