10 Great Handheld Foods in NYC

Categories: Our 10 Best

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Photo by Rob Menzer for the Village Voice.
This samosa from Lahore Deli in SoHo had chickpeas with salad and chutney.
Although we'd much rather stay put with a comforting pot of stew, for folks forced to brave the elements while those clumsy weather gods accidentally drop their frozen cocaine stash all over our fair city, hot, portable snacks can act like edible hand warmers (ed. note -- do not use on feet). Short of popping into a bathhouse for a schvitz, ingesting a steamy treat while walking these streets is the best defense city denizens can take against Old Man Winter. When a cup of coffee just won't cut it, here are ten great options for staying toasty while eating something toasted, baked or fried.

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Xi'an Famous Foods

Pork or lamb burgers from Xi'an Famous Foods, multiple locations
Jason Wang's Northern Chinese canteens satisfy many a New Yorker's need for quick, filling, and cheap grub, and Xi'an's pork and lamb "burgers" are two of the most popular items at the chain's several locations. At $3 and $3.50 respectively, they also represent some of the best cheap eats this city has to offer. The sweet pork is stewed until tender, its juices soaking into the bun, while the lamb hits tastebuds with a wallop of cumin and jalapeño heat.

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El Paso Taqueria

Tamales Oaxaquenos from El Paso Taqueria, 64 East 97th Street, 212-996-1739
East Harlem's El Paso Taqueria dabbles in slightly upscale versions of popular Mexican staples like supple braised tongue and Baja fish tacos, guajillo chili-spiced lamb chops and roasted duck covered in Pipian sauce. The restaurant's Oaxacan-style tamales radiate with heat and flavor from within their banana leaf swaddles. Covered in rust-colored mole sauce, cracking one open reveals a treasure trove of spiced chicken. If you're in Yorkville or Manhattan Valley, be on the lookout for El Paso's fire-engine-red truck, doling out a selections of tacos, and yes, tamales.

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Buttermilk Bakeshop

Warm cookies from Buttermilk Bakeshop, 339 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-689-4376
Pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse recently opened this Park Slope bakery, which serves a formidable array of quirky breakfast treats (spinach hashbrown quiche, monkey buns), cakes, cupcakes, and other sweets (purple velvet whoopie pie), but it's her oven-warmed cookies -- baked every hour -- that soothe our souls while waiting for spring to arrive. Triple chocolate 'chunkers' get a comprehensive injection of white, milk, and dark chocolate, while the Nutella love bite finds a dark chocolate cookie sprinkled with sea salt and topped with a dollop of the beloved nut spread. There's also a healthy take on oatmeal raisin, with flax and sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

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Arancini Bros

Arancini from Arancini Bros., 940 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-418-6347
The Sicilian rice balls known as arancini receive some atypical twists at this Bushwick shop devoted to the craft of deep-frying carbohydrate orbs. There are Philly cheesesteak balls stuffed with grilled steak and aged provolone; balls with corn, jalapeño peppers, and cheddar; and even a linguine with clam sauce-inspired number strewn through with parsley and peperoncini peppers. Hungry for dessert? The bros have your back with sugar-coated balls hiding strawberry mascarpone or chocolate with peanut butter mousse.

Location Info

El Paso Taqueria

64 E. 97th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Buttermilk Bakeshop

339 7th Ave., ,

Category: Restaurant

Arancini Bros.

940 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Restaurant

Mei Li Wah Bakery

64 Bayard St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

House of Pizza and Calzone

132 Union St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Restaurant

Pommes Frites

123 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


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