Bacon Appetizer Slapdown: St. Anselm Vs. Fatty 'Cue

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On the left, weighing in at 2.5 ounces, medieval prelate St. Anselm! On the right, tipping the scales at two ounces, barnyard bully Fatty 'Cue!


I've been seeing lots of bacon apps on menus lately. It probably goes back 100 years -- Peter Luger's bill of fare was the first time I remember seeing bacon all by itself as a dish.


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Battle of the Baguettes: Amy's Bread vs. Blue Ribbon Bakery

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Lauren Shockey
Fight night!!!

When coming up with this week's Battle of the Dishes, we thought, let's take this battle beyond the same old taste test and make it a bona fide battle. As in, let's FIGHT. It was Breaking Bread Week here at Fork in the Road, so obviously what better tool for jousting than a baguette, no? Just like a sword, only blunt and filled with carbs! We happened to be near Bleecker Street, home to many bakeries, so we stepped into Amy's Bread for a loaf, then made our way to the nearby Blue Ribbon Bakery's market on Bedford Street and scooped up one of theirs. Both are known as tasty specimens, but which would you be rather carrying if a mugger approached you and you had to defend yourself?


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Battle of the Currywursts: Wechsler's vs. Currywurst Bros.

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Lauren Shockey
Currywurst Bros. on the left, Wechler's on the right

Yes, franks and ketchup have been bedfellows since the dawn of hot-dog invention, but the Germanic staple of currywurst really takes things to the next level. For those who haven't sampled the dish, sausages or hot dogs are chopped into bite-sized pieces, then doused in ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder. While ubiquitous in Berlin, the dish hasn't really caught on here. Maybe New Yorkers can't get beyond the true matchmaking that couples hot dogs and tropical fruity drinks (thanks, Gray's Papaya). There aren't many places to sample the dish, but you can find it at both Currywurst Bros. in Greenwich Village and at Wechsler's in the East Village. Which only meant one thing: We'd have to battle for the best of the wurst.


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Battle of the Elotes: La Esquina v. Café Habana

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Rebecca Marx

This is one of our favorite times of the year, simply because corn is in season. And while we often do nothing more to it than cut it off the cob and eat it raw with a little bit of salt, we'll never pass up the opportunity to eat elote, or Mexican grilled corn on the cob. It's probably the best thing to happen to corn since melted butter, and we're fortunate enough to work within a short distance of two restaurants that know how to do it justice. So earlier this week we went to La Esquina and Café Habana to see how they fared against one another.


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Battle of the Iced Coffees: Think Coffee vs. MUD Truck

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Lauren Shockey
Think Coffee on the left, Mud Truck on the right

On a day like today, when the temperatures swell to unbearable levels, one mustn't spend much time outside. And if one must venture out into the steamy streets, it better be for an iced beverage. Spending more than five minutes outside will lead to a flushed face and grumpy disposition. Thus, for this week's Battle of the Dishes, we ventured forth for iced coffee. Faced with sweltering heat, we scouted the most decent options within a two-block radius of the Village Voice office. Any further than that would have been too much to take. So without further ado, behold the Battle of the Iced Coffee: Think Coffee vs. Mud Truck.


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Battle of the Raw Blueberry Smoothies: The Juice Press v. Organic Avenue

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Rebecca Marx

July is absolutely lousy with random food holidays. There's Pecan Pie Day (the 12th), Caviar Day (the 18th), Chocolate Day (the 7th), Ice Cream Day (the 17th) and, perhaps most randomly of all, Tapioca Pudding Day (the 15th). Less random and arguably more enticing is the fact that July also happens to be National Blueberry Month. We would designate every month as such if we could, but since we can't, we decided to observe it this week by finding the most seasonally appropriate blueberry products we could find.

Because we've already eaten enough ice cream this month to cripple a pony, we decided to go the more pious route with raw-food-certified blueberry smoothies. Since Organic Avenue and the Juice Press happen to be located within several blocks of one another, we figured we'd see how they stacked up to one another.


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Battle of the Brownstone Brooklyn Falafel: Darna v. Kulushkät

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Rebecca Marx
Darna's falafel

A few months ago, Darna chose to announce its imminent arrival in Cobble Hill with a rather intimate paean to its signature product. Posted on the storefront window, it read, in part: "... soft on the inside yet firm sexy brown on the inside. Being with you my love always leaves us stress free and healthy. ... We love you dearly ... Falafel." (Emphasis theirs, obviously.)

But even as the sound of crying doves slowly receded, another falafel purveyor was preparing to open a few avenues east in Park Slope. The project of two twentysomething pals, Kulushkät Gourmet Falafel promised to serve a mostly vegan menu of flavored falafels, as well as smoothies, salads, and snacks. It opened within a few weeks of Darna, so we decided to see how the recent arrivals -- which, as you'll see below, even have almost identical phone numbers -- fared against one another.

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Battle of the Potato Salad: R.U.B. BBQ v. Hill Country Barbecue

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Rebecca Marx
R.U.B. BBQ on the left, Hill Country on the right

Only July 4, perhaps the only thing more American than inebriation and the smell of smoking charcoal is potato salad, the kind that comes enshrouded in mayonnaise and basks in the sun, tempting passersby with the promise of starch and food-borne illness. Whether you love it or loathe it, chances are you won't be able to escape it. Owing to a few too many underwhelming specimens, we personally aren't its biggest fans, but recognize that some places do it proud. Those places tend to be barbecue restaurants, and since R.U.B. BBQ and Hill Country Barbecue sit within a few blocks of one another, we decided to compare the merits of their spuds.


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Battle of the Fancy(ish) Black and White Milkshakes: Stand vs. BLT Burger

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Lauren Shockey
Stand on the left, BLT Burger on the right

Over the past fortnight, we've been looking at some of the frozen delights that New York City has to offer. We've tried gelato and soft-serve, icy Asian delights, and good ole ice cream sandwiches. But we haven't yet examined the beverage of the frozen treat world: milkshakes.

Milkshakes are awesome because they basically let you eat dessert before you've finished your meal. Take that, Mom! But then there's the eternal dilemma: chocolate or vanilla? But luckily God created the black and white, combining chocolate and vanilla. But it's a tricky one to pull off without ending up too chocolaty or too vanilla-ish. So for this week's Battle of the Dishes, we went to Stand and nearby burger counterpart BLT Burger for a Battle of the Fancy(ish) Black and White Milkshakes.


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Battle of the Greenwich Village Macarons (a Double-Header!): Mille-Feuille vs. Francois Payard Bakery

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Lauren Shockey
Mille-Feuille's on the left, Francois Payard Bakery's on the right

Oh, little macaron. So many people love you, but refuse to admit it in public, now that pie curries today's culinary favor. Well, guess what -- I still love you and am not afraid to profess my love. You charm me with your many colors, your dainty, crumbly form, and your sweet, nutty taste. So when Mille-Feuille (552 LaGuardia Place, 212-533-4698), a new pastry shop peddling the cookies along with a range of croissants and other baked goods, opened up on LaGuardia Place recently, there was only one course of action: Pit it against nearby Francois Payard Bakery (116 West Houston Street, 212-995-0888) for a Battle of the Greenwich Village Macarons.


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