FiTR's NYC Neighborhood Dining Guide

On the Upper East Side, where can you drink a digestif out of this crazy glass, which seems bent on demonstrating a scientific principle?

Four years ago Fork in the Road inaugurated the Our 10 Best guides, and we've never looked back. They've proved so popular that readers have asked for some sort of index to the series. Well, here it is: a reverse-chronological list of the neighborhood-based guides, most in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Click on each headline and be magically transported to the corresponding 10 Best list. Sometimes, you even get 11, or 13. Note that the most elderly of these guides is around three years old, so check to make sure a particular place is still open before you go. And look for future indexes to guides based on a single foodstuff or dining concept.

All photos by Robert Sietsema unless otherwise noted

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The Upper West Side's Strangest Sandwich?

Wrap your lips around this meaty strangeness.

A fixture right on Broadway on the Upper West Side, Big Nick's Burger Joint has been around since 1962 -- just about the time West Side Story came out as a movie, immortalizing the neighborhood for the nation. Big Nick's is a product of that merging of low and high culture, operatic and down-and-dirty at the same time. Always in danger of extinction, the place is like a Greek dinosaur on acid. Sure you can go easy on yourself and order one of several dozen burgers, but why not take the wild route and get one of their special -- and especially strange -- sandwiches?

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Owsley, LSD King and Grateful Dead Soundman, Was a Foodie

Owsley "Bear" Stanley (left) with Jerry Garcia (right), circa 1969

Owsley "Bear" Stanley was the self-taught master chemist who produced much of the acid used to popularize the psychedelic chemical in California in the mid-60s, which was partly chronicled in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968). His LSD made the scene in other acid-fueled events of the era, including the Monterey Pop Festival. He was also the legendary Grateful Dead soundman, who revolutionized the technique of live concert recording, and his techniques are still being used to record acts like Phish today.

On top of all that, he was also a rabid proto-foodie.

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Angry Birds: You've Played the Game, Now Eat the Cake

Three very Angry Birds. Can you name them?

The wildly popular video game Angry Birds--invented by Finns, and said to have undergone over one billion downloads across the world universe in all formats--has gone analog!

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Porsena's Monday Night Abruzzi Menu

First course: local sardines

A friend and I went to Porsena last week to check out the menu from Abruzzi being mounted there every Monday in February (including tonight and next Monday night) as part of a regular series of regional menus from Italy. Abruzzi is the remote region which lies on the other side of the Apeninne Mountains from Rome. The three-course feast will set you back $35. After the meal, I talked with chef Sara Jenkins, daughter of cookbook author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, and fellow Organ Meat Society member, about the series.

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Bong Blogging: Our 10 Best Marijuana Stories

Why reach for a ruler when your finger is handy?

At Fork in the Road, we pride ourselves in our willingness to go any lengths to get a story -- even if it means putting alien substances in our bodies in pursuit of purely journalistic objectives. Here are some of the high points of the FiTR Cannabis Library.

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Lavender, What Is It Good For?

There's an entire Greenmarket stall devoted to it--and you can smell it from a block away.

Lavender is the most unloved of herbs. Apart from use in a minor role in a Provencale bouquet garni, it rarely sees action as anything but pillow stuffing. But does it have its uses? You bet, and they may be multiplying.

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The Story of Salta

Salta is one of Yemen's favorite luncheon dishes.

Salta is the national dish of Yemen, and one of the world's most unique culinary creations. Usually, it's consumed communally by family and friends sitting around the bubbling pot in a circle. The pot contains a well-cooked and finely textured vegetable stew flavored with lamb or chicken. But the most remarkable part is what's on top: a foamy cloud-like mass with a slippery texture.

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Frozen Kefir? Treat Petite Will Peddle It in the West Village

Treat Petite Café will be located at 61 Grove Street.

You'd think the market was already totally glutted with frozen treats. Let's see, we've got zillions of fro-yo parlors, peddling supposedly light and healthy frozen yogurt; old-fashioned ice cream places; vegan "ice cream" destinations; Tofutti and its imitators, whatever the hell it's actually made of; places that sell newfangled popsicle-type thingees; frozen-custard concessions; Mister Softee trucks and their Big Gay Imitators; authentic Italian gelaterias up the wazoo; and New Orleans icee stores -- though the sole purveyor of that substance disappeared mysteriously just as "winter" set in last year. Is there room for another frozen product?

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Hate Mail on the Subject of Gefilte Fish

Kutsher's tasty gefilte fish comes in a pair of dense, puck-shaped masses -- with another of beets and horseradish on the side.

Last evening my review of Kutsher's Tribeca appeared, and it was pretty damn positive. I loved the pastrami -- both flat and deckle -- and ate the flanken with gusto. I even loved the gefilte fish, which is normally not my cup of tea. Little was I to know my opinion would unleash one of the best pieces of hate mail it has ever been my privilege to receive. I reproduce it here with the name of the sender expunged, in case he wrote it in haste and might later regret it.

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