Tuesday, January 6, 2009

O! 'Hallo' there...

Hallo Berlin

Another hard day at work, 9 to 5... so tedious. Actually no, I love my job. I currently work at American Express as a web developer using Ruby on Rails and it's pretty much the sweetest thing in the world. First off, I get to play with a decked out Macbook Pro which, while I'm not a terribly big fan of Apple products in general, is pretty sweet, add to that the fact that I get paid to surf the internet (shhh...) and toy around with code is still unbelievable to me. The main thing however is the food. Amex is located in the Hippodrome, which is conveniently on 44th and 6th ave aka. land of food carts and more variety than you could ask for. This is great for me because... well.. I love food? Haha, but seriously, seeing as my ability to cook is greatly limited by the fact that my dorm's kitchen is buck nasty, I'll be eating out more, and with that, I will bring you my thoughts on some of midtown's finest eateries (which fall within my student budget of course).

My first review is actually one that almost didn't happen. Wayne, who's a good friend who happens to be a classmate and coworker of mine (and I guess fellow foodie?), has a stupid rule where he refuses to walk past certain bounds he considers midtown. Hallo Berlin is a street cart located at 54th and 4th that I've been meaning to try pretty much since I started working at Amex. After a bit of goading, and emphasis on how amazing the sausages/bratwurst looked on other blogs, he finally caved. So we trekked up to this cart and dutifully lined up, perusing the menu for what we wanted. Wayne went with the 'Dictator Special,' which was one berliner and one bratwurst diced by a sausage cutting machine, topped with red and white cabbage, grilled onions, and German fries, all accompanied by a small onion roll and a mushroom potato stew. I wasn't feeling the soup, so I just went with the 'Double Soul Food Mix,' a knockfrank and a bratwurst diced in the same manner, with the same toppings, just without the soup.

Anyway, the man running the show, Rolf is pretty much the most legit German man I have ever met (I've met very few, but he tops the list). He goes through his assembly line routine of dicing and assembling a neat little container holding your sausages, all while making ridiculous smalltalk... insisting that you want more of his 'special sausage.' All in all, the Hallo Berlin cart is quite an experience from the moment you give your order.

After paying for our food, $8 for the Double and $9 for the Dictator Special, we pretty much blitzed our way back to the office, obviously since cold meats would taste weird (I actually stuffed my brown paper bag in my fleece, and was pleasantly serenaded with the smell of wafting gravy the entire way back). So how was it when we got there...?

Pretty goddamn awesome. To be honest, the picture can't do it justice. Even as overpriced as I thought it was, I couldn't help but admit the amazingness of this cart. The mix of condiments (unknown sauces) with the chargrilled taste on the franks made for a pleasant blend of flavors, and while the bread was somewhat hard... it worked well with the juicy bratwurst. As for the soup, Wayne said it tasted like butter soup, and by Paula Deen's definition, it's a winner (no seriously, it was probably pretty good). So what's the verdict? Yes the Hallo Berlin cart is a fairly long walk from the office, and yes it is slightly pricier than most midtown cart offerings, but would I go back? Definitely, and repeatedly too, because even after you're done, the taste of the pork/beef is still on your lips, and you just keep wishing that maybe you should've gotten that triple combo for $11...


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