You can find the winner of the 2012 Halalathon – The TD Bank Cart – at 73rd St, just south of 37th St. It doesn’t actually have this name, but we are just calling it this because it is located in front of the TD Bank.
They just had it levels above the rest. I never realized the depth of Halal food until our crew did the observations. I never respected it as a “cuisine“. Here, at our trials, we tried every Halal food place within a 1-mile radius of the 74th Street station and this TD Bank cart took the top honors.
At the presentation, I called some press for the presentation. It is, after all, a big deal…
I was so happy to get some print publications there to make it a real ‘Event‘. It was great to have these guys who wouldn’t normally think what they do is special, get some attention for what they do.
And now I have respect for the cuisine. Now, I take all of my non-local walking tours here – and they ALL love it. It’s amazing. Here, I always took Halal food for granted, but it’s apparently quite an interesting cuisine in itself – albeit narrow.
Here is the article on the event:
DNAinfo: Halalathon Champion Bests Vendy Winner for Best Halal in Jackson Heights
And here is Rachel Antonio’s impression of the event:
Spam is Better Fried: Part 1 Review
The secret ingredient we found out to be Shan Zafrani Garam Masala
With the brick and mortardom of Gyro King (74-06 37th Rd), it became imperative to do a Halal cart round-up of the area. I previously shunned it, thought the food was a lesser level of eating… an easy pickup for a foodie. We did the analysis of every Halal combo plate vendor within a mile of the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station. Here is what we found:
The Original American Chicken (78-07 37th Ave) was decidedly the worst. I don’t even like to say that because I’ve been more relentless about them more than I like, and I’d love to have a redeeming cause, but it was clear — the worst. HOWEVER, they had some great chicken decorations!
Gyro King had the most interesting side salad by far, with a nearly uncountable number of pickled vegetables, giving a very interesting overall mouth feel to the dish. The other ingredients were good, though didn’t have an extra level that the top tier Halal carts possessed.
The pick of the majority of us, and 2nd place to the few who thought Sammy’s reigned king, was the TD Bank cart. It just had the right balance, and an extra layer of flavoring that hasn’t been fathomed in the other carts.
Sammy’s was one of two carts to refuse to put sauce on the side. We’re not sure if this confused the experiment, because it definitely had a different feel than the rest. It was, as expected, really good.
and here’s the winner – TD Bank Cart. Proof: