Today I was looking for a quick bite in the East Village so I went over to one of my favorite places-Katz’s Deli. It was so crowded that there was a line out the door. I guess because it is President’s Day, everyone had the same idea as me-on a day off, where better to go than Katz’s? So I whipped around the corner to another place that I have been dying to try and where I figured I wouldn’t have to wait in line because it is pretty uncomplicated food. It’s called Crif Dogs and they serve one thing and one thing well-hot dogs. I have had my share of hot dogs and my favorite one hail from Buffalo, NY (Ted’s) and are char broiled (they’re Sahlen’s brand). But the Crif dog is very respectable. Okay they do serve two other things -fries and burgers. I was with some other folks so we had all of the above. But the thing about the dogs is, you can get a regular ol’ dog with maybe some relish or mustard, or you can go for the Red Necker with cole slaw and jalapenos, or the New Yorker with sauerkraut and mustard or you can make your own topping combo-maybe avocados or pineapple or get a dog wrapped in ham before you even start in with the toppings. It all sounds kind of disgusting, but it really isn’t. The dogs, burgers and even fries were not too greasy and it all tasted very fresh. The chili dog was great, the cheeseburger was thick and had a good flavor to it and the fries almost tasted baked they were so opposite of greasy (they’re waffle fries, BTW) but who’s kidding who? This meal is anything but healthy. But it’s good!
Now you may wonder why the website link I used above takes you to a bar. That’s because inside the tiny hot dog stand that is Crif, there is a slim almost secret looking door. To tell you the truth, it looks like a phone booth. But open the door and you will find the bar and a whole night life scene which is completely removed from Crif in every way. Clever owners-hot dogs next to a bar.
For dessert, and yes, I actually had a little room and appetite after that lunch believe it or not, I went next door. As luck would have it, Australian is located inches from Crif.
Australian not only has homeade ice cream that is so silky and smooth that it almost tastes like gelato, although they assured me it is not. It’s sort of like a really good soft serve with high quality mix-ins. A little bit like a DQ Flurry. I had the chocolate chip in a cup, but it didn’t have chips exactly. It had one-inch bars of chocolate slabs in vanilla ice cream, served in huge waffle cones. They also are artisan chocolate makers and have an adjacent chocolate bar where you can mix and match boxes of unusually flavored but not too weird chocolates. You won’t find bacon chocolate, for instance, which we did see on Rachael’s show once, but you will have flavors like toasted almond, orange and hazelnut mixed with dark and milk chocolates. They’re pretty fancy, but as far as chocolates go, they’re very good.
So if you find yourself strolling down St Mark’s st between 1st Avenue and Avenue A and looking for a quick bite, these two spots should suit you just fine.
Australian Homeade Premium Ice Cream and Chocolates
115 Saint Mark’s Place
113 Saint Mark’s Place