Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Lot at 30th Street

Just to be clear, the image that you see directly above this text is misleading. As far as any of you Monday through Friday, nine-to-fivers are concerned, 'the Lot' (as this awesome outdoor venue is known) will never look that empty on a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon. If any of your brave soldiers, despite forewarning, do attempt to visit, beware: you must embrace yourself for the long, long line to get in. And I mean long. But is the wait worth it, you ask? Oh, yes. Hell friggin' yes!

Many of you are probably curious as to what exactly 'the Lot' is. To give an exact definition (take from http://www.thehighline.org/the-lot): "The Lot is a temporary public plaza below the Highline with free events, family activities, an outdoor bar, food trucks and more for the summer of 2011." And that explanation, in turn, will inevitably lead to another question: "What the hell is the Highline?!" Well, we'll get to that later. But for a brief summarization, click on this: http://www.thehighline.org/abpit/faq.

Phew. That's over with. Now! On to the fun stuff...

What's on tap at the Lot?
Most of the brews served here are from Brooklyn Brewery. One in particular was conceived especially for the opening of the Lot: High Line Elevated Wheat. This was the beer I tried first and loyally stuck with. (It's also the only name I remember. Shucks.) As far as wheat beers go, this brew was smooth going down, crisp and citrusy to the last sip. Each beer, served in pint-sized plastic cups, will cost you $7. Wine, $9. But, honestly, who's coming to the Lot to drink wine?!

What's there to eat?
We all know that food trucks are a ubiquitous staple throughout New York. But a big problem that the drivers of these mobilized meals-on-wheels encounter is finding an out-of-the-way location to post up their vehicles during the day. The Lot on Tap has provided several food vendors with a solution to this former dilemma. These food truckers can now seek refuge under the north terminus of the Highline, free from pestering city cops who are hell bent on serving anyone a ticket for loitering. Not only do they receive sanctuary, but the added bonus of drunk people encirling their stainless steel window counters like zombies, looking to stuff their fat gobs with beer-friendly treats. To name a couple:

Kimchi Taco: I had the '4 tacos for $9' deal. The Grilled Korean Beef BBQ as well as the Tofu Edamame Falafel were my two favorite. The Pulled Chicken and Seared pork I could have done without. (Now that I'm reflecting from a sober standpoint, I must confess that the taco shells themselves were kind of soggy. But the spicy stuff hidden inside - as well as my beer buzzed brain - rendered me too drunk and sated to care.)

Rickshaw Dumpling: I had the Chicken and Thai Basil dumplings with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. Pretty. F'ing. Spectacular. The other two dumpling varieties available that day were the Classic Pork and Chinese Chive as well as the Vegetarian Edamame. If these two were anything as good as the Chicken and Thai Basil, I would recommend them a thousand times over. And then some.

There were three other trucks there that day - one serving pizza (that I heard was sub-par), one serving falafel (I'm still pissed about not getting to try this truck), and one serving ice cream (that a friend of mine who I hadn't seen in 4 years was enjoying for a good hour before finally licking her fingers clean. I am still amazed that her ice cream sandwich ended up mostly in her mouth and not all over her chic tube-tob dress. It was really hot that day.)

The best part about finishing up an afternoon at the Lot (or the most challenging, depending on how drunk you are) is climbing up the stairs to the start of the Highline, a roughly 2-mile long stretch of walkway that was, before its conversion, an abandoned railroad. Now, there is a generously wide cement-laid path that can easily accomodate 5 to 6 bodies walking side-by-side at some of its more scenic sections. You are surrounded on both sides by greenery galore, and the occasional bench here and there. Words really do it no justice. To see for yourselves, click here: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highline/photos.

I know, I know. This is supposed to be a blog about beer. And instead, I chose to write more about a place that serves beer rather than the beverage itself. Sue me. I just had to get the word out there before the Lot vanishes forever, as often happens with cool and unique establishments such as this one. Get there while you still can. And don't forget to try the dumplings!

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