Once a year, I have to work a crazy event down near Penn Station in NYC, actually it’s across the street in Hotel Pennsylvania, home to PE6-5000, if you are familiar with the tune, and yes, that’s still their phone number!
Anyway, at the event, there are a lot of teenagers, so the main grub served is Domino’s Pizza. (I’m not gonna link it because there’s no reason, if you are reading this blog, that you should visit their site). Sure, I grew up on Dom’s & Pizza Hut, but in the past 20 years, I discovered the real deal, so there’s just no need for me to darken the door of either establishment for the rest of my life. ‘Nuff said?
OK, back to Penn Station. There’s probably a Pizza Hut counter in there, or at least a Sbarro’s, which isn’t much better. But this year, the city is finally offering folks in the area a better option: The Pennsy. It’s a foodie’s food court with a handful of specialized counters all conceived by famous, respected chefs. There’s meat, seafood, vegan fare, and more, including a bar with snappily dressed tenders.
It probably should come as no surprise that I made a bee-line for the Mario by Mary stall. On the first day, I got the Eggplant Nonna featuring ricotta, scamorza, and tomato alongside the titular veggie. There was also a hint of something spicy, perhaps the marinade for the eggplant, because I definitely had a tongue-tingling experience whilst inhaling it. Scamorza is one of my favorite Italian cheeses that in my opinion should be used as much as Provolone is in your average deli.
On Day Two, I introduced my colleague Danby to the fancy food court and she chose the same sandwich, I had been eyeing since the day before: the Truffle Honey Grilled Cheese with fontina, gruyere, and black truffle honey. From the first bite, we were both grinning ecstatically at each other. Danby then remarked, “If Oliver Jeffers was a sandwich, I imagine he would taste just like this!” We had just seen him speak a few days prior and were unrepentantly smitten with both the man and his art.
So, in summary, should you find yourself near Penn Station, and especially should you be inside it and appalled at the lame dining options, which are typical of your average mall food court, go outside to the corner of 7th Avenue and 33rd Street. On the northeast corner is where you will find The Pennsy. Go inside and eat good food, especially that OJ sandwich that Danby & I heartily recommend.