After spectacularly missing my flight from Iceland, I finally touched down in New York City with good intentions for the coming weeks. Like many in this city, I would work various shifts in a kitchen and transform into a writer by night, strolling from café to café sharing my foodish stories with the world. Or that’s what I thought.
Clearly the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as within a few hours of landing I found myself submitting to subversive vices. Temptation lies at every corner and New York City has ruined many a stronger man than me. Rooftop pool clubs, daytime raves, block parties — I was truly swallowed alive by New York’s hedonism. Where else can one go for an innocent Sunday brunch and end up dressed in women’s clothes among a gay pride parade? (Thankfully my camera died before any evidence of this could be recorded!)
New York’s fondness for self-indulgence makes it one of the best food cities in the world. Anyone who has been to New York will have of course seen the street stalls selling what are affectionately known as "dirty water dogs" (mainly because of the onions that sit in the same water for hours at a time). Where better to start my time in New York then than at Bark Dogs, who have taken this ubiquitous street food staple and given it a fine dining makeover. Listening to chef Josh Sharkey on my first day talk me through his menu is the closest I’m going to get to food porn. Heritage pork shoulder and belly burger, smoked Grafton and young Cabot Cheddar… Hawthorne valley sauerkraut dog… Bark Butter (butter with rendered smoked pork fat to glaze every dog and bun seconds before serving)? Pretty incredible!
My first few days at Bark were in production, with chef Derrick, learning some of their incredible recipes with an evening shift at a charity event alongside NBA and NFL players for good measure (naturally none of which I recognized). However, it wasn’t until the end of the week, during my time in the kitchen, that my heart truly started to sing to the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner."
Just like last week’s experience at Dill restaurant, the buzz of the kitchen and the people inside it are a drug I just can’t get enough of. Cooking alongside Joey and Jesus helped me get past the earlier days of pleasure-seeking and offered a rare glimpse under the skin of New York’s people and culture. Despite New York’s best attempts to lead me into temptation, I’m pleased that working at Bark Dogs is at least one intention I’ve stuck to.
Huge thanks to Josh, Derrick, and the rest of the team at Barks Dogs. If you’re ever in the area, drop in to see them for some seriously good food.
This post originally appeared on The Foodish Boy’s blog.