I'm deep into a drippy sausage, onion and pepper hero at an outdoor table at Francesco's of New York. This is street food done by street pros, Gary and Angela D'Angelo, who also own two food trucks in Queens
You may recall their hot dogs from Bravo's "Top Chef," where they were used in a Quickfire challenge as examples of the Big Apple's best.
Live it up and try a big garlicky frank on Italian bread with peppers, onions and potatoes, everything deep-fried. Or have yours simply grilled with only a stripe of mustard.
The Philly cheesesteak sandwich is a hero's hero, wherein meat, cheese and onions meld together to delectable effect. Pork braciole is deep-fried to sear, stuffed with cheese and seasonings, rolled and braised. The result honors the pig.
If you're watching your diet, you can get almost anything over a salad or as a platter served with two sides. My favorite accompaniments, honey baked beans and onion rings, aren't exactly health food, though.
Conclude with Italian ices from Bonanza's of Bayville in such flavors as dark chocolate fudge brownie and Creamsicle. Or get a frozen chocolate-dipped banana - refreshing and so good.
JUST PLAIN GUILTY
Corn on the cob isn't as sweet as I'm hoping it will be. I'm also let down by the generic waffle fries. Knishes are the heavy, deep-fried variety rather than the lighter, baked sort that I'm partial to. Yet, split and topped with sauteed onions and peppers, they transcend themselves. Is there anything these people can't do with onions, peppers and a griddle?
This proudly unglamorous stand now has a plastic-enclosed dining space equipped with ceiling-hung radiant heaters, which means that even in the depths of December, you can revel in the foods of summer. Just remember to give your inner food police a day off. -- Joan Reminick, 7/23/09.