Sundays like this–and particularly Sundays that fall on National Glazed Spiral Ham Day–make me think of the old-time, traditional Sunday family dinner. No matter how Rockwellian it may be, the idea of the whole family stopping whatever they’re doing on Sundays and coming together for a sit-down, real-talk, wholesome dinner is comforting to me. And while the real star of the evening was probably the good conversation had across the table, the one that gets all the Sunday family dinner credit was the food. It’s so very June Cleaver-ish to think about rump roasts and whole chickens and, yes, even glazed spiral ham, and feels almost dirty to think of such a traditional, suburban, utterly non-New York version of the glazed ham, but it’s what I first thought of when I got to April 15 on the Food Holidays calendar. If you’re in New York with your family–whatever definition of family may be to you–take one of these food holidays for its corny, nostalgic kind of worth, and have a fun, happy family dinner together where you share your thoughts and laughs–and maybe share some spiral ham.
If you’re planning to get some really good glazed ham for today, head to the South Slope in Brooklyn, where a small deli leaning towards Eastern European smoked meats and delicacies reigns supreme. It’s best known for its extensive international beer selection, but while lots of patrons come for the beers, they stay for the meat. People will come from all over the city for their bone-in glazed hams, prepared to perfection, and ready and waiting for your warm oven to make a fantastic Sunday evening feast. It’s so well-known that celebrity chef Bobby Flay even shops here–and highlighted it on his show “Boy Meets Grill.” If you’re an adventurous and open-minded amateur cook, grabbing a glazed ham here will definitely get you on the right path to culinary success–and deliciousness.
628 5th Ave (between 17th St & 18th St), Sunset Park
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This place has been around way before the neighborhood gentrified. In fact, it always served the polish in the neighborhood. You go here for their ham. For 30 years, maybe once, the ham wasn’t up to par. Forget those spiral hams that everyone seems to think is ham. This is the place to go for a whole ham, bone and all. At times, they will cut it in half for you. They even give you their glaze. My mother (89) loves their kielbasa and it’s the closest thing to homemade for her. We make a yearly pilgrimage here just for these items that you can’t find, except maybe in Greenpoint. But I still think their ham is the best in NYC.”–Denise S.
And don’t get me wrong: not that I don’t have faith in my readers and fellow New Yorkers that we actually stay in some nights and cook our own food…but it’s just so much easier to head to one of the thousands of restaurants available to us in the boroughs. For most of us, the only thing we can make is a Foursquare mayorship at the local Chipotle. So, if you don’t plan on firing up the oven tonight for glazed spiral ham day, do a complete 180 and get something so far removed from the traditional Sunday dinner it’d make Norman Rockwell’s head spin. How does a Cambodian glazed pork belly sandwich from Num Pang sound? This high-end sandwich joint in the NYU area makes some absolutely stellar Cambodian sandwiches, full of slow-stewed pork and beef, deliciously tangy pickled vegetables, and just the right combination of spices. Patrons rave about their Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwiches that come with pickled Asian pears, a bold mix of meats and refreshing fruits and veggies that make the Southeast Asian sandwiches stand out from the rest of the world. If you decide to buck convention and indulge, make sure to get to Num Pang early: this pork belly sandwich is so popular it routinely sells out later in the day. But this may mean that you can get the sandwich for lunch, and still hop down to Brooklyn for an Eagle Provisions ham for dinner!
21 E 12th St (between 5th Ave & University Pl)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Their Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly (with pickled Asian pear; $7.75) might be the best tasting Southeast Asian sandwich I’ve ever had. The sandwich had rich and bold flavors resulting in a very tasty sandwich. I didn’t taste the pickled Asian pear, but the pork belly had a nice char and subtle smoky flavor and was quite meaty. Definitely try this sandwich.”–Eric H.
“The FIVE SPICE GLAZED PORK BELLY comes with pickled asian pear, the traditional toppings – cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro – and the most addictive chili mayo on French bread. If you’ve never had a good banh mi (Vietnamese) or num pang (Cambodian) sandwich before, this is the perfect introduction. It’s just the right size, the pork belly is soft and delicious, the chili mayo gives it a strong but enjoyable kick, and you can taste every single ingredient in every single bite. Yum.”–The C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!