TOUR DU JOUR
Follow That Taxi!
To find New York City's best bagels, pizza and pickles, just ask the cab driver known as "Famous Fat Dave."
Ever since he started driving a New York City cab in 2001, David Freedenberg has asked his passengers where they like to eat--especially when he drops them off in a neighborhood he doesn't know well. He now has a list that Zagat would envy of 400 restaurants and shops, a book in the works, and a tour called Famous Fat Dave's Five-Borough Eating Tour on the Wheels of Steel. "I get a real kick out of showing someone a hand-piped cannoli," he says. The tours are private and customizable, and cost $100 per hour for up to four passengers, though there's a four-hour minimum (famousfatdave.com). The price covers samplings from about a dozen restaurants and shops in five or more neighborhoods. Pace yourself, as there's no walking it off. After all, Freedenberg's motto is "You do the gorging, I do the driving."
Some of Fat Dave's Faves
Ess-a-Bagel: "The perfect example of a real New York bagel, often fresh out of the oven." 359 First Ave., Manhattan, 212/260-2252, 70¢
Denino's Pizzeria Tavern: "The mozzarella sticks may actually be better than the pizza." 524 Port Richmond Ave., Staten Island, 718/442-9401, $5.50
Guss' Pickles: "They sell on the sidewalk--the way it's been done for 100 years. The 'new' pickles are where it's at. Five or six of them make a great lunch." 87 Orchard St., Manhattan, 212/334-3616, 70¢
Fratelli's Pizza Café: "The fresh broccoli rabe is just the slightest bit bitter, and so tasty it can carry an entire foot-long hero." 404 Hunts Point Ave., Bronx, 718/542-7340, from $7
Roll-n-Roaster: "Their cheesesteak is best with Cheez Whiz and onions. It rivals any from Philadelphia." 2901 Emmons Ave., Brooklyn, 718/769-6000, from $6
San Hai Jin Mi: "They only speak Korean, but who cares when the beef is marinated for two days before it hits the barbecue?" 36-24 Union St., Queens, 718/539-3274, $10