January 19 is National Popcorn Day. While some like to celebrate with popcorn related activities like popcorn air hockey, popcorn relay races, and popcorn haikus, we at Red Tricycle have a different suggestion: How about just eating it? (But do it quickly, and possibly furtively, there are some voices in NYC government who would like to add popcorn to the list of banned substances, right alongside big sodas.) On the other hand, if you’re going to become a Popcorn Outlaw, you want to make sure you are downing the very best stuff possible. Here are our picks for some great spots to satisfy your snack fix when hunger strikes.
242 West 34th Street
Though it launched in Chicago, it didn’t take Garrett Popcorn long to conquer The Big Apple with their classic, cooked in old-school copper kettles, thank you very much, delicacy. Favorite flavors at their Penn Station location include Chicago Style (cheddar and caramel), Gingerbread, Macadamia, Cashew, Hawaiian Islands Cane Sugar, and more.
Good to Know: The Penn station locale means delicious popcorn is only a short train ride away on the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R. And if Oprah puts it on her list of favorite things, it’s got to be good!
95 Orchard Street
With a menu that boasts Zen Cheddar and Pure Caramel alongside Mediterranean and Masala flavors, you can be certain to find a unique taste to tickle anyone’s palate at this Lower East Side establishment open seven days a week from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Good to Know: Don’t feel like schlepping downtown? Pop Karma delivers! Choose a flavor, choose a size and call in your order before 7 pm to get door to door service (there’s a $10 minimum) not only in Manhattan, but also in Brooklyn and Queens!
1 W 8th St (between 5th Ave & MacDougal St)
Calling themselves Popcorn Artisans, this is a Greenwich Village spot that takes their corn making very seriously. Favorite hand-crafted flavors include Ginger Caramel, Raspberry, Cinnamon, Sundried Tomato, Smoked Jalapeno and Garlic Rosemary. For those having trouble making up their minds, samplers are also available.
Kettle Corn NYC
It’s a quintessential New York Story: Fresh faced youngster comes to New York City with nothing but some unpopped corn, and a dream. Fresh faced youngster opens Kettle Corn truck to drive around the city, hawking his wares. Kettle Corn truck gets stolen. The now jaded, formerly fresh faced, youngster decides – no more! And proceeds to sell his popcorn on-line. Along the way, his flavors of Cherry Chocolate, Sour Cream and Chives, Cotton Candy, Frutti Bam Bam, Egg Nog and Spicy Ranch pick up the Food Network’s seal of approval as New York’s Tastiest Popcorn. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere…with or without a truck.
Good to Know: In addition to their on-line shop, Kettle Corn NYC runs stands at NYC street festivals all summer long. Keep an eye on their schedule and, odds are, they’ll eventually land on a block near you (alongside those knock-off T-shirts and bargain bundles of socks).
Of course, no overview of popcorn options could be complete without mentioning the family’s primary site for chewing down: Movie theaters.
The temptation is to assume that all theater fare is the same (over-greased, over-salted, and possibly several days old, to boot).
However, a few movie palaces in New York do buck the trend, offering not merely palatable, but downright tasty snacks along with your cinematic escape. Try:
- The Film Forum. Not only do they pop fresh and top with only peanut oil and sea-salt, but they also host a Film Forum Jr. of classic movies like “The Red Balloon” and “King Kong” just for kids!
- IFC Center brings organic kernels and real butter to the table, along with flavorings like cinnamon sugar, and documentaries like the popular 7 Up series you’ll be hard pressed to find screening anywhere else.
- Of course, when nothing but a chain will do, opt for Landmark Theaters. In New York City, they offer their trademark Rattle & Reel Screenings where adults pay full price, but babies are free… and, more importantly, welcome, along with their popcorn cooked in coconut oil and topping selections of sour cream and onion, jalapeno, barbecue, Cajun, apple cinnamon, chocolate marshmallow and more!
Where do you go when you need your salty snack fix?
— Alina Adams
photo credit: Genevieve C. via yelp, Pop Karma facebook page, Populence facebook page, Kettle Corn NYC facebook page