When I think of cheap food in Manhattan, my mind wanders to the dumpling stalls of Chinatown and the hobo-friendly, dollar-slice pizza joints of Hell's Kitchen. Maybe I've been in Brooklyn too long, but rarely do I think of neighborhoods north of Central Park, save for Spanish Harlem.
"What about Washington Heights?" asked my friend Gabi, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade.
Down 181st Street, she explained, awaits a bazaar of cheap Dominican, Mexican and Puerto Rican eats, from crunchy chunks of chicharrón to deep-fried chicken pasteles, pork tamales and pastries stuffed with guava and cream cheese.