Newsstand
08/27/14 10:10am
IVSAMMIE2

The ice cream sandwich gets a modern makeover.

Ken Lo and Paul Kim, the boys behind Vendy Award finalist Ice & Vice aren’t kidding when they say their ice cream is experimental. Flavor creations include Movie Night: buttered popcorn, toasted raisin, and dark chocolate flakes; Burning Love: cocoa, milk chocolate, hickory smoke, and Sichuan peppercorn; and Three Little Pigs: salted caramel, bacon butter, and bacon praline. It was only a matter of time before they turned their attention to the ice cream sandwich. (more…)

08/26/14 10:15am
THAITHEPANANG

Photos: Kristen Baughman

I’m just about emerging from the food coma that overtook me after Saturday’s Thaithentic Food and Culture Festival. Authentic was the key word of the evening with restaurants offering everything from fiery curries to insects. One of the first dishes I tried was a panang curry with chicken from Am Thai Bistro in Brooklyn.

THAITHENPLAYGROUND

Nothing says authenticity like grasshoppers.

I had to show some hometown loyalty and soon found myself in front of Jackson Heights eatery Playground’s table face to face with dozens of fried grasshoppers. I find the crunchy critters to be delicious. The Playground crew was quick to warn me not to swallow the barbed legs. I ignored them and made sure to chew every bit of exoskeleton carefully. (more…)

08/25/14 11:00am
CANTONCHICKEN

This Chinese fried chicken deserves to be described as famous.

As much as I go on about a certain  secret Taiwanese fried chicken, I do have another favorite Chinese fried chicken. It comes from Canton Gourmet. A poster sized come-on for this dish first encouraged me to try it. “Famous garlic aromatic crispy chicken,” read the English name. The poster depicting an entire golden fried bird showered with fried garlic, shallots, and scallion had me at “crispy chicken.” Throw in those three not so little words “famous garlic aromatic,” and I was sold.

Whoever’s on the fry station at Canton Gourmet knows what they’re doing and does it well. The salty skin is shatteringly crisp, yet the meat remains juicy. It was a great pleasure to crunch my way—bones and all—through an entire $11.95 platter. This top flight Chinese fried chicken is entirely deserving of its lofty moniker. I resolve to eat it more often.

Canton Gourmet, 38-08 Prince St, Queens, 718-886-9288

08/22/14 12:26pm

“It took many years before New Yorkers began to know Thai food,” says Wanne Pokpoonpipat executive chef at Jaiya in a mouthwatering promo video for Thaithentic, New York City’s first ever Thai-themed food and cultural festival being held tomorrow night at eSpace. VIP tickets are sold out, but $45 general admission tickets can be purchased here  and should also be available at the door.

“There is so much more to Thai food and culture than is currently known in the States. With support from our sponsorship partners, the Thaithentic Food and Culture Festival will elevate people’s perception of what it means to be Thai, said Manus Chaorinuea founder and CEO of the festival’s organizer Gotham Food Network. (more…)

08/21/14 10:42am
CHARCUTERIE

A selection of Czechoslovakian and German charcuterie at Chef Dave’s.

Spicy Italian dry sausage with a slight fermented funk, mortadella, liverwurst, blood sausage. These are some of my favorite forms of charcuterie. Recently I added a few more to the list. I don’t know their names, but I do know they’re from the Czech Republic. My pal chef Dave smuggled them back after a European vacation. My favorite was a skinny pork sausage flavored with paprika and a spice we couldn’t quite put our finger on. Then, it hit me. Caraway! Germany was also represented in the form of schwartenmagen, a rustic tinned liverwurst of sorts. So here’s what I’d like to know. What’s your favorite form of charcuterie? Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.

08/19/14 9:04am
Harmony1

It’s the Icy Hot of Korean instant noodles.

I’m a big fan of naeng myun, the Korean cold noodles that I like to call edible air conditioning. Thus far the summer hasn’t been hot enough to truly enjoy a bowl of the cool, slippery arrowroot noodles. That’s why I’m glad I discovered Harmony, a new chipotle flavored noodle from Nongshim that can be eaten either hot or cold.

Nongshim’s graphic for Harmony makes the point with a blue and red bowl leaping with flames. They’re not far off in describing the heat. The first package I made I ate cold, shocking the noodles under running water, then stirring in the chipotle paste, and lastly putting it in the freezer for five minutes. The noodles were springy and spicy enough to make my nose run. (more…)

08/18/14 12:35pm
PAETSOUP

How now kanom chin nam-ngiao?

Whenever I lead tours of Queens’ second Chinatown Elmhurst, I point out the hood’s huge Southeast Asian—Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese—presence. Lately, it’s been undergoing a Thai renaissance with newer spots like Pata Paplean, Eim Khao Man Gai, and Khao Kang joining the old guard of Ayada, Chao Thai, and Ploy Thai. Scarcely a month old Paet Rio is the newest kid on the Little Bangkok block.

Chef owner Nicky Phimpoy ran Wondee Siam in Hell’s Kitchen for some 20 years before coming to the borough that boasts the most authentic Thai food in NewYork City. Paet Rio is named for her home province, located in eastern Thailand. There’s plenty of curries, yums, and larbs on the menu. What made me sit up and take notice was the roster of 14 specialty noodle dishes, particularly something called kanom chin nam-ngiao  ($10.98). (more…)

08/13/14 11:44am
labne

Wafa’s labne and zaytoon, my idea of health food.

“Why don’t you weigh 300 pounds?” It’s a question get asked all too often. “I mean with all the good stuff you eat,” the non-food-writer person continues in amazement after seeing me take down an entire order of 15 lamb dumplings and then bewail the fact that I have a dinner meeting in two hours at some temple of meat or another. The number is always 300 pounds—roughly twice my current body weight—never 275, 350, or 412. Depending on who’s asking I’ll either make a crack about ingesting tapeworms purchased on Roosevelt Avenue, roll my eyes, or both. (more…)

08/12/14 10:50am
BETONYLAMB2

Betony’s roasted lamb with eggplant is worth the splurge.

I was recently asked by Bon Appetit what restaurant I’d save up to splurge on. At the time I didn’t really have an answer. Then a week later I had the good pleasure of being treated to dinner at Betony. Even though I often eat at restaurants of decidedly less lofty stature, I appreciate a three-star New York Times eatery as much as the next guy. Betony is now my pick for that splurge restaurant.

Everything we had, including the fried pickles ($12), no mere bread and butter chips, but rather wax beans in airy tempura, and foie gras bonbons ($19) was top notch. Served with a couple of lines of coarsely ground black pepper the decadent bonbons rolled in cashew are an haute riff on butter crunch toffee. It was my main course, though that really blew me away. As a card carrying carnivore I was torn between the grilled short rib ($40) and the roasted lamb ($44). I went for the lamb. Paired with eggplant it’s the kind of dish that might be called lamb two ways elsewhere. Nomenclature aside, it was simply amazing. So amazing that I had to find out exactly why. (more…)

08/11/14 11:38am
BASI

Ba si from a hawker stand, a Flushing Chinatown first.

“Everybody thinks it’s fried chicken,” the girl behind the counter said with a laugh, when I pointed at the rows of clamshell containers filled with golden brown morsels and said ba si. Coated with a sticky glaze and studded with sesame seeds one could see why it might get mistaken for a hyper-regional take on General Tso’s.

Ba si—fried apple, taro, or sweet potato glazed in syrup—is something I’d never seen at a hawker stand. At Flushing’s many Dongbei restaraunts it comes to the table still hot with a bowl of cool water. Dip a chunk into the water and the glaze hardens, forming strings of spun sugar. Think of it as Manchurian molecular gastronomy. (more…)